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Jim: Patent pending: some Adair County inventors and inventions

"Jim" has been doing what most people do this time of the year: Perusing patent files. and what he's found should change every Adair Countians pride and confidence forever. Ich Bin Ein Adair Countian will create a tighter choke, an icier spinal chill wherever it's uttered. Jim's research makes Menlo Park seem a two year old child's Leggo play room by comparison to the Great Laboratories of Adair County. The famous Invalid people conveyor, Sam Eubank's water pump, harness hangers, J.C. Eubank's tooth harrow, rated the best ever after a field test by the editor of the News; Jno. Eubank's snathe, which forever changed the the world of scything; the famed Amanda Go Pat automobile, great uncle Paul Waggener's unique and very convenient envelope, and perhaps as important as any, one none of us could ever forget George Hood's one man saw, which revolutionized the firewood industry for all times. All these and many more, inventoried below, are patented products of Adair County genius.

By "Jim"

(Researching in old newspapers can lead a body down some mighty strange side trails. Such is the case with the following, where one tantalizing morsel led to another. And another. And another. And.........)

Adair Countians have never been known for a lack of industry or ingenuity. Never was this more evident than in the first two decades of the 20th century, or, more precisely, from the years 1903 through 1922, when several Adair Countians applied for and were granted patents for an astonishing array of inventions.

The first came in the early spring of 1903, when Mrs. Priscilla W. Dohoney "secured a patent on a lifter and conveyor for invalids." The News went on to state that it was a quite useful apparatus and that it would "doubtless bring much revenue to the inventor."

Later that same spring, the News reprinted an article from the Campbellsville Enquirer about Adair County native Dr. James Triplett, a dentist, and the creation for which he had received a patent: "a fire escape that is a success in every particular." The article went on to state that the device "attached to the window and works automatically," and that

There are two escapes to each window, and after the first trip down the escapes are moving constantly back and forth. The invention can be used successfully on any building, no matter how tall the structure, with great accuracy and safety...

The News added a note that Dr. Triplett had been in Louisville the previous week conferring with unnamed parties who believed there was a fortune to be made from invention, but that up to the current time, he had refused all offers from manufacturers who had expressed an interest.

(The "Biennial Report of the Auditor of Public Accounts of Kentucky (July 1, 1903 - June 30, 1904) mentions a Triplett Fire Escape Co., organized on November 7, 1903 with $50,000 capital stock and headquartered in Louisville.)

Without a doubt, the brothers Judd, Roma and Tom, hold the record as Adair County's youngest patent aspirants. In February, 1904 came the report they had not only had opened a carpenter shop on Water Street in Columbia and were "prepared to do all kinds of work," but that

They expect in the next few months to get a patent on a feather renovator and if they are successful Messrs. Judd Brothers will soon become millionaires, for it will leave nearly all the feathers in the "large tick."

At the time, Roma Judd was just short of his 14th birthday, and big brother Tom had just passed his 15th mark.

In May, 1908 came word that Columbia native and resident Mr. S. F. Eubank

...has received official notice that he has been granted a patent on a pipe and post puller. This is a machine that will be of great use where pipe is to be drawn from the earth and will doubtless prove profitable to the inventor and his partner, Mr. G.B. Smith.

Quite possibly, Mr. Eubank had acquired Mr. Smith as partner via a classified ad placed in the News about a year earlier:

Wanted -- A man to pay the expenses of securing a patent for a valuable invention. Will give an interest. /s/ S.F. Eubank, Columbia, Ky.

Three and a half years later, Mr. Eubank was granted a second patent for an entirely different device. An article in the December 11, 1912 paper stated that

Mr. Sam F. Eubank will leave to-day for Indianapolis, Ind., where he will contract with a manufacturer to put his recently patented water pump on the market. It is one of the simplest contrivances ever invented. It has about double the speed of any other patent and it works without frictions. A small child will be able to operate it with ease. It is generally believed that it will be a source of much income to Mr. Eubank

.Most likely, this is the one he began advertising a few months later: "If you are in need of a pump see S.F. Eubank and get the latest improved."

Meanwhile, back in 1909, W.L. Taylor, an Adair County native and former resident of Glensfork who had gone West some years earlier, had a lengthy letter published in the News in May of that year. In the undated missive, Mr Taylor mentioned he had recently removed from Memphis, Texas, to Bartlesville, Okla., and explained thus:

I came here to have my harness hangers manufactured. I was granted a patent of harness hangers March 9, 1909, and I came here thinking I could have them manufactured here but failed. I went to Springfield, Mo., last week and made arrangements there to have them made in large quantities.

