On March 10,1849, a 40 year old inventor filed an application for a patent relating to an invention to lift boats over shoals and obstructions in a river.
The patent was registered today 170 years ago on May 22,1849. The inventor was none other than Abraham Lincoln.
“Be it known that I, Abraham Lincoln, of Springfield, in the county of Sangamon, in the state of Illinois, have invented a new and improved manner of combining adjustable buoyant air chambers with a steam boat or other vessel for the purpose of enabling their draught of water to be readily lessened to enable them to pass over bars, or through shallow water, without discharging their cargoes;”
Lincoln’s patent ends with this claim,
“What I claim as my invention and desire to secure by letters patent is the combination of expansible buoyant chambers placed at the sides of a vessel with the main shaft or shafts C by means of the sliding spars or shafts D which pass down through the buoyant chambers and are made fast to their bottoms and the series of ropes and pullies or their equivalents in such a manner that by turning the main shaft or shafts in one direction the buoyant chambers will be forced downwards into the water and at the same time expanded and filled with air for buoying up the vessel by the displacement of water and by turning the shaft in an opposite direction the buoyant chambers will be contracted into a small space and secured against injury.”
The invention was never produced for practical use.There were doubts it would have actually worked.
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