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Fascinating facts about Abraham Lincoln
inventor of Vessel Bellows in 1849.

Abraham Lincoln
AT A GLANCE:
Abraham Lincoln had a strong interest in new technology and is the only U.S. President to hold a patent. Lincoln received Patent # 6,469 for "A Device for Buoying Vessels Over Shoals" on May 22, 1849. The invention consists of a set of bellows attached to the hull of a ship just below the water line. On reaching a shallow place, the bellows are filled with air and the vessel, thus buoyed, is expected to float clear.
THE STORY
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DID YOU KNOW?
Inventor: Abraham Lincoln
Portrait of Abraham Lincoln derived from public domain
Career: 16th President of the United States, lawyer and inventor
Birth: February 12, 1809 in Hardin County, Kentucky
Death: April 15, 1865 in Washington, D.C.
Nationality: American
Invention: Vessel Bellows
NO
IMAGE
AVAILABLE
Function: noun / A Device for Buoying Vessels Over Shoals
Definition: A set of bellows attached to the hull of a ship just below the water line. On reaching a shallow place, the bellows are filled with air and the vessel, thus buoyed, is expected to float clear.
Patent: 6,469 (US) issued May 22, 1849
Milestones:
CAPS: Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln, President Lincoln, ARY,  vessel bellows, Device for Buoying Vessels Over Shoals, only president inventor, SIP, history, biography, inventor, invention.
The Story:

TO LEARN MORE

RELATED INFORMATION:
Historic Patents 1836 - 1975   from The Great Idea Finder
Celebrity Inventors   from The Great Idea Finder

ON THE BOOKSHELF:
Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power
by Richard Carwardine / Hardcover: 416 pages / Knopf (January 10, 2006)
Cawardine's Lincoln Prize–winning study is not only analytical and smart, it's also delightfully readable—and it will surely emerge as one of the most important Lincoln books to be published this decade. Celebrity Inventors


ON THE SCREEN:

Lincoln: The Untold Stories
DVD / 1 Volume Set / 100 Minutes / The History Channel / Less than $30.00
Recently unearthed transcripts of interviews conducted in 1865 by William Herndon, Lincoln's former law partner, finally offer a reliable look at the formative years of one of America?s greatest heroes.


ON THE WEB:

Points to Ponder - A Patent for a President
Abraham Lincoln had a strong interest in new technology and is the only U.S. President to hold a patent. From the USPTO Kids section of the official Web site. Lots to see and do.
(URL: www.uspto.gov/web/offices/ac/ahrpa/opa/kids/ponder/ponder1.htm)

WORDS OF WISDOM:
"The introduction of patent laws one of the three most important developments in the world's history, along with the discovery of America and the perfection of printing." - Abraham Lincoln, 1858

HOW IT WORKS:
The invention consists of a set of bellows attached to the hull of a ship just below the water line. On reaching a shallow place, the bellows are filled with air and the vessel, thus buoyed, is expected to float clear. The invention was never marketed, probably because the extra weight would have increased the probability of running onto sandbars more frequently.

DID YOU KNOW?:

  • Lincoln whittled the model for his patent application with his own hands. It is on display at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History.
Designated trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners.
Reference Sources in BOLD Type. This page revised November 17, 2006.
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