John C. Eubank, a close cousin of Sam F., also was granted two patents in this era. The February 15, 1911 News carried this somewhat lengthy front page report:

Mr. J.C. Eubank, of Cane Valley, has received a patent on his harrow, and advertises it in another column of this paper. In fact there are several in use, and those who have tested it are loud in their praise. It is a steel harrow, A-shaped, adjustable, to open or close, with clamps to tighten the teeth, so it not only overcomes the worry of the old wooden frame of loose teeth, but can be made to cover much or little ground. Its general appearance was sufficient to induce the editor of the News to place one in the field, believing it to be the best tooth harrow he ever saw. Look up the ad, and do it at once if you need a good harrow, and write or phone Mr. Eubank.

The above-mentioned ad ran for several weeks and featured a photo of the harrow and its proud inventor along with this text:

Men who till the soil are crazy about it. The Improved Patent Ideal Steel Harrow. It takes the rag off the bush. It has adjustable lever attachment to open and close. Folds up, easy to operate and never wears out. Just the thing you are looking for. Give it a trial and be convinced of its merits. For sale only by J.C. Eubank, Inventor and Patentee, Cane Valley, Ky.

In September, 1918, Mr. Eubank, by then a resident of Campbellsville, had received his second patent and was back in the News:

...Jno. C. Eubank...has been the promoter of a patentright, which the outlook is very encouraging on. He has, since receiving his papers from Commissioner of patents, Washington, D.C., may 9th, 1918, been able to incorporate a stock company, organize an official body, sell stock sufficient necessary to the promotion of his company, and has been able to command a nice order from a large jobbing concern of the city...

So for what was he awarded the patent, you ask? The only clue lies in the title of the article: "Eubank Snathe Company." (Oh, surely you know what a snathe is!)

The September 15, 1915 paper announced that

Mr. Paul Waggener had secured a patent on an envelope. It is unique and very convenient. He has already sold one man 60,000.

By 1919, even newsletters were reporting patent applications. The July 23 edition of the News carried this slightly offbeat report from the Nell community:

Mr. James T. Compton, better known as "Jim Pats," has at last finished a touring car for Mr. T.N. Moss. This car is very ornamental while most of its construction is very simple, although there are some peculiarities. about it, among them a brazing serpent on top of the engine, in front, which will begin striking and jumping at the first stroke of the engine and continues until the machine starts. It will then lie quietly as if asleep.

Mr. Moss says he can run the machine on half the fuel he can a Ford and says it will climb any hill and is less expensive than any other car. The name is of this car is the Amanda Go Tom. Mr. Compton has applied for a patent on this car and thinks he is certain to get it.

The car apparently was named in honor of its owners, Mr. Thomas "T.N." Moss and his wife Amanda.

And finally, the North Columbia community newsletter published in the April 4, 1922 edition stated that "Mr. George Hood has invented a new one-man saw, but will not let any one see it until he gets patent rights proven."


It boggles the mind to contemplate what paperwork for long forgotten contraptions lurks in the corners and nooks of the US Patent and Trademark Office. Who knows - perhaps in the darkest corner, relegated there nearly two centuries ago, one might stumble across Mr. Lingan Selby's long lost design for his perpetual motion machine. Maybe, just maybe! -"Jim"
Added April 6, 2012:

Since the article above appeared on CM a year or so ago, two more Adair County inventors and their inventions have come to light.In August, 1922 came the report that Mr. Albia Eubank of Columbia had patented "a liquid dispensing tank, especially for gasoline," the notable features being that the said tank was "free from pumps and float valves." He had been at the patent office in Washington, D.C., the previous week "and made application for a pattern" with high hopes of it going through, "as the force in the [patent] office were highly pleased with it." Mr. Eubank and his business partner in the venture, Mr. W.H. Sandusky, had not yet decided whether to manufacture the device themselves or to turn it over to someone else to manufacture with them (Eubank and Sandusky) to receive royalties from the sales thereof. (Mr. Eubank was about 28 at the time. He was the son of Sam F. Eubank, mentioned in the earlier article about Adair County inventors and inventions.)

About a month later, an ad from Sam Bridgewater of Columbia in the September 12, 1922 paper stated "I have a Carbide Lighting Plant of my own invention, that I can sell at a greatly reduced price, and will guarantee it to work perfectly."

This story was posted on 2011-02-17 15:30:57
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