Paul Boyton

 (often misspelled Boynton) (b. June 29, 1848 in Ratthangan, Kildare County, Ireland — April 19, 1924), known as the Fearless Frogman, was a showman and adventurer some credit as having spurred worldwide interest in water sports as a hobby, particularly open-water swimming. Boyton, whose birthplace is variously listed as Dublin or Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is best known for his water stunts that captivated the world, including crossing the English Channel in a novel rubber suit that functioned similarly to a kayak.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Rubber Suit.

From Cap: 
   “It was 1874 when I donned my first rubber suit.
It was composed of vulcanized rubber and consists of two distinct sections, both joined at the waist. The pantaloons end in a band of steel over which the lower part of the tunic fits with a strap covering it all, thus making a perfectly water-tight joint. At the back of the head, the back, the breast and on each thigh there are five internal compartments, each have a tube for the purpose of inflating them with air from the mouth. The face is the only part of the body exposed to the weather when completely encased in the rubber suit.
I float on my back, and propel my body feet foremost with a double-bladed paddle at the rate of a hundred strokes per minute. When ever I choose I can get into an upright position. For the purpose on conveying provisions etc., for a long trip I have a small iron boat, which I named “Baby Mine”, this boat is thirty inches long, twelve inches wide and twelve inches deep. She is completely closed other than the hatch which is protected by a water tight cover.
  With a line attached to my belt I carried the following items: couple of bottles of ginger ale, ten days provisions, cigars, quinine and other emergency medications such as brandy, etc., frying pan, coffee, kettle, spoon, knife and fork. A cup, a spirit stove, pen and ink, notebook, signal rockets, chronometer, barometer, thermometer, revolver, 
charts, maps, hatchet, ammunition, including a patch cloth and rubber cement. Attached to the deck is a headlight and clock. 
   “I began my  voyages on October 1874. sailing from New York on the Queen of the National Line, Captain Bragg in command,  my object was to jump overboard when we were two hundred and fifty miles from the American shore. I wanted to use this method to show the rubber suit off as a life saving device to the world. 
   From my early childhood I had a fascination for water and the water seemed to call me, my parents did not  relish the idea,and always feared that I would be drowned.”   

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