One need not be an admirer of vintage nautical décor to appreciate Dean Messmer’s anchor collection. The largest, weighing in at 2.2 tons, is a dramatic piece of sculpture that welcomes visitors to Messmer’s business, The Boat Brokers.
While the classic maritime icon can be enjoyed in a drive-by on Industrial Avenue, this massive hunk of iron is best seen up close. The anchor’s graceful curves whisper of faraway harbors and exotic ports. The viewer can’t help but daydream about where the rusty hulk has traveled in its long life when it was hitched to a tall ship.
“It was destined for the smelter. In fact, they all were,” Messmer said, placing his hand on the big anchor’s shank. “I bought the anchors at a scrap yard in Long Beach Harbor about 20 years ago.”
He said the anchors had no papers attesting to their provenance, so he has no idea where the anchors were made or information about the ships they served.
“They’re just pig iron, so I suppose all they’re worth is the scrap price. But I imagine that the way they’re rounded off, they came from sailing ships,” Messmer surmised.
Marveling at the links of a heavy chain attached to the next-largest anchor, Messmer schooled a visitor on the mechanics of anchoring.
“An anchor holds the chain, but it’s really the chain that holds the boat,” he said.
The Boat Brokers, 1680 Industrial Ave., 453-8833.