A brief history of the cathead:

The origin of the term "cathead" is obscure, but dates at least to the 17th century.

A cathead was a large wooden beam located on either bow of a sailing ship, and angled outward at roughly 45 degrees. The beam was used to support the ship's achor when raising it or lowering it, and for carrying the anchor on its stock-end when suspended outside the ship's side. The purpose of the cathead was to provide both a heavy enough beam to support the massive weight of the anchor, and to hold the metal anchor away from the wooden side of the ship to prevent damage.

In common practice, the projecting end of the beam was carved to resemble the face of a lion or cat.

In the oil industry the cathead is attached to the end of the Drawworks and is used to lift and pull objects on the drilling rig.  It is also used to spin pipe by means of a chain.  The catheads on a drilling rig or work over rig is primarly used as a wench. 

The Make up Cathead used to spin pipe is sometimes refered to as "The Spinning Cathead"

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