Noun: A loop of rope arranged like a sling, used for raising or lowering casks and other cylindrical objects.
Verb [with object] Raise or lower with a parbuckle. ‘the gun has to be parbuckled across a ditch’
Oxford English Dictionary
When Fort Siloso was built, Parbuckling was the only method available to hoist heavy equipment and gun. It was a very labour intensive task, requiring ‘brute strength’ by the men involved. The display of Parbuckling at the fort gives a good idea of what was involved in the process.
Parbuckling was more technical than might be thought. There was much more to it than might be imagined by looking at the display. The ‘Handbook of Artillery Matériel’ of the period devotes more than twenty pages to the subject. It covers, for example, timber, ropes, chains, jacks, gyns, sheers, derricks and calculations, amongst other things.
A 7-Inch RML Gun barrel on a sledge being hauled up Mount Siloso. The gun is carried on a wooden sledge, and transported on rollers and rails. Packing pieces are inserted between the rails and the ground. These were used to ensure that the rails were kept as straight as possible to ease the work.
Once a load had been winched up the slope, a tripod or would be used to lift it from the sledge onto a cart or rollers to take it to its destination. There a Tripod or Sheers would lift guns etc. onto their positions.
If any fixings, or a rope failed, the results of the failure can be easily imagined. Today, equipment can easily be lifted up to high places by helicopters, or winched up using modern powered equipment.