An invention to prevent that sinking feeling
Once the bicycle had developed to the stage where it was powered by pedal cranks and a chain drive, many inventors adopted this form of driving for other vehicles.
One of the most ingenious of these was a one-man, pedal driven lifebuoy for use in case of a shipwreck. Invented by Frenchman Francois Barathon in 1895, it consisted of a small saucer-shaped metal dish containing an inflatable rubber bag and some complicated machinery.
The survivor had to sit on the buoyant bag-which kept him and the machine afloat-and work two sets of cranks, one with his hands and the other with his feet. The cranks turned two propellers, one placed vertically to keep the craft stable and the other to push from behind.