On Ships' Boats

The invention of Mr. Russell explained

on Monday 19 April 1858,
as reported in the United Services Institute Journal Vol II, 1858.

3 May 1858 A Model of Mr. Charles Clifford's new method of unlashing, lowering, and disengaging Ships' boats, as adopted by the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty.

Evening Meeting.

Two models were then exhibited to illustrate the process of lowering boats at sea: one the invention of Mr. Russell; the other the invention of Mr. Clifford.

The invention of Mr. Russell, which was explained to the Meeting by Mr. Loft, consists of three things:-

1st. Of an apparatus or winch for hoisting up the boats (fig. 4), and also of a friction-band or brake for lowering the boat after it has been hoisted up. In the model this apparatus is fitted outside the sponsons (of a steam-vessel); but Mr. Loft explained, that it can be placed flush with the stanchions inside the bulwark, and that it may also answer for the purpose of shipping and unshipping goods from the hold when the vessel is in harbour, for which purpose it was used in the Crimea.

2ndly. Of a rod which passes between the keel and keelson plank of the boat (fig. 5), and which being connected with the apparatus alike at the stem and the stern, a man in the boat by means of a lever (amidships) can instantly disengage her.

3rdly. Of a davit, fitted in two pieces (figs. 1, 2, 3, 4) ; the upper ends being connected together by means of a chain, and the lower end of the one piece united to the other by means of a hinge; consequently, in lowering, the upper end of the one part of the davit falls

clear of the other to the extent of the chain connecting them, and thus far the boat is lowered clear of the side of the ship.

In the discussion which ensued, Mr. Stirling Lacon stated that, although the Institution desired to give every encouragement to the exhibition of inventions, and although the Members as a body abstained from any expression of opinion, yet as an individual he could not refrain from expressing his own feelings on the subject, the object of these meetings being to court the expression of opinion on the part of individual Members, and thereby, if possible, to elicit the truth. The present plan professed both to lower and to hoist boats by the same machinery. Without going into the merits of the whole question, he did not believe that any plan of lowering boats would be received with favour by the Naval Service which sought to do away with the present system of hoisting by the tackles. A model of Mr. Clifford's system was before them; he considered it too valuable to introduce to their notice at that late period of the evening, but he hoped that the Chairman would so arrange that at some early period the principles which were illustrated by Mr. Clifford's system might be explained to the Institution.`

Admiral Sir George Sartorius stated that the contrivance of Mr. Clifford was very ingenious; the great point in cases of this kind was to lower the boat, and not to hoist it up ; that was the great danger.

The Chairman was sure that this Meeting was much obliged to Mr. Loft for explaining his model as he had done; on another occasion, perhaps in the course of a month, the subject might be gone into as a whole, when the Members would be glad if Mr. Clifford would also explain his invention.

* Mr. Clifford's mode of lowering boats forms the subject of a lecture, and will appear in a subsequent number.

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