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August 22, 2017 | By S&H
Posted in: S&H Firm News

Celebrity Patent Inventor: President Abraham Lincoln

How many U.S. presidents have been granted patents in the U.S.? ONE. Who was the U.S. president granted this patent? Abraham Lincoln. Before he was President and before his pivotal role in the U.S. Civil War, Abraham Lincoln was an inventor. In his youth, Abraham Lincoln was employed on flatboats hauling freight down rivers like the Sangamon, Mississippi or Ohio. On many occasions, Lincoln noted that the boats would get stuck on sandbars and the crew would have to unload cargo to get boats over sandbars. Lincoln, known for his mechanical and solution-finding mind, set out to invent an apparatus that would lift boats over sandbars and other obstructions and alleviate waste of time, energy, and money by boat crewmembers. So while a Congressman, Lincoln with the help of mechanic, Walter Davis, created a model of his invention. In March of 1849, he submitted his patent application to the USPTO for review.

Stated in his patent application, Lincoln wrote “Be it known that I, Abraham Lincoln, of Springfield, in the County of Sangamon, in the State of Illinois, have invented a new and improved manner of combining adjustable buoyant air chambers with a steamboat or other vessel for the purpose of enabling their draught of water to be readily lessened to enable them to pass over bars, or through shallow water, without discharging their cargoes; and I do hereby declare the following to be a full, clear, and exact description thereof, reference being had to the accompanying drawings making a part of this specification.”

Although the USPTO granted U.S. patent 6,469 on May 22, 1849, Lincoln”™s invention was never utilized. The original model created by Lincoln and a replica created for public display can be found at the Smithsonian”™s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.


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