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FRANCIS, Joseph.

The Life Saving Appliances of Joseph Francis.

Action of Congress of the United States in Recognition of his Services, March, 1887.

Published: No place: Printed for Private Distribution, 1887

Stock code: 68595

Price: £475

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First edition. Uncommon, OCLC records just 4 copies – US Coast Guard Academy, Smithsonian, NYPL, and Texas Tech. Francis’s name was extremely well-known in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, but his fame waned with the frequency of maritime disasters. He devoted his life to the invention of maritime life-saving devices, his most famous being the matallic life car. “In early manhood he was employed by the Government to build lifeboats for its war vessels. He was the first man to use iron for life boats, but when he built his first metallic life car he failed to get any aid from the Government, and so, at his own expense, he established his works on the Jersey coast near Long Branch. His inventive genius ripened as he grew older and he built many lifeboats, rafts, lifecars &c. which were eventually in general use in European countries long before they were adopted in the United States. Congress was slow to recognize his great ability, but eventually passed a resolution tendering him a medal” (New York Times obituary). The present publication, which largely consists of bound up extracts from the Congressional Record, was part of his campaign for recognition.

Quarto. Original plum cloth, title gilt to the spine and upper board, gilt block of Francis’s Patent Metallic Life Car to the lower board, bright pink endpapers. Double frontispiece and 17 other plates, one of them double-page. The cloth a little rubbed and stained, light toning, otherwise very good.

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