Patent Model, Life Boat

Description
Although Joseph Francis is the best-known inventor of lifesaving boats in the 19th century, other people from diverse walks of life developed their own ideas for improving safety at sea. Among these were two fishermen from Peaks Island near Portland, Maine, Alpheus G. and Abram T. Sterling, who patented their design for lifeboat improvements in 1874.
In the Sterlings’ design, the hold below the boat’s watertight deck was fitted with a rubber “air reservoir,” which conformed to the shape of the boat. A series of “apertures,” or openings, in the hull allowed water into the space around the air-filled chamber. This water-ballast helped the boat resist capsizing while air sealed inside rubber fenders and in a second interior chamber preserved the vessel’s buoyancy. The rubber air-filled reservoir was also meant to prevent the boat’s sinking if it hit an obstruction.
Object Name
lifeboat, model
patent model, lifeboat
Date made
1874
patent date
1874-12-12
1874-04-21
patentee
Sterling, Alpheus G.
Sterling, Abram T.
inventor
Sterling, Alpheus G.
Sterling, Abram T.
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
rubber (fitting material)
copper alloy (fitting material)
Measurements
overall: 4 in x 20 in x 7 in; 10.16 cm x 50.8 cm x 17.78 cm
home of patentees
United States: Maine, Portland
ID Number
TR*325947
accession number
249602
catalog number
325947
patent number
149,891
subject
Transportation
On the Water exhibit
event
The Development of the Industrial United States
See more items in
Work and Industry: Maritime
On the Water exhibit
Exhibition
On the Water
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Publication title
On the Water online exhibition
Publication URL
http://americanhistory.si.edu/onthewater

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