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Boyton's Rubber Swim Suit
Opening: $85
Hammer Price: $85
Skylight Gallery 33
October 2011

CDV-format albumen print showing the promoter Paul Boyton, holding paddles and wearing the bizarre inflatable rubber swimming suit with which he traveled the world giving exhibitions, by Alphonse Bernoud, Lyon, France, circa 1880.   ( Inventory# id104 )

Boyton's suit appears to have been a sort of personal, wearable kayak which the user donned and then inflated himself using a series of long tubes, afterwards using kayak-like paddles to propel himself through the water. I don't know the purpose of the strange hand-ax he also seems to be holding. The suit was intended for adoption as a life-saving device on steamboats and was demonstrated by Boyton paddling up and down rivers in it, sometimes towing a small boatload of provisions behind himself as the local press looked on.

Images and text copyright 2001-2014 by Christopher Wahren Fine Photographs

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