Check out these popular conversations from my community

Powered by BlogFrog

Monday, December 17, 2012

The good idea that didn't float

Meriwether Lewis had a brilliant idea, really.

Before he left on the expedition, he had the men at Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, build his invention of a "dismantable" iron frame for a skin boat.

Source: Harper's Ferry Historic National Park
 The dismantled frame was carried all the way to Montana, bolted together, and covered in animal skins. 

Source: Harper's Ferry Historic National Park
Living in the east, there was no way for Captain Lewis to imagine the treeless plains. He had counted on sealing the boat with pine tar. He thought he'd invented a seal using beeswax, charcoal and buffalo tallow. But the boat leaked and the experiment was a failure. 

I feel bad for Captain Lewis because I think a "dismantable" boat is a brilliant idea. Would it have worked if there had been pine tar? My research didn't turn up an experiment to prove it would have worked, but I think it would have at least for a few miles.

If you find record that someone did this experiment to see if pine tar would work, let me know, and I'll include it in this post and give the finder credit.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting!