Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 91.djvu/239

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It Always Turns Right-Side Up

A boat which will carry twenty-five persons and will not "spill" even if turned upside down

��THE chief objection to the ordinary type of life boat is the fact that almost no provision is made to protect the passengers from anything ex- cept actual drowning. Even here the pro- tection is not complete, for in the heavy storms that so often cause the mother ship to be wrecked the little life boat is tossed about unmercifully, and its occupants sometimes swept overboard.

Mr. A. D. Newcomb, of Hampton, Va., has just perfected a life boat of entirely new design which is expected to meet this difficulty as well as several others. The Newcomb boat is completely closed, with manholes in the top by which to enter, and is water-tight. It might be supposed that it would necessarily be air-tight as well, thus depriving the passengers of oxygen, but ventilation is provided for by a particularly ingenious contrivance ^g which admits air only. This de- , vice is a sort of valve fitted with a rubber ball. The air passes around the ball, but water causes it to float and thereby closes the opening.

Another ingenious fea- ture is a water-tight oar lock. Oars are not fur- nished with some types of life boats, since it is foolish to attempt to row to shore. Nevertheless they are fre- quently valuable in guid- ing the boat to persons in the water. This oar lock is made as follows: A canvas sleeve is fastened tight around the oar at the point where it fits in the lock. The border of this sleeve contains a wire, and this in turn fits into a groove on an oval iron collar surrounding the opening, or port hole, through which the oar protrudes. When the sleeve is adjusted and the wire drawn tight no water can enter, yet the boat can be rowed with ease.

Perhaps the most useful device of all, however, is an arrangement for freeing the boat from davits and cradle by levers in the boat itself. Often, under the present method, the ropes are hopelessly tangled

����In a test made by the Department of Com- merce the boat was rolled over. It righted itself without inconvenience to passengers

in the excitement of launching. Sometimes

they have to be cut loose. And in case

the mother ship sinks suddenly, the

life boats tied on deck sink

k with her.

In this new boat all the cables are attached to semi- circular bolts which work on pivots. By pulling a lever one end of the bolt is released and the cables drop free.

The boat is twenty- six feet long, six feet four inches wide, and three feet four inches deep. The superstruc- ture or turtle back is one foot eleven inches in height above the hull. There is a metal bulkhead at each end, each bulkhead having a 16 by 16 inch open- ing to be closed by a metal plate on rubber gaskets.

There are seven thwarts, seventeen inches high from the skin, or inside bottom of the boat. The oar locks fit into the three port- holes on each side. The three hatches or manholes on top of the superstructure are twenty-four inches in diameter, and are provided with rubber gaskets, each fastened with brass turn buckles and a safety lock. The steamboat Inspection Service of the Department of Commerce, after testing the boat thoroughly recommended its adoptidn.

��There is an offset on deck on each side of the turtle back. The boat weighs 2600 pounds


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