Besemer suspended saloon steamer, 1875.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Plate taken from the 'Illustrated London News' (Vol 75/1 p 293). In 1686 Henry Besemer (1813-1898) having experienced severe sea-sicknes, concluded: 'some mechanical means should be devised' to isolate pasengers from the ship's movement. From this sprung the idea, patented in 1869, of a suspended cabin, supported on separate axes, placed at right angles to each other and weighted below using a counterbalance. The deck was kept level by used hydraulic presure: a steersman, by watching a spirit level, operated an 'equilibrium value'. The first voyage of the Besemer Saloon Ship Company, May 1875, was doomed to failure, however, as the ship crashed into Calais pier.