Tuesday, April 29, 2014

St. Vincent Inventor: William Thedorf

Drawing submitted for Patent
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My grandparents moved from the homestead to uptown mainstreet of the village, in their later years. They bought a very cute little home with many beautiful appointments - gingerbread woodwork on the steep roof peaks, cream-coloured narrow wood siding, with shingle-like wood siding from the eaves to the peaks, painted in a dark red. It was quite a pretty little house, with its large front sitting room window, including a stained glass pane; very striking with the afternoon sun shining through it. There were gorgeous, wide framing throughout the house around the doors, windows, as well as foot-tall mop boards, all of it stained and varnished, showing off the beautiful wood grain. It was all carved, too, especially the top finials. Each room had hanging brass light fixtures, with the old-style push-button wall switches. The front porch had a storm and screen door, as well as an inner door opening into the parlour, the top half which was plain glass. My grandmother had an old-style oil cloth roller shade there, to provide the option of privacy.

My grandmother told me of neighbors they once had named the Thedorf family - what they did and what they were like - all of which has receded in my mind now, sadly.  But I do remember that their home eventually burned down, well before my time.  Evidently it was also a very beautiful home.  From what I can tell, the oldest homes, including some of the most grand, were built near the river, then eastward.  It was a common way to build out a town in the late 19th and early 20th century in the Red River Valley, despite the fact they always faced flooding sooner or later.

This post is about a discovery I made today, about my grandparents' long-ago uptown neighbor. Unbeknownst to me, the Thedorfs had amongst them an innovative inventor!

PATENTED FEB. 25, 1908.






Specification of Letters Patent.

Patented Feb. 25, 1908.

Application filed May 18, 1907. Serial No. 5374.392.

To all whom it may concern:

Be it known that I, WILLIAM THEDORF, a citizen of the United States, and a resident of St. Vincent, in the county of Kittson and State of Minnesota, have invented a new and improved Folding Umbrella, of which the following is a full, clear, and exact description.

This invention is an improvement in folding umbrellas, and its object is to provide a device of this nature constructed with a telescoping staff, the telescoping members of which are adapted to be positively retained in extended and contracted relations by a sectional nut carried by the inner member, this member also carrying the ribs of the umbrella, each of which is composed of two sections slidably connected together, with a spring catch for connecting the two sections of each rib when the umbrella is outstretched.

Reference is to be had to the accompanying drawings forming a part of this specification, in which similar characters of reference indicate corresponding parts in all the figures.

Figure 1 is a fragmentary view of the umbrella when outstretched; Fig. 2 is a view of the umbrella when folded, partly in central, vertical section; Fig. 3 is a perspective view of one end of one of the rib sections; Fig. 4 is a plan of a blank from which the rib section shown in Fig. 3 is made; Fig.5 is a plan of a blank from which the rib section shown in Fig. .6 is made; Fig. 6 is a perspective view of one end of a rib section which is slidably connected to the rib section shown in Fig. 3; Fig. 7 is a view of a sectional nut and a pin in threaded engagement therewith, which is carried of the spring clip which connects the two halves of the sectional nut together; Fig. 10 is a section on the line -- of Fig. 7 looking in the direction of the arrows; and Fig. 11 is a view of the ferrule end of the staff, partly in central vertical section:

The invention in its preferred embodiment includes-a staff composed of an outer tubular member 1 within-which telescopes an inner tubular member 2, the lower end of the tube secured in any suitable manner to the usual handle 3, and its upper end. is of contracted diameter, as clearly shown in Fig. 2, to closely fit the member 2, the latter being of such diameter as to leave an annular space between it and the bore of the member 1. The lower or inner end of the tubular member 2 has secured therein in any suitable manner a pin or shaft 4 constructed with a, collar 5 which provides it with a shoulder against which the tubular member 2 abuts, the diameter of said collar being such as to snugly fit the bore of the member 1, thereby giving a bearing to the member 2 at two points. The pin 4 is extended beyond the collar 5, where it is of conical form and in threaded engagement with a sectional nut 6, said nut being preferably made in two halves, with a counter bored portion at the lower end, which receives a spring clip shown in detail in F 9, the arms of said clip being each secured to one-half of the nut and serving the double purpose of keeping the sections of the nut in proper relative position and preventing the same from turning with the threaded end of the --- when the handle of the umbrella is revolved to expand the nut in diameter. After the pin and nut have been assembled, the lower indicated at 8, to prevent the complete separation of these parts should the pin be entirely screwed from the nut.

