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Thursday, July 11, 2013

An inventor, with a patent, in the family

A scene from the Lawrence Collection Irish Life series. 
Date: Circa 1897 from wikimedia commons
Periodically my genealogy ADD kicks in and I start following the odd rabbit trail.  In the past few days it has been the trail of Noah G. Hayden and his patent.  Yes, I said patent.  How cool is that? An inventor in the family.

During a search under his name on Google Books I discovered several publications with a reference to this patent.  On 12 April 1833 Noah G. Hayden from Harrodsburg, Kentucky was issued a patent for a machine that thrashed both hemp and flax.  If you go back to my last post concerning his mother, Elizabeth Gilpin Hayden, you will read that she grew both of these on their farm in Mercer County. Perhaps he was trying to cut down on the labor intensive work on the farm.

Under the Directory of American Tool and Machinery Patents (DATAMP) website I found it was registered as number 7,527X.  This information was gathered by volunteers from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) online database.  Unfortunately there was not a lot of information or an image of the machine.  A footnote on the bottom of the page states:
Most of the patents prior to 1836 were lost in the Dec. 1836 fire. Only about 2,000 of the almost 10,000 documents were recovered. Little is known about this patent. There are no patent drawings available. This patent is in the database for reference only.
Upon further investigation I found a full description in the 1833 issue of the Journal of the Franklin Institute.  I can just image what it would have looked like!



  1. Pretty cool!

    (My mother worked for years for the USPTO -- if I knew you were hunting around in their records she might have been able to give you a few pointers).

    1. Yeah, well, it was a spur of the moment type of thing. I found this link, clicked on it, and then just kept clicking. If you mention it to her and she thinks of anything else let me know. :) We have another mutual friend looking for patents BTW.

  2. Cool! It's amazing that you could find two references to this threshing machine, even though so much was lost in the 1836 fire. I'm not good with machines, so I liked the phrase, "in some undescribed way." It's amazing to have an inventor in the family.