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Once More to the National Archives’ Vaults: Flying Machines, a Life-Preserving Coffin, Harp Guitar, and More!

Posted by Laurie Frost on September 9, 2010

Back to the National Archives’ Public Vaults, this time looking at patent office drawings, found by refining the search to yield only Architectural and Engineering Drawings.

First, a few flying machines.

Patent Drawing for a Flying Machine, 10/05/1869 - 10/05/1869

Printed patent drawing for a flying machine invented by W. F. Quimby, 1869. ARC Identifier 594412


What do you make of this poem, “Aspiration,” accompanying the drawing here? 

Drawing of a Device by Which a Person Can Fly, 1902

Drawing of a Device by Which a Person Can Fly, 1902. ARC Identifier 594758

 Have you ever been worried about being buried alive? This inventor must have. I like the revision to the subtitle of this “life preserving coffin” in which actual has been marked through. After all, no coffin design will help the actually dead.

Drawing for a Life - Preserving Coffin, 11/15/1843 - 11/15/1843Drawing for a Life–Preserving Coffin, 11/15/1843. Invented by Christian H. Eisenbrandt. ARC Identifier 595517


 I don’t know what to make of these next two.

Drawing of Submarine Explorer, 02/18/1830 - 02/18/1830

Drawing of Submarine Explorer, 02/18/1830. ARC Identifier 595884

Drawing of Diving Dress, 12/24/1810 - 12/24/1810

Drawing of Diving Dress, 12/24/1810.ARC Identifier 594916


Lots of puzzling things going on in the next diagram. What is the man at the top of this staircase doing? And the second guy in the top hat? What is that chair doing at the base of the stairs? Why did the inventor call his mobile staircase a ladder anyway? etc.

Drawing of Fire Ladder, 04/18/1831 - 04/18/1831

Drawing of Fire Ladder, 04/18/1831. ARC Identifier 593886


Time to rest, but how fast would you have to rock in this chair to make a breeze strong enough to justify expending your energy?

Drawing of Rocking Chair and Fan, 08/07/1847 - 08/07/1847

Drawing of Rocking Chair and Fan, by Charles Horst, 08/07/1847. ARC Identifier 594932


 Here’s something to listen to while you rock:

Drawing of a Harp Guitar, 10/06/1831 - 10/06/1831

Drawing of a Harp Guitar, 10/06/1831. ARC Identifier 594917

 Rock on.

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