Excerpt from Baldt Anchor & Chain; included here as evidence the Chatham may have carried cast malleable chains for use with its stream anchor. HMS Chatham was only 80 feet long, but nearly 140 tons which is to say she was damn heavy. The use of chain presents itself as appropriate for a ship this weight.
[From the time of Caesar until the the 13th Century we find little or no mention of the use of anchor chains. Between 1200 and 1700 A.D. we read that iron cables are sometimes used. The statutes of Genoa of 1444 make brief mention of “iron anchor chains.” An engraving of 1512 shows a ship with hawse holes and anchor chains clearly depicted.
Again a lapse until in 1634 Philip White patented in England “A WAY FOR THE MEANING OF SHIPS WITH IYRON FOR THAT PURPOSE AND THAT EH HATH NOW ATTAYNED TO THE TRUE USE OF THE SAID CHAYNES AND THAT THE SAME WILBE FOR THE GREAT SAVEING OF CORDAGE AND SAFETY OF SHIPPES AND WILL REDOUND TO THE GOOD OF OUR COMMON WEALTH.”
In the ensuring half century a few far sighted ship owners and ship captains had sufficient faith to experiment with iron chain, for in 1771 the French explorer Brouganville complained that he had lost six anchors in nine days and narrowly escaped shipwreck, which would not have happened had his ship been fitted with iron chains.
In 1778, General George Washington conceived the idea of a buoyed barrier chain across the Hudson River, at West Point, N.Y. as a means of impeding the invading British fleet. In six weeks seventeen American blacksmiths forged a 1700 ft. long chain of 3-1/2 inch square stock weighing 275 pounds per link. This chain is still preserved at the US Military Academy, West Point. N.Y.
In 1783 George Matthews, of England, 150 years ahead of his time made cast malleable chains for ships. It was not until World War I that cast steel chains were fully developed.]
Source: Baldt Anchor & Chain (Chester, PA)