Schilling Canal Boat Propulsion System, Patent Model

Schilling Canal Boat Propulsion System, Patent Model

In 1870, Cornelius Schilling patented the use of an oscillating single-bladed paddle to propel vessels "with ease and facility." The next year he thought better of his inefficient idea. In a new patent application, he disclaimed everything in his first attempt and proposed instead the arrangement of multiple paddles seen in this model. This model accompanied his application for an “improvement in propulsion of canal boats” that received patent number 119,792 on October 10, 1871. The patent claimed that the paddles "are so arranged that they alternate with each other, one set being in action while the other is carried back through the air, and thereby a continuous action of the propeller is produced."
Currently not on view
Object Name
canal boat propulsion, patent model
patent model, boat propulsion, canal
Object Type
Patent Model
Date made
patent date
Schilling, Cornelius
Schilling, Cornelius
Associated Place
United States: New York
associated place
United States: New York, New York City
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
tin (overall material)
overall: 10 in x 4 in x 3 1/2 in; 25.4 cm x 10.16 cm x 8.89 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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