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Descent controller

Image Number 4 for United States Patent #5038888.

A descent controller for lowering a load along a rope from an elevated position to a relatively lower position. The controller is a friction cylinder or capstan or a length adapted to receive a plurality of turns of rope between top and bottom end plates attached respectively adjacent the upper and lower ends of said cylinder. The end plates overhang the cylinder and define radial slots sized to loosely receive the rope. An upwardly narrowing tapered slot defined diametrically through the capstan receives and grips the rope. An annular clamp ring is slidably mounted on the cylinder and defines a radial aperture which loosely receives the rope as it exits from said tapered slot. A spring biases the ring upwardly along said friction cylinder for releasably wedging the rope in the tapered slot. A gripping cylinder is secured to the ring for sliding said ring along the friction cylinder to release said rope from the narrow end of said tapered slot. The gripping cylinder defines a housing enclosing the capstan and rope turns.

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