Elastic Lanyard, Patent Model

John E. Jones of Waretown, New Jersey, designed an elastic lanyard for use in setting up a vessel's standing rigging. This is the model he sent to Washington in 1871 with his application for a patent protecting the device.
Wire rope became more common in the second half of the nineteenth century. Aboard sailing vessels, it first replaced natural-fiber ropes in standing rigging, which didn't require constant handling. Later, as mechanical winches came into greater use, it replaced frequently handled running rigging as well. For many centuries, the ropes supporting a vessel's masts were adjusted using short ropes run between special blocks called deadeyes. Or, as a sailor would say, shrouds and backstays were set up using lanyards. Wire rope was more readily adjusted using turnbuckles, which, along with bottlescrews, remain the standard devices for the purpose today. Jones thought a more effective arrangement would employ a series of rubber cushions; tension was to be adjusted with a single short screw, instead of a turnbuckle's pair of long threaded bolts. It is not known if his invention was ever commercially produced.
Jones also patented the use of rubber springs to relieve the strain on chain cables, and his surge reliever patent model is also in the collection.
Currently not on view
Date made
patent date
Jones, John E.
Jones, John E.
Associated Place
United States: New Jersey, Waretown
Physical Description
metal; rubber (overall material)
overall: 9 in x 1 1/2 in x 1 1/4 in; 22.86 cm x 3.81 cm x 3.175 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
patent number
Patent Models
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Work and Industry: Maritime
America on the Move
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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