Facts About Abraham Lincoln

While Abraham Lincoln is well-known for being the 16th president of the United States and guiding the country through the divisive Civil War era, Lincoln’s interests and talents reached far beyond his political contributions. One of Abraham Lincoln’s creative side projects gives him the distinction of being the only U.S. president to secure a patent.
From his youth, Lincoln had a keen interest in machines. In his leisure time, Lincoln enjoyed examining and tinkering with various pieces of machinery and everyday equipment, and he was a firm believer that improvement was always a possibility.
While spending some time as a ferryman in his early adulthood, Lincoln got a first-hand look at how dangerous shallow rivers or sandy shoals could be for passing steamboats. He also observed the financial losses that could result if the crew was forced to lighten the boat’s cargo to cross the dangerous area.
Lincoln devised a plan that would increase a vessel’s buoyancy by utilizing hollow chambers attached to the boat’s sides. When the crewmen inflated these chambers with air, they would raise the vessel’s underside high enough to safely pass through shallow waters or over sand bars.
In 1848, Lincoln was working in Washington as an Illinois congressional representative. During breaks from Congress, Lincoln drew schematics and created a scale model for his invention, and he filed for a U.S. patent in March of 1849. Two months later on May 22, the United States Patent Office issued Patent No. 6,469 to Abraham Lincoln, setting him apart as the first, and thus far, the only president to hold a patent.