'The mode of pasing Rivers and gaining height at the same time', 1796.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving after a drawing by inventor Robert Fulton (1765-1815), from his 'A treatise on the improvement of canal navigation' (London, 1796). Here a double-inclined plane performs the function of an aqueduct and a lock at the same time. The drive mechanism consisted of a bucket and cistern at one end only. 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. He also discused designs for iron and wooden bridges.