Prototypes of the first ancient inflatable boats models appeared many centuries ago. Scientists have found images of ancient Assyrians and South American Indians, which swam across rivers and lakes on air balloons. These so-called vessels were made from solid animal skins inflated with air. In addition, the Indians impregnated the skins with a special substance extracted from the juice of tropical trees. It ensured the waterproofness of the material, and did not allow air to pass through.
Attempts to create a waterproof fabric with the help of rubber were started in 1791. Only in 1825, Charles Macintosh was fortunate to get it. The breakthrough in inflatable boat development happened in 1838. Then the famous American scientist Charles Goodyear successfully experimented with rubber and achieved its vulcanization. Thanks to this process, rubber becomes stronger and more flexible. It was a significant technological discovery.
In 1839 Arthur Wellesley created and tested the first balloons of rubber. However, they were easily pierced and therefore the balloons started a leak. In 1839, the English engineer Thomas Hancock decided to construct an inflated boat. Extremely lightweight, it could seat ten rowers. Notes of John C. Fremont in 1842-1843 years are considered the first records of an inflatable boat. He used such a vessel during Oregon Trail expedition.
In 1844, Britisher Peter Halkett advanced the idea of inflatable boats. The naval officer devised a unique design for a boat-cloak. It was a vehicle and at the same time, it defended the owner against the bad weather. This design was constructed of Mackintosh waterproof cloth impregnated with rubber. Transformable paddles and pair of bellows were stored in the pockets. This equipment allowed transforming a cane into paddles, and the sail could be made from an umbrella. Due to the transformation, they were easy to carry across the rough terrain, but at the same time durable for extreme climatic conditions.
In 1848, General George Cullum introduced a new model - inflatable rubber pontoon. The military used it during the Mexican-American War and then in the American Civil War. In 1866, several American sailors on "Nonpareil" raft successfully traversed the Atlantic Ocean. This sturdy raft has construction of three compartments for more reliability. In the USA Goodyear produced many models of such products in the following years. In Britain, Thomas Hancock introduced models that were more modern. It initiated an inflatable boats history. Manufacturers in America, France, Germany and England began to produce rescue vessels, military inflatables and ships for expeditions.
Until the 20-ies of the XX century, inflatable vessels were not very popular. However, by the beginning of the Second World War the military again began to utilize them actively. If the first inflatable boats were constructed of ordinary rubber, then by that time the quality of the materials increased markedly. These swimming vessels have taken the form of modern inflatable boats. Air valves were improved, the internal space was used to store goods and equipment.
The turning point in their rapid progress was a difficult and risky experiment of the French doctor and traveler Alain Bombard. In 1952, he traversed the Atlantic Ocean on an inflatable sailing boat "l'Hérétique". The journey lasted 65 days and became the inflatable boats origin in the modern meaning of the word. It had a substantial contribution to their further development. After this expedition, sales of such products in American and European markets increased sharply.
The first invention of inflatable boats made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) began to appear in the mid-1950s. Rubber is vulnerable material that wears out quickly. It explains the fact that PVC products have become very popular. They do not have the disadvantages of old rubber vessels but in addition, they are more durable. People were convinced that such models have many advantages compared to models with a rigid design. This is a low weight, high strength, maneuverability and load capacity, as well as fuel economy. You can buy lasting and durable products at BelugaBoats. We offer a wide range of inflatable boats for fishing, recreation and hunting. Acceptable prices and various specifications will allow you to spend pleasant time with your family and friends.