Welcome to Man the Capstan!

This blog was created in order to showcase the work we’ve accomplished on various historical reproductions. We deal primarily with uniforms and other period clothing, including full accessories.

Most of the reproductions highlighted in this blog are nautical in nature, hence the phrase Man the Capstan.

The phrase refers to the handling of a large “winch-like” device aboard a sailing vessel by an assortment of the vessel’s crew.

A 20th century capstan in use

The device was constructed to lift the large and encumbering ship’s anchors. When an officer ordered the capstan to be manned, it meant the ship was likely disembarking.

Actual progress on historical reproductions began in late May of 2008, with future projects scheduled later in this year. The reproductions created on Man the Capstan are created with care and with historical authenticity in mind, although some errors do exist (and are often pointed out). Many of the accessories and materials are modern and are mass produced—items such as boots, telescopes, buttons and trimmings are designed to replicate the outfit, and as a result discrepancies do exist. We soon discovered it can be very expensive to remain completely accurate—after all, this is supposed to be a hobby… right?

This blog is operated by the Capstan Crew, a team of six contributors, with a slew of honourary members. For more information on the Capstan Team, head on over to the Crew.

The Projects

Green denotes a complete work, blue denotes a work in progress, and red denotes a future project yet to be started. Man the Capstan has undertaken sixteen (16) reproductions! Most of them have focused on the British colonial area of history, ranging from the early 18th century to the dawn of the 19th century. The Capstan Crew have considered delving into other historical eras, however…

  • British R.N. (Royal Navy) Captain’s Uniform, ca. 1810
  • British R.N. Captain’s Uniform, ca. 1810
  • British R.M. (Royal Marines) Officer’s Uniform, ca. ~1800
  • Gentleman’s Privateer’s Coat, ca. ~1750+
  • Lady’s High-Society Gown, “Passage to India”, ca. ~1792
  • Lady’s High-Society Gown, “The English Rose”, ca. ~1792
  • Lady’s High-Society Gown, “The Governor’s Wife”, ca. ~1792
  • Lady’s High-Society Gown, “The Green Dress”, ca ~1792
  • Lady’s High-Society Gown, “Caribbean Spice”, ca. ~1792
  • Lady’s Serving Wench Attire, ca. ~1720 (Port Royal)
  • Young Lady’s High-Society Gown, ca. ~1792 (Teal & Pink)
  • Young Lady’s High-Society Gown, ca. ~1792 (Lavender & Ivory)
  • Young Lady’s High-Society Gown, ca. ~1792 (Red & Ivory)
  • Young Lady’s High-Society Gown, ca. ~1792 (Green & Ivory)
  • Buccaneer’s Privateer/Pirate Ensemblé, ca. ~1720
  • Buccaneer’s Privateer/Fencing Ensemblé, ca ~1720 (w/ quilted tunic and cloak)
  • RESTORATIVE WORK: British 45th Regiment of Foot Town Crier’s Uniform (click here for details)
  • Poor Fellow Soldier of Christ and the Temple of Solomon Ensemblé, ca. Late 13th Century
  • Poor Fellow Soldier of Christ and the Temple of Solomon Ensemblé, ca. Late 13th Century
  • Feudal Knight of the Realm (Norman/Britannic), ca. Late 13th Century
  • Medieval Lady’s Gown, ca. Late 13th Century
  • Medieval Lady’s Gown, ca. Late 13th Century

The goal of Man the Capstan is to illustrate the detail, labour and history of these reproductions. All of these articles are tailored to fit members of the Man the Capstan team, and will be publicly showcased in an appropriate environment upon completion.

Thank you for reading, and please leave a comment or contact us if you have a question!


4 thoughts on “History

  1. Betsy says:

    As a Civil War reenactor and fellow sailor in my spare time I have to say it…

    I’m so jealous! I can’t find a decent Regency group, not to mention naval group in my area(North Carolina)!

    If you know of some assemblage fitting that description, please provide me with such information as I may get in touch with them. We have a good deal of nefarious history off our coast having to do with said period and war.

    Keep up the good work!

    Betsy Stables

  2. dalyhistory says:

    Hi, such a fascinating website!

    As a young Historian from Portsmouth, who’s interested in naval and maritime history, I find it especially interesting


  3. Meg says:

    I have been admiring your naval costumes for some time — very impressed with your work and think you have done an excellent job, particularly sourcing things like the lace, buttons, etc. Might I very humbly suggest that a separate page listing your favorite sources would be appreciated?

    Congratulations on young William! He is a beautiful baby!

  4. John Carlson says:

    Ahoy, ladies and gents. Great web site. Lovely costumes. Grand job all round. Wish I wasn’t so far away out here in California. Keep up the good work. I’m a costumer myself with an interest in late 18th early 19th century RN and USN uniforms, gear, kit etc. We also own a small traditional lap strake boat. I’m working on 1790 shirt for my 12 yr. old just now. Linen hand sewn with linen thread. Kannick’s Korner pattern. Some of my work can be seen here.http://s224.photobucket.com/albums/dd168/jomac721/Costumes/ Here are some shots from our semi period boat messabout in May. Our boat is the one flying red squadrons jackhttp://s224.photobucket.com/albums/dd168/jomac721/Big%20Lagoon%202010/

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