Abraham Lincoln: Inventor of boat lifting device
Did you know Abraham Lincoln invented a boat lifting device to enable river-going vessels to pass over sand bars?
It’s true. In fact, it was during this week in 1849 that Lincoln, fresh off his lone term as a U.S. Representative, applied for a patent for his invention.
He came up with idea after having, on more than one occasion, run aground on river sandbars and was tired of unloading cargo. The first instance happened on the Sangamon River, a tributary of the Illinois River, when he was 23.
Lincoln sprang to action. He unloaded cargo to right the boat, secured an auger and drilled a hole in the bow to let the water run out. Then he plugged the hole and continued to New Orleans.
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On another occasion while on his way home from Washington, D.C. by boat he became stuck in the mud. The captain ordered all loose planks and empty barrels collected and forced them under the boat. The empty casks buoyed the boat and swung it clear of the sand bar.
Lincoln is said to have worked on his design in between sessions of Congress.
He invented “a new and improved manner of combining adjustable buoyant air chambers with a steamboat or other vessel for the purpose of enabling their draught of water to be readily lessened to enable them to pass over bars, or through shallow water, without discharging their cargoes.”
Lincoln received the patent for his invention which, reportedly, was never manufactured. Lincoln is also the only U.S. President to to be granted a patent for an invention.