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Full text of "Apparatus For Attaining A High Degree Of Velocity On Railroads, &c. - United States Patent 689"


Jacob Noj-lnkiu, of Washington, District Of Columbia. Apparatus 
For Attaining A High Degree Of Velocity On Railroads, &c.

Specification of Letters Patent No. 689, dated April 13, 1838.

To all whom it may concern:

Be it known that I, Jacob Xouner, of the city of Washington, in 
the District of Columbia, have invented a now and Improved mode 
of combining certain well-known kinds of apparatus or machinery 
so as to attain a very high degree of velocity, and which 
combined machinery may be applied to the purpose of 
transportation upon railroads and to other objects where it may 
be desirable to attain a high degree of speed upon the principle 
or in the manner devised by me; and I do hereby declare, that the 
following is a full and exact description thereof.

The principle upon which I proceed is the same with that which 
obtains when vehicles of any kind are made to have a progressive 
motion upon the surface of the earth. A carriage or a floating 
vessel placed upon any part of that surface, and relatively at 
rest, all the —tides or persons, stationed thereon, will be at 
relative rest; if the vessel or carriage be — to move in any 
direction, by a force applied to it alone, such force, if 
sufficient to overcome its friction and inertia will have 
absolute motion communicated to it, and that in a degree 
proportioned to the nature of such force; and will, in a short 
space of time, cause whatever articles are placed upon it from 
their inertia, to move with it in a right line, if the power of 
the first mover be equable. Let us suppose motion to be 
communicated to a car, platform, or other article mounted upon 
wheels, from an independent source, both the car and motive power 
being placed upon another platform, vessel, or other article, and 
let the motion communicated to the second car or other article, 
be equal in velocity to, and in the direction of — communicated 
in the first car platform or vessel upon which it moves, and the 
absolute motion, on the earth's surface, will be thereby doubled.

If, for the purpose of illustration, we suppose a movable 
railroad of sufficient length to be constructed, and to run upon 
an ordinary, permanent, fixed railroad perfectly level or 
otherwise; and we also suppose a train of cars, with wheels, 
placed thereon capable of a separate and independent motion, and 
adapted to the rails fixed on the top of the movable road: that 
the movable road be one mile, in length and could be land drawn 
upon the permanent road by a locomotive engine, or moved by any 
other adequate power; and further suppose, that a train of cars 
be placed, as above stated, upon the movable railroad, and be 
drawn forward thereon, as upon a stationary railroad, by a 
locomotive giving to the train the same relative velocity with 
the movable railroad, is it not manifest that its own relative 
velocity will be doubled; or it will pass over the same space, on 
the permanent railroad, in one half of the time, that the movable 
railroad would. A further illustration: Let a movable railroad be 
placed upon a permanent railway; then let a train of cars be 
placed upon the top of the movable railroad, and let it be 
supposed that the velocity given to the movable railroad, by a 
locomotive, to be equal to twenty miles an hour; the train of 
cars placed thereon, when at rest, must needs go at the same 
velocity; suppose further, that while the movable road is in 
motion, the train of cars be also put in motion, by a separate 
locomotive attached to it, at the same rate of twenty miles per 
hour; then, is it not undeniable, that the train will go at the 
velocity of forty miles an hour—being carried twenty miles an 
hour by the movable road, and twenty miles an hour by its own 
locomotive; or in other words, the train will travel twenty miles 
in thirty minutes; that is, it will go at the same space, in one 
half of the time; and so, of any number of mounted railroads 
superincumbent upon each other, and so constructed as to operate 
upon the principle above laid down.

The better to exemplify this principle, I refer to the annexed 
drawing, which represents a permanent railroad, having upon it 
four movable railroads running on wheels, placed one above the 
other, and also a carriage or car on the top of the whole, each 
of the movable railroads being of a proportionate length to that 
which stands immediately above it.

A, A, Figs. 1 and 2, is the permanent railroad, and B, C, D, and 
E, the respective movable railroads, and F, a car forming the 
topmost and last of the series, B, being placed directly on the 
permanent road, and the others, one surmounting the other, as 
represented. If the movable railways be placed as in the drawing, 
so that one end of each be at the point A1, of the permanent 
road, and the movable railway I — be made to travel toward A— by 
the application of any motive power, say at twenty miles an hour; 
and each of the surmounted railways, — the car. — made to travel 
— by a separate motive force applied to itself, and giving it the 
same velocity. C, will thereby be caused to travel forty, sixty, 
and eighty, and F, one hundred mile in the same period of time.

I have presented, for illustration, the construction of a 
stationary railway and of mounted railways, such as I am aware it 
may appear to some persons, impracticable to make and use: but I 
have thus shown it, principally, for the purpose of 
exemplification; I am of opinion, however, that the principle, of 
attaining a high velocity, as herein described, may be so 
modified as to be applied advantageously to the purposes of 
locomotive; and also, that it may be found to be applicable, in a 
greater or lesser extent, to the various purposes in the 
machinery employed in various useful arts; and it is my object to 
secure to myself the right of applying it in any way, in which it 
may be advantageously used.

What I claim, therefore, as my invention, and wish to secure by 
Letters Patent, is—

The placing of two or more movable railways, platforms, or — 
capable of progressive motion, one above the other, so that each 
may be drawn along by an independent power applied to it, and 
like itself sustained upon the railroad, platform, mounted 
railway, or other article, upon which it is to move: and this I 
claim, whatever form or arrangement the same may be made to 
assume, while the principle of action is the same with that 
herein exemplified.


Witnesses: Jno. M. Moore, Saml. Davidson King.