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Surge reliever patent model, 1870

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Surge reliever patent model, 1870
Smithsonian Institution, Photo by Richard Strauss, Negative #: 2006-9740


This object appears in the following sections:

Marine Patent Models — Complete Catalog: 1870-1875

Marine Patent Models — Working the boat

Surge reliever patent model
Catalog #: 308,553, Accession #: 89,797
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection

John E. Jones of Wiretown (now Waretown), New Jersey, invented a mechanism in 1870 to relieve strain on anchor cables. This is his patent model for the device, which employs rubber springs in a pivoting frame as a surge buffer. "This is a most durable and efficient arrangement for" preventing damage from strained cables, he argued, "and its advantages will be readily understood by all sea-faring men."

Physical Description

The model is 9 1/4" L x 4" H x 4" W. A sample chain is wound around a warping drum that represents a ship's windlass. The chain passes over a metal and rubber spring frame before dropping through the model's wood base.

Date Made:
New Jersey
Transfer from the U.S. Patent Office

Strong, rot-resistant iron chains increasingly replaced natural-fiber anchor cables beginning in the 1850s, and by the 1870s they were almost universal on larger vessels. Jones's invention responded to the less elastic nature of iron compared to hemp, jute, and manila by providing a way to relieve any sudden tension that might occur in a cable. Jones also patented the use of rubber springs in adjustable lanyards, the patent model for which is also in the collection.


John E. Jones, Surge Reliever, U.S. patent no. 107,917, Oct. 4, 1870.

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