JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
1876/7 were pretty good years for science and technology (though a poor one for U.S. presidential elections): there was the telephone, cathode rays (Eugen Goldstein), John Draper's photography of the solar spectrum, Berliner's microphone, Boltzmann's 2nd Law, and so on. In the middle of the Scientific American for 1877 there were two articles on the telephone and the Grant calculating machine, and in between these two articles was another less important but still fascinating and unexpected story on the human buoy:
Well, it really wasn't a buoy though it behaved like one--the real cause to action here was a survivor suit. It was a big, armless version of Robbie the Robot, a roomy and I guess somewhat versatile suit that one could jump into and then would float around in like a dud torpedo. What caught my attention with the thing was that there was food and drink enough in it for a person to live a month ("if need be, in safety and comfort"). Source: Scientific American, 5 May 1877, p. 274l, and invented by the wonderfully-named Traugott Beek, of Newark, NJ.