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limbers


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Holes cut in the floor timbers of wooden ships on either side of the keelson to allow a free passage for the bilge water to run down to the pump well. In many ships a small chain or rope, known as a limber-rope, was threaded through the limbers extending the whole length of the bottom; by pulling it backwards and forwards any blockage could be cleared. As bilge water normally stank and was often a breeder of disease, it was most important to keep the limber-ways clear so that the bilges would drain properly.

Subjects: Maritime History.


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