Dream On, H. M. Small

June 2017

There are many kinds of inventors. One is the heralded, or no-one-is-laughing-at-themany-longer, variety, like Edison, Elias Howe, and the Wright Brothers. Then there are the heralded-for-something-else inventors, like Mark Twain, who devised a new kind of scrapbook, or Lillian Russell, who patented an improved trunk. (Her own scarcely needed any improvement.) But there is, alas, a sad, forgotten group, the inventors of useful and clever devices that never quite catch on. Some of the splendid ideas of these unsung geniuses are shown here in patent drawings picked out from a recent booklet on patents published by E. I. da Pont de Nemours & Company, where they know a good deal about the subject.

Consider the brilliant notion, at top, of H. M. Small; if the railroads cared, it would still be a good idea, as any tired commuter knows. Or Joseph Fallek’s grapefruit shield; because no one listened, this mischievous fruit is still taking its annual toll at the national breakfast table. Nor is it too late to this very day for the President of the United States to snap up one of Clark’s rocking-chair churns. It would not only relieve executive tensions, it would also help out around the White House.