Captain Kynaston’s patent hook
Captain Kynaston’s patent hook


The Royal Navy
The Royal Navy


In 1857 Captain Augustus Frederick Kynaston patented a "slip or disengaging hook" (described in an article in the Mechanic's Magazine) to enable ships' boats to be rapidly and safely launched at sea. For many years an acrimonious debate was carried between proponents of this system, a rival system invested by one Charles Clifford (described in Clifford's 1855 book "How to lower ship's boats..."), and those in favour of the traditional Royal Navy equipment. This was only resolved in 1872 - after an accident involving the boats of the Ariadne in which 11 seamen were drowned - when the Admiralty established a committee "to inquire into the supply of lifeboats to the Navy and the best mode of lowering boats and saving life at sea". This committee decided that Clifford's system was unsuitable for the large boats carried by a man-of-war and the severe conditions under which they must work, and that Kynaston's system did have some advantages, but these were not so large as to warrant universal application. The following entries from the Times newspaper refer to Kynaston's invention, and to this debate.


Extracts from the Times newspaper
DateExtract
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