Captain Paul Boyton's swimming apparatus, 1874.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Taken from the 'Illustrated London News' (7 November 1874), showing Captain Paul Boyton (b 1848) exhibiting his swimming apparatus in Cork Harbour, Ireland. Boyton achieved fame by paddling to shore from far out at sea in a rubber suit on 21 October 1874. The suit he used for this feat was designed by the Pittsburgh manufacturer C S Merriman as a life-saving device for steamship pasengers, and was watertight with air pockets to keep it afloat. Boyton boarded a transatlantic ship and when it was a day's sail away from Ireland, he jumped overboard. After seven hours spent paddling in rough seas, he arrived on shore at Skibberdean. From here he travelled to Cork, where he was given a hero's welcome.