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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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M. Tschirgi, Improved Reservoir for Beer & Wine, Patent No. 47,347, April 18, 1865.
PATENTS. Patents are the exclusive rights given by the government to an inventor to manufacture, use, and sell an invention for a certain number of years. While many brewers showed little interest in patents, Mathias TSCHIRGI was an exception. In 1865 he received a patent for a reservoir for beer or wines; in 1866 he received another for a beer cooler.

Construction trade patents went to a Mr. Snow of Dubuque for his development of a planing machine. A lath machine was patented by a Mr. Meigs. A mitering machine resulted in a patent being granted to Christian LOETSCHER.

In 1882 William HOPKINS obtained a patent for the IOWA IRON WORKS on a DOCTOR, a device to lessen the possibility of boiler explosions. Andrew Young MCDONALD received a patent for the ever-handy monkey wrench. Among the twenty-five patents granted to Iowans between 1843 and 1873 in the area of dry goods and groceries, A. Y. McDonald received one for inventing a scale.

Stonework, always an important industry around Dubuque, led to a patent being granted to a Mr. Mills for inventing a stone sawing mill.

Leatherwork and metal manufacturing offered opportunities to many inventors. A patent for a hub-boring machine was granted to a Mr. Murphy of Dubuque. In 1865 J. C. PAINE received a patent on a stovepipe drum. Cain and Cain of Dubuque received a patent for inventing a "shank laster." A boot pattern led to a Mr. Augustine of Dubuque being given a patent. William Paggett ALLEN received a patent for his formula for making friction matches.

July 11, 1909. Photo courtesy: Paul Hemmer, Telegraph Herald, and https://www.facebook.com/ykyguidiiyr/
Lighting and heating products led to several patents including one to a Mr. Marsh for a lamp burner. Two were awarded to Mr. H. J. Goff for styles of lamps. Heating patents included those awarded to a Mr. Converse, two granted to a Mr. Henney, and one to a Mr. Yates. In the field of power generation, a patent was granted to J. L. DICKINSON for his steam engine governor. He was also awarded two patents for steam engine valves.

Other fields of manufacturing also benefited from Dubuque inventions. J. L. Harvey and C. A. Mills were granted Patent Number 15,232 on July 1,1856, for their "paperclip" - a product very similar to our modern clip boards.

Mr. R. H. Lyon and G. B. Rand were awarded Patent Number 133,236 on November 19, 1872, for an apparatus on which Masonic or other emblems could be displayed.

Patents in the field of transportation were obtained by a Mr. Maddock for a "carriage hound," a Mr. Williams for his development of head support for use in railway cars, and a Mr. Wormwood for his streetcar fare box. A bullet-casting machine was patented by a Mr. Remington, a dental drill and a dental mallet were patented by a Mr. Poor. John D. METZ received three patents for photographic binders and albums. In 1895 P. C. Murray and J. D. Lawrence patented an automatic car coupler for railroads.

In 1879, L. R. Work was granted a patent for a coloring agent for butter. (1)

For a more complete listing see: Iowa Inventors Database: http://www.statelibraryofiowa.org/cgi-bin/patents/browse/patents.cgi?patentsDir=DESC&patentsOrder=Sorter_city&patentsPage=2327