Equipment for moving canal boats, 1796.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving after a drawing by inventor Robert Fulton (1765-1815) entitled 'The Double Inclined Plane', from his 'A treatise on the improvement of canal navigation' (London, 1796). This mechanism was used for moving boats and their cargoes to and from different levels of a canal navigation on metal tracks. The large pulley-wheel at the top drove two sets of wheeled boats, balanced against each other on parallel planes. Many canals were built in England in the late 18th century. Fulton was convinced that expensive locks and aqueducts were not necesary. He believed it would be cheaper to use small canals with inclined planes between different levels and cable viaducts over rivers. 'Tub and cistern' lifting motors provided the power.