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.

Friday, October 2, 2009


    Mr. PT Barnum.        

 An Extraordinary Aquatic
Act Underneath the Big Top.

One of the most unique ads fo
r a Barnum act was this odd but compelling "bird's eye view of a twisting river with adventurer Captain Paul Boyton popping up at different points.
Boyton spent years taming rivers, 
waterfalls, whirlpools - anything else that   was wet and dangerous.
    He navigated the Mississippi when it was filled with grinding ice. Abroard, he had been attacked by sharks in the Straits of Messina.
    He conquered the Tamaes, Rhine, the Danube, the Tiber, the Arno.                                                    
    All this in preperation for his tour with the great Barnum and London United Monster  Shows, for which  Barnum admitted paying Boyton a "princely salary" for an undertaking that would "severely tax even our enormous resources," the daily construction of a miniature lake (right) in which the Captain could revel in his rubber suit.


Anonymous said...

My Grandfather was a cousin of Captain Paul Boyton I would like to know a bit more about him.

Anonymous said...

I have a circus poster I believe from 1887. Barnum & London that highlights Captain Paul Boyton who saved 94 human lives and is performing aquatic wonders in a specially designed artificial lake. I shows him in his rubber "kayak style" suit. The perfomance was in Frederick, Md. I am wondering the value, if not much I will just hang it in my living room. Have searched the internet and can't find this specific poster. Any suggestions

Unknown said...

Do you still have this poster? I believe I know the one you're referring to and would be happy to look at a picture of it if you'd like and let you know. You can email me a snapshot at Thanks.