|Actors on a life raft - "Primitive Lover" 1922|
Maria Beasley (1847-1904?) of Philadelphia (PA) wanted a better life raft, one that was "fire-proof, compact, safe, and readily-launched" when needed. According to the patent, she invented a new design in 1880.
Maria's life raft sported guard railings and rectangular metal floats, unlike typical rafts with hollow tube floats and zero safety railings. By changing the style of the floats, Maria's raft actually folded and unfolded more easily for use and storage, even with the added guard rails. It is not clear from the patent how she made the raft fire proof or why that was important. Life rafts were made of wood and metal in the 1800s, but it seems logical water itself would have been a huge deterrent to fire.
|A typical life raft in 1874|
Maria actually made money from her inventions (15 to be exact). Some of her other inventions were:
- foot warmer
- steam generator
- anti-derailment device for trains
- wooden barrel-making machine
A Biographical Dictionary of People in Engineering: From the Earliest ... By Carl W. Hall
Mothers and Daughters of Invention: Notes for a Revised History of Technology By Autumn Stanley
Copyright 2015 © Sharon Marie Himsl