The top extremity of the inner tubular member of the staff is threaded to detachably receive a ferrule shown in detail in Fig. 11, and has fixed adjacent thereto the usual crown or collar 10, between which the ribs are pivotally attached, each rib in the present construction consisting of an inner and an outer section 11 and 12 respectively, which are slidably connected together the outer section fitting within the inner section. Both the sections of each rib are made U-shaped in cross section, the innersection being constructed from a sheet metal blank shown in detail in Fig. 5. The end of this blank which forms that extended end is riveted over, as with of the rib section connecting the outer section, is provided with tabs and projections, said tabs and projections being arranged at the opposite sides of the blank with the projections at the inside of the tabs. At one side of the blank the tab and projection are. of diminished length, the metal being utilized to form an which is attached to extended tongue this tab at one corner only. In shaping the blank to beneath the stop, form the rib. It is bent, U-shaped longitudinally and the tabs and projections are inwardly-turned to bridge the top of the rib, the latter forming, respectively, a keeper and a stop, as shown in Fig. 6. The tongue is folded on top of the keeper and is shaped to provide a spring catch 15, the extreme end of which passes under- The outer section of each rib is constructed from a blank shown in Fig. 4, and is provided at its inner end with tabs, projections, and projections all of which are arranged at both sides of the blank with the tabs located intermediate the projections. In shaping the blank to form the rib, as shown in Fig. 3, as it is bent into U-shape longitudinally the tabs are folded at the outside to provide flanges, the projections being turned upwardly, and spaced apart a slight distance to provide ears and the projections are turned toward each other to bridge, the space in the rib and provide a keeper.

In assembling the sections of the ribs, the outer sections are telescoped Within the inner sections with the flanges of the outer sections embracing the exterior of the inner sections and the keepers of the inner sections engaging the top edges of the outer sections. It is apparent from this construction and arrangement that when the ribs are extended by separating the outer and inner sections, the stop will contact with the keeper as the catch engages with the latter and thus prevent the further relative movement of the sections and lock them securely together.

Between the ears of each of the outer rib sections is pivotally attached a stretcher, the inner end of which is pivoted to a runner slidable upon the umbrella staff, and is provided with a spring pressed catch adapted to engage in opening formed in the members 1 and 2, suitably arranged to retain the umbrella in outstretched and in folded position.

Assuming the umbrella to be folded as shown in Fig. 2, it is extended by grasping the handle with the right hand and the upper end or tubular member of the staff with the left, and separating them until the collar contacts with the contracted portion of the tubular member. By now giving the handle a few turns relatively to the tubular member of the staff in a direction to thread the pin within the sectional nut, the latter is --- and positively clamps the two members of the staff together. The runner is then drawn down, which acts to slide the outer sections of the ribs outwardly and extend the same until the catches automatically engage with the keepers. The umbrella can then be raised in the ordinary manner.

In folding the umbrella after it is lowered the runner is drawn down as far as possible with one hand and the other hand is grasped about the ribs at the joints, the pressure applied operating to disengage the catches from the keepers, now forcing up the runner, the rib sections are telescoped. The length of the staff may be further threaded on the pin within the sectional nut contracted, if desired, by unscrewing the ferrule.

The invention as shown and described, although being the preferred practical embodiment of my improved umbrella, is nevertheless susceptible of numerous modifications falling wit in the scope of the annexed claims.

Having thus described my invention I claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent 1. In a folding umbrella, a staff composed of a" plurality of telescoping tubular members, a nut carried by one of said members comprising a plurality of sections and adapt ed to be expanded to clamp said members together, and a resilient device for holding said sections against rotation relative to the tubular member in which they are located.

In a folding umbrella, a staii composed of an outer tubular member with an inner tubular member telescoped therein, a nut composed of a-plurality of sections slidable within the outer member, a comically-thread: ed device carried b the inner tubular member adapted to be threaded into the sections, of the nut, and a resilient device for forcing said sections of the nut into substantial contact .With the outer tubular member, for the purpose described.

In a folding umbrella, a rib composed of two sections, each section being U-shaped in cross section, and one of said sections being formed with a .keeper and outwardly turned flanges embracing the other section, and the other section being formed with a stop, a keeper for engaging the edges of the first-named section, and a spring catch passing under the stop, adapted to engage with said keeper and lock said sections together when the rib is extended.

----- keeper adapted to engage said catch. when tions telescoped one within the other; one of said sections having a spring catch and provided with an adjacent keeper for engaging the edges of the other section, and the other section having ----- flanges in embrace with the first-named section. and provided with an adjacent keeper adapted to engage with said spring catch when the rib sections are extended.

In a folding umbrella, a rib section substantially U-shaped in cross section having ----- turned outwardly to substantially conform to the outside thereof and spaced therefrom and provided with a keeper bridging the space there across adjacent to sand flanges and a second rib section embraced spring catch an by said flanges and having means to engage with said keeper and lock the rib sections together.

Substantially U-shaped in cross section and having a spring catch arranged .over the open portion thereof and provided with a keeper ridging the space there across over said second rib section having means adapted to be engaged by said catch and lock the rib sections together.

In testimony whereof I have signed my name to this specification in the presence of two subscribing witnesses,





Citing Patent    Filing date    Publication      Applicant             Title
US3003508 * Jul 3, 1957   Oct 10, 1961 Bremshey & Co   Self-closing umbrellas
US5639057 * Jul 21, 1995 Jun 17, 1997  Yeomans; Robert Fishing pole handle support

* Cited by examiner

Another fascinating patent of Thedorf's was for a pick, as in guitar pick. It's been cited several times over the years for others patenting off of his original idea. It's a pretty inventive idea, I think!

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