In most designs two caissons are used, one going up and one down, acting as counterweights for greater efficiency. When the caisson has reached the friction on inclined plane pdf or bottom of the slope, the doors open and the boat leaves. There are also inclined planes without a tank or caisson, instead carrying vessels up out of the water cradled in slings or resting on their keels.
In a few cases the boats were permanently fitted with wheels. Inclined planes have evolved over the centuries. Some of the first were used by the Egyptians to bypass waterfalls on the Nile. These consisted of wooden slides covered with silt which reduced friction. Greek inclined plane, was in use. Inclined planes proposed on the projected Caldon Canal. See Peter Lead, The Caldon Canal, Oakwood Press 1990.
The inclines were a failure and were dismantled by 1787. Lord Stanhope replied saying his idea for working the plane had already been thought of by Edmund Leach. The first North American inclined plane canal. Replaced by five locks in 1805. Greater Manchester, England, an underground incline started in 1795 was completed in 1797. 1823, wrote ‘The Description of the Inclined Plane at Walkden Moor. Temporary while a system of 22 locks augmented by a pump were installed.