The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Detroit Post and Tribune (Detroit, MI), 16 Apr, 1878

Full Text

A NOVEL CRAFT. - We were shown at No. 16, Hanover Street, this morning, a very remarkable invention. We refer to the "Patent Floating Velocipede," which was invented by Mr. William Ascough, of this city. The craft in question was manufactured for Mr. Jacob C. Freno, a lawyer of Philadelphia, and will be used on the Schuylkill River. It consists of two pontoons made of galvanized iron, upon which a frame-work is fastened. The boat is nineteen feet long by three feet, eight inches beam, and the two pontoons have twenty-six water-tight compartments. It has a seating capacity for four persons, and over the upper part is a graceful awning. The motive power is supplied by four levers, two for each seat, and the occupants, working those levers, cause the paddles to revolve, if required, at the rate of 60 revolutions per minute. The speed of the boat is about six miles per hour. The steering apparatus is managed by the feet of those navigating the boat. The paddle-wheels are three feet, two inches in diameter, and are in the center, under the seats. We are informed that there is no splashing but that the "floating velocipede" rides like a duck. It draws five inches of water, and the same kind of craft can be constructed of any size required. Mr. Ascough will ship this novel boat for Philadelphia on Monday next. Besides being useful for pleasure, and very easy to navigate, the inventor claims that his floating velocipede is a perfect life-boat. - Exchange.

Media Type:
Item Type:
One is not sure where this launch took place, the vessel described sounds very similar to the modern day pontoon paddle boat, except for it's hand-operated paddle.
Date of Original:
16 Apr, 1878
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Dave Swayze
Copyright Statement:
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Detroit Post and Tribune (Detroit, MI), 16 Apr, 1878