Coloured cartoon from the Northern looking Glass 18 August 1825, entitled "Summer Amusements: Mackintosh's Waterproof Life Preserver". The cartoonist is commenting upon a report in the Scots Mechanics Magazine about an inflatable rubber life saver, the latest invention from the Glasgow manufacturing chemist and inventor of rainproof cloth, Charles Macintosh (1766-1843). It was designed to be strapped around the chest under the arms, as shown most clearly on the figure of the man on the far left.
The cartoon depicts Glaswegians making good use of this invention in their social lives, by strapping on their life preservers and strolling, dancing and otherwise enjoying their summer leisure hours immersed in the river. One man has taken to the water to enjoy a tankard of beer and smoke his pipe. The Latin text accompanying the cartoon is Nantes in gurgite vasto, "A few swimming in the vast deep".
Such is the degree of safety that the life preserver is believed to give, that the cartoonist predicts an end to the need to provide a service to save the drowning and recover the corpses of the drowned. He has drawn a large "To Let" sign on the Humane Society House at the edge of Glasgow Green.
Reference: Sp Coll Bh14-x.8
Glasgow University Library, Special Collections
beer, clay pipes, dancing, drinking, drowning, Glasgow Humane Society, Glasgow Looking Glass, Humane Society House, lithographs, Northern Looking Glass, promenaders, promenading, rainproof cloth, rescue services, River Clyde, rubber life preservers, rubber life savers, smoking, women