In June 1914, the FC Taylor Fur Company of St. Louis Missouri patented a set-gun device and US Patent number 1,098,742 became the Taylor Fur Getter for sale to suppliers.

Meanwhile after a train wreck in Siberia in 1919, Lieutenant John Brandon, from St. Cloud Minnesota (now named Yevgeny Roskovski) was adjusting to his new life.

One cold and snowy day, he set out dressed completely in animal skins and furs on a trapping and hunting trip carrying his beloved .30-40 Krag. (wait, what? No Fur Getter?)
Continue reading “Taylor Fur Getter Turns 100!”

Paul Louis Toussaint Heroult was born on April 10, 1863 in Harcourt, France.

Twenty-two years later, in an effort to reduce the price of aluminum, (which was once as expensive as silver and more valuable than gold) Heroult would invent an electrolytic process for producing aluminum, reducing its cost from $8 to .53/volume.

Hall Heroult Cell

Another young man, Charles Martin Hall, also age 22, would register a patent for the identical process around the same time as Heroult.

This led to what is now known as Hall-Heroult process and, what helped to make aluminum an inexpensive commodity rather than a precious metal.

Continue reading “Paul Lois Toussaint Héroult (1863-1914)”

On March 14, 1794, Yankee-born Georgia inventor Eli Whitney received the 72nd patent ever granted by the United States for his game-changing cotton gin. It’s a strange thing, the cotton gin – as much as it did good being the catalyst that helped industrialize the South, it did bad by contributing to the growth of slavery, and, ultimately, the start of the Civil War. Never mind the fact that its story is also an excellent case study of patent licensing & infringement proceedings in a fledgling patent system.

Eli Whitney's cotton gin: important, useful, and highly controversial

Eli Whitney's cotton gin: important, useful, and highly controversial

More About The Cotton Gin – Patent X72

On June 14, 1834, Maine inventor Leonard Norcross patents what is widely accepted as the first practical, sealed dive suit. It featured weighted feet and a hard, water-tight helmet. Exhaust air was pushed out the top of the helmet, which finally allowed divers a full range of motion underwater.

Leonard Norcross' Diving Armor, a breakthrough in dive suit technology

Leonard Norcross' Diving Armor, a breakthrough in dive suit technology

More About Patent X8255

Does this man look familiar? He should.

Does this man look familiar? He should.

This week we celebrate one of the most important patents ever to cross a USPTO examiner’s desk.

The patent describes a process for a producing a material we use nearly everywhere – our homes, our cars, our offices, our hospitals – we even use it in space!

It’s one of the most abundant materials on the planet, and it is infinitely recyclable.

But, without the work of one brilliant young scientist, its full potential might never had been realized.

Do you know what it is? Continue reading “The True Story of a Boy Wonder Who Totally Changed the World”

Ok, that’s a lie.

I’m sorry, but after this morning’s fact-checking debacle, I just couldn’t resist.

To be fair, my morning started out “normal enough” as I perused the web for a good invention history factoid to share with you on our daily Today in Invention History Facebook posting. I got pretty excited when I discovered that – supposedly – the rubber heel for shoes/boots was patented today. After all, they are pretty important part of our daily lives (assuming, of course, that you wear shoes on a daily basis!) Continue reading “Today in History, Nothing Was Invented”

The Christmas tree is the center of the decorations for Christmas. While the tree brings joy and beauty to the Christmas season, there are many problems associated with this Christmas tradition. Inventors are constantly coming up with new solutions to decorating the tree, watering the tree, and new kinds of Christmas trees.
So it seems that the process of remembering to and then actually watering the Christmas tree is something that many people, not just me, struggle with each holiday season. Many inventions have been patented which attempt to solve this problem.
Remote Christmas tree watering apparatusDonald P. Voorhis received US Patent 5201140 on April 13, 1993 for a Remote Christmas Tree Watering Apparatus.

“Because of the undesirable characteristics of watering the Christmas tree, many times this task would be avoided, sometimes causing the water in the Christmas tree stand to be completely drained and thus, creating a fire hazard from a dry Christmas tree, as well as an unpleasant looking tree.”

Continue reading “Patents for the Christmas Tree”

gattlinggunJohn Gatling was not a man out to promote war and the killing of men with his invention. Instead, Gatling believed that the invention of an automatic weapon would reduce war and the death of soldiers. He thought because the gun would have such a devastating effect on the armies, once seen on the battlefield it would send the other side running. In addition, a weapon that had the impact of many men when used by few would reduce the number of soldiers needed thereby reducing the number of casualties.

It occurred to me that if I could invent a machine – a gun – which could by its rapidity of fire, enable one man to do as much battle duty as a hundred, that it would, to a large extent supersede the necessity of large armies, and consequently, exposure to battle and disease [would] be greatly diminished. – John Gatling

Continue reading “The Gatling Gun”