Bell Ship Hull, Patent Model

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Description
This tin patent model accompanied A. John Bell’s patent application for an “improvement in the construction of ships”—awarded patent number 148,655 on March 17, 1874. The model demonstrates Bell's method of constructing ships in detachable parts. In a vessel built after Bell's principle, the upper deck and a portion of any lower decks would float free if the main hull were sunk in some calamity, "so that when the hull sinks the deck will float upon the water, carrying the passengers and crew with it, and thus saving their lives." Bell also devised a sectional mast that could easily be cleared away in an emergency, to prevent it becoming an obstruction to the smooth separation of the decks; the mast is missing in the model. Ignoring the dangers of exposure, hunger, and heavy seas that often attended the use of lifeboats, Bell claimed that the "advantage of this invention lies in the almost absolute certainty of saving the lives of all on board the vessel, by having such a large part thereof prevented from sinking when the hull goes down."
Location
Currently not on view
Date made
1874
patent date
1874-03-17
patentee
Bell, A. John
inventor
Bell, A. John
associated place
United States: Kentucky, Ashland
Physical Description
tin (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 12 in x 5 1/4 in x 4 1/4 in; 30.48 cm x 13.335 cm x 10.795 cm
ID Number
1979.1029.01
catalog number
79.1029.01
accession number
1979.1029
patent number
148,655
subject
Patent Models
See more items in
Work and Industry: Maritime
America on the Move
Transportation
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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