A deadeye is a device used to tighten a ship's standing rigging, the ropes used to hold up the masts. This deadeye would have been one of several around the side of the ship that fastened the rigging lines to the chain plates, steel straps bolted to the outside of the hull. The deadeye is made of very hard wood with a strand of rope around the outside edge to fasten to the chain plates or rigging lines. Two deadeyes were used at each line, one fastened to the line and one to the corresponding chain plate. A separate line was rove through the three holes of each deadeye and pulled tight to take up slack in the rigging.
Photo: courtesy of the Texas Historical Commission.