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John Jones's elastic lanyard patent model

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John Jones's elastic lanyard patent model
Smithsonian Institution, Photo by Richard Strauss, Negative #: 2006-9734


This object appears in the following sections:

Marine Patent Models — Complete Catalog: 1870-1875

Marine Patent Models — Working the boat

Elastic lanyard
Catalog #: 308,556, Accession #: 89,797
In collection
From the Smithsonian Collection
John E. Jones of Waretown, New Jersey, designed an elastic lanyard for use in setting up a vessel's standing rigging. This is the model he sent to Washington in 1871 with his application for a patent protecting the device.
Physical Description

The model is made of metal and rubber. It is 9" L x 1 1/2" W x 1 1/4" D.

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

Wire rope became more common in the second half of the nineteenth century. Aboard sailing vessels, it first replaced natural-fiber ropes in standing rigging, which didn’t require constant handling. Later, as mechanical winches came into greater use, it replaced frequently handled running rigging as well. For many centuries, the ropes supporting a vessel’s masts were adjusted using short ropes run between special blocks called deadeyes. Or, as a sailor would say, shrouds and backstays were set up using lanyards. Wire rope was more readily adjusted using turnbuckles, which, along with bottlescrews, remain the standard devices for the purpose today. Jones thought a more effective arrangement would employ a series of rubber cushions; tension was to be adjusted with a single short screw, instead of a turnbuckle’s pair of long threaded bolts. It is not known if his invention was ever commercially produced.

Jones also patented the use of rubber springs to relieve the strain on chain cables, and his surge reliever patent model is also in the collection.


John E. Jones, Elastic Lanyard, U.S. patent no. 123176, Jan. 30, 1872.

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