Hydraspis, or Water Shield

Title

Hydraspis, or Water Shield

Description

Personal floatation device invented by the seventeenth-century German polymath Johann Christoph Wagenseil. Equipped with hinges—so that the user could insert himself into the circle and then securely reclose it—Wagenseil’s invention was to be used with “water-sandals” that approximated the webbed feet of waterfowl. His design included two covered compartments on the device’s top surface in which a shipwreck victim could stow “a quantity of food sufficient for a long time, or . . . money, writings, or other valuable things” while awaiting rescue.

By the eighteenth century, the belief that science could be used both to save lives and to preserve valuable ships and cargoes inspired interest in lifesaving devices, as well as in improvements in marine architecture.

Creator

Gentleman's Magazine (London), 1747

Source

Gentleman's Magazine (London), 1747

Date

1747

Contributor

Cynthia A. Kierner

Format

Magazine

Type

Still image

Coverage

1700-1799

Files

Hydraspis copy.jpg

Citation

Gentleman's Magazine (London), 1747, “Hydraspis, or Water Shield,” Disaster History Archive, accessed October 23, 2021, http://disasterhistoryarchive.cynthiakierner.org/items/show/3.

Output Formats