Vertex Angle - January 2000

In the January 2000 The Vertex Angle Newsletter, we asked: "Do you know who was the only US President to be granted a patent? Was it Lincoln, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Jefferson, or Hoover?"


On May 22, 1849, US patent # 6,469, "Manner of Buoying Vessels", was granted to an Illinois Congressman who 12 years later became the President of the United States. The invention consisted of a set of bellows attached to the hull of a ship just below the waterline. When a vessel is in danger of becoming stuck in shallow water, the bellows could be filled with air, thus buoying the vessel and enabling it to negotiate shallower waters. The invention was inspired by the frequency with which barges became grounded when shipping goods on the Mississippi River.

The inventor was Abraham Lincoln. Although it is doubtful that Lincoln ever profited from his patent, he has been noted as being a strong supporter of the patent system.

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