This is a vintage Taffrail log Rotator with fish and line. It is made of steel and was painted black. Sailors have used various methods such as tracking a chip of wood pass the side of a boat and how many knots in a line unreeled as the ship moved (where the nautical term knots comes from). The Taffrail log gets its roots in the middle of the 27th century. Sailors started using a small paddle wheel or a rotating spinner to measure distance and speed. This method, in 1878, lead to the invention of the modern-day mechanical Taffrail log.
This piece is solid steel and natural fiber rope. It consists of the fish, the line, and the rotator. The Fish is a small brass piece that connects to the mainline. The dimensions of the fish are 5.5 inches by 1.5 inches. The line is a short section of rope that connects the fish and the rotator. The line is just under 26 inches long. The solid brass rotator is constructed with four vanes It measures 14 inches long, the center has a 1.5-inch diameter, and the vanes stick out about 2.5 inches in diameter at their widest point. As the rotator rotates, it would exert torque on the braided line in which the dial registers distance and speed.
The total length of the piece from fish to rotator is right around 46 inches. The combined weight is 3.1 pounds.