Absurd patent of the month: the swimming machine

La machine à nager
Elsewhere
Absurd patent of the month: n°CA116487
Publié le 2 July 2024

Stimulated by the enthusiasm generated by the Olympic Games in Paris, we have decided to talk about an original patent application in sports: the swimming machine.

Filed by Americans William H. Young and Oscar B. Lyon in 1909 (3 years before the Titanic), this patent is more precisely an improvement to “life preservers and swimming machines”, at a time when only a small portion of the population knew how to swim. Even if the intention is good – to save our life in case of an accident on the water – this invention is nonetheless quite amusing.

La machine à nager

We can describe it as a kind of life jacket you attach to the torso with straps. The device includes an airtight compartment, a keel somewhat similar to that of a boat, a propelling mechanism, as well as a crank and handles.

When the user falls into the water, in the event of a shipwreck for example, he just has to grab the handles and to reel them in to move quickly away from the suction created by the sinking ship and be safe, waiting for the rescuers. This may be useful!

We are not going to lie, it’s highly doubtful cruise vacationers or fishermen will carry this kind of rather imposing portable buoy all day long. But the text also suggests its recreational use. So, are you motivated to take a dip? Who knows, by wearing it you might go faster than Michael Phelps!

In any case, all eyes will certainly be on you!

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