Patent Model, Life Boat

Many 19th-century inventors turned their attention to life boats, a large number of them focusing their efforts on simplicity of construction, ease of launching, and imperviousness to sinking. By contrast, two Bavarian immigrants living in New York City—George Tremberger, carpenter, and Michael Stein, patterns machinist—focused on the “comfort, convenience, and safety of the passengers.” Their main innovation was to design the boat as a cylinder in which the cabin rolled independently from the overall motion of the boat. A geared wheel inside allowed the crew to adjust the cabin’s tilt by hand or to lock it in place. The inventors also fitted a telescoping mast, hand-lever-operated propeller, and external rubber bumpers for increased buoyancy.
This is a cutaway model of Tremberger and Stein’s idea. It shows seats and benches running lengthwise in the interior of the cabin. A wheel inside turns a gear that keeps the inner cabin from rolling as the outer hull rolls in the sea. Four hatches on deck slide open for access. The telescoping mast with sail can be operated from inside, while two interior levers activate the propeller. There is also a steering wheel forward connected by a line to the rudder.
Object Name
lifeboat, model
patent model, lifeboat
Date made
patent date
Tremberger, George
Stein, Michael Joseph
Tremberger, George
Stein, Michael Joseph
overall: 32 in x 25 in x 8 in; 81.28 cm x 63.5 cm x 20.32 cm
Place Made
United States: New York, New York
associated place
United States: New York, New York
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
patent number
On the Water exhibit
The Development of the Industrial United States
See more items in
Work and Industry: Maritime
On the Water exhibit
On the Water
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Publication title
On the Water online exhibition
Publication URL
Additional Media

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