Games Learning Resources Visit the Museum
America on the Move
Collection Exhibition Themes
Cornelius Schilling's patent model, 1871

Enlarge Image
Cornelius Schilling's patent model, 1871
Smithsonian Institution, Photo by Richard Strauss, Negative #: 2006-9741


This object appears in the following sections:

Marine Patent Models — Complete Catalog: 1870-1875

Marine Patent Models — Who's Inventing?

Marine Patent Models — Moving Forward

Patent model for canal-boat paddles
Catalog #: 1979.1029.02, Accession #: 1979.1029
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection
In 1870, Cornelius Schilling patented the use of an oscillating single-bladed paddle to propel vessels "with ease and facility." The next year he though better of his inefficient idea. In a new patent application, he disclaimed everything in his first attempt and proposed instead the arrangement of multiple paddles seen in this model.
Physical Description

Schilling's tin and brass model measures 10" L x 4" W x 3 1/2" H. A simple box represents the hull of a canal boat. Two rearward-projecting arms support three paddles each. Additional connecting rods link the paddles together.

Date Made:
New York
Museum purchase

The two sets of paddle blades shown on Schilling's model "are so arranged that they alternate with each other, one set being in action while the other is carried back through the air, and thereby a continuous action of the propeller is produced." Schilling does not detail why his device was suitable for canal boats.

Schilling was a locksmith in New York City.


Cornelius Schilling, Propulsion of Canal-Boats, U.S. patent no. 119,792, Oct. 10, 1871.

Cornelius Schilling, Propelling Apparatus, U.S. patent no. 106,512, Aug. 14, 1870.

Trow's New York City Directory, 1871

National Museum of American History About This Site | Sponsors | E-mail Signup | Credits