raft


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raft,

floating platform of wood, cork, or air-inflated rubber for conveying goods or people. Originally, several logs, bound together by vines, strips of animal skin, and later rope, formed a flat surface upon which goods and people could move across bodies of water. From prehistoric times to the 19th cent. rafting was an important means of transportation. Rafts were indispensable in the frontier period of American history; on rivers such as the Ohio and Mississippi they were used to convey settlers and transport supplies. Large rafts are still used occasionally on the Pacific coast to float lumber along the coastline. In recent times life rafts have come to replace lifeboats on many vessels. Because they are more easily handled and cannot capsize or crash in launching, life rafts can merely be thrown over the side of a ship or permitted to slide down into the water. They contain distress signals and other emergency paraphernalia to sustain the lives of persons awaiting rescue.

Raft

 

(1) A transport unit composed of bundles of logs that is used for timber flotation. Usually rafts are towed by a vessel; more rarely they float with the current of the river. The shape of river and lake rafts is usually rectangular, and their volume may be as much as 27,000 cu m. Seagoing rafts are cigar-shaped, and their volume may exceed 1,500 cu m.

(2) A platform made up of several connected floating objects, on top of which a plank flooring is usually laid. People and cargo are transported over water on rafts. The rafts are propelled by poles, oars, or sails. For making the rafts, logs, reed bundles, floats from hollow objects (barrels or boxes), or inflated containers are used.

(3) A means for rescuing people; part of the rescue equipment of a vessel or aircraft.

raft

[raft]
(engineering)
A quantity of timber or lumber secured together by means of ropes, chains, or rods and used for transportation by floating.
(geology)
A rock fragment caught up in a magma and drifting freely, more or less vertically.
(hydrology)
An accumulation or jam of floating logs, driftwood, dislodged trees, or other debris, formed naturally in a stream by caving of the banks.

raft

a buoyant platform of logs, planks, etc., used as a vessel or moored platform

RAFT

(Resource Area For Teaching, San Jose, CA, www.raft.net) A non-profit organization that offers materials and its Silicon Valley facility to help K-12 kids learn science, math, technology and art with hands-on activities. RAFT recycles surplus and used equipment as well as scrap materials and routinely sends trucks to local donors for pickup. See e-cycling.
References in classic literature ?
The motion of a raft is the needful motion; it is gentle, and gliding, and smooth, and noiseless; it calms down all feverish activities, it soothes to sleep all nervous hurry and impatience; under its restful influence all the troubles and vexations and sorrows that harass the mind vanish away, and existence becomes a dream, a charm, a deep and tranquil ecstasy.
How different is this marvel observed from a raft, from what it is when one observes it through the dingy windows of a railway-station in some wretched village while he munches a petrified sandwich and waits for the train.
The men at the edge of the raft, armed with long sticks, pressed with violence against the shore to send off the frail construction with sufficient impetus to force its way through corpses and ice-floes to the other shore.
There was something even comical in the position of the men in possession of the raft.
He made the raft as broad as a skilled shipwright makes the beam of a large vessel, and he fixed a deck on top of the ribs, and ran a gunwale all round it.
But it takes time to make a raft, even when one is as industrious and untiring as the Tin Woodman, and when night came the work was not done.
Prince Andrew, leaning his arms on the raft railing, gazed silently at the flooding waters glittering in the setting sun.
I hate work of any kind, and making a raft is hard work.
For that matter, they were all loafing,--Buck, John Thornton, and Skeet and Nig,--waiting for the raft to come that was to carry them down to Dawson.
Before I had got fairly clear of the raft of chairs and tables he had rejoined me.
My raft was now strong enough to bear any reasonable weight.
Several men were drowned in the attempt to swim across, not long ago; and one, who had the madness to trust himself upon a table as a raft, was swept down to the whirlpool, where his mangled body eddied round and round some days.