9 FEBRUARY 1895, Page 17


Spectator of February 2nd, your comments on the 'Elbe' disaster conclude as follows :—" When will some- one invent a method of lowering boats which will really act ? At present, a steamer's boats are merely heavy ornaments, or devices for soothing the nerves of passengers." Facts con- firm these assertions. The question may be answered thus —" When the Government agrees to accept an effective apparatus and make its use compulsory on passenger-ships." About three years ago, I designed a lowering arrangement, by which, in conjunction with a previous patent for securing boats on shipboard, the heaviest lifeboat could be released and lowered by a couple of men in less than sixty seconds. At considerable expense I demonstrated its efficiency, and lost my time, labour, and money because the principle involved the use of flexible wire for lowering, which the Board of Trade refused to sanction. Why flexible steel wire, universally em- ployed everywhere else for raising and lowering heavy weights, which is stronger and more durable than hemp, and does not swell when wet or lose flexibility when frozen, like ordinary rope, should be unsuitable for boat-lowering, I was unable to

5 Grey Place, Greenock, February 5th.