Monday, January 5, 2009

Rail Patents 1850-1870

Here’s the first installment in 19th century rail industry patents by local inventors. This set is from 1850 - 1870, so folks were listed as residing in Bath-on-the-Hudson, East Albany, and Greenbush, rather than Rensselaer, NY.

Thomas W. Allen and Charles W. Noyes, of Greenbush, New York:
STUFFING-BOX; Letters Patent No 5,357, November 6, 1847; Reissued January 10, 1854, No. 254. Witnesses: Rich. Varick De Witt, Richard Gansevoort
IMPROVEMENT IN MACHINERY FOR MAKING IRON WHEELS; Letters Patent No. 6,254, April 3, 1849. Witnesses: H. Q. Lansing, Gilbert L. Wilson
[Possibly Thomas W. Allen, Esq., at the ‘Greenbush shop of the Western Road’.] [Possibly Charles Whiting Noyes, census at Greenbush, Rensselaer: 1850, Age 40, Fireman; 1870, Age 60, Machinist]

J. C. Vaughn, Of Greenbush, and J. F. Winslow, of Troy, New York.
MACHINERY FOR WELDING IRON PIPES; Letters Patent No. 5,695, August 1, 1848. Witnesses: Archibald Bull, Geo. Day
[possibly John Flack Winslow, co-owner with Erastus Corning of the Rensselaer Iron Works and the Albany Iron Works, and fifth president of RPI.]

Maria Vaughn, Administratrix of Joseph C. Vaughn, Deceased, of Greenbush, New York, Assignor to James C. Bell and Robert Chrystie, Jr.
MACHINERY FOR MAKING WROUGHT-IRON CAR- WHEELS; Letters Patent No. 8,173, June 24, 1851. Witnesses: H. Goodrich, James Deerstyne
MACHINE FOR MAKING WHEEL-TIRES; Letters Patent No. 8,395, September 30, 1851. Witnesses: C. V. Witbeck, John E. Van Alen
[possibly Robert Christie Jr., an 1856 director of the Belleview and Illinoistown Railroad]

James E. Hallett, of Greenbush, New York, Assignor to Edward H. Jones and Charles W. Noyes, of Same Place.
IMPROVEMENT IN OSCILLATING PUMPS; Letters Patent No. 53,373, March 20, 1866. Witnesses: I. W. Latcher, Alfred Harley

Thomas B. Purves, of Greenbush, New York.
IMPROVED RAILROAD-SWITCH; Letters Patent No. 54,770, May 15, 1866. Witnesses: Richd. Varick De Witt, A. V. De Witt.
[Possibly T. B. Purves, American Railway Master Mechanics’ Association, Western Division of Boston & Albany; or “… T.B. Purves, Sr. for many years Foreman and Master Mechanic on the B. & A. R. R., ”]

Joseph Anthony, of Greenbush, New York
IMPROVEMENT IN RAILROADS; Letters Patent No. 38,274, April 28, 1863. Witnesses: Richd. Varick De Witt, E. J. Miller
67,626, August 13, 1867. Witnesses: Rich. Varick De Witt, D. W. De Witt.
IMPROVED CAR-AXLE; Patent No. 72,584, December 24, 1867. Witnesses: Rich. Varick De Witt, D. W. De Witt.
[possibly Joseph Anthony, “Forms of railroad car-axles”, 1868]
Richard Varick De Witt Sr., involved in the Ithaca and Oswego Railroad, or his son, Richard Varick DeWitt, identified with the insurance business of Albany]

If anyone can add to the common knowledge about any of these inventors, please e-mail me at Where did they work? What did they do there? Why did they file a patent and what did they do with it? I’ll compile the results for the city historian.