Thursday, June 14, 2007

The door-fastener

One thing you need to know about my great-grandfather, Fillmore Condit--he was persistent. If he wanted to know how something worked, he would study until he got it right. Never went to college, but he invented a refrigerator door fastener for meat lockers. Got it patented and sold lots of them, traveled to the Midwest (from New Jersey) and up to New England. Got him enough money to switch from being a grocer to a real estate developer. And later worked for Union Oil.

I kept thinking I'd like to see the patent he supposedly obtained, what it looked like. After years of checking every once in a while with the U.S. Patent Office online databases--they never seemed to include Fillmore's year--I discovered today that Google has a patent search. It's very simple. I just put in Fillmore's name and there it was. Easy to download as a pdf. I like to imagine him waiting around, rustling up the lawyers and witnesses, what it must have been like to register this invention. Here's his diagram, take it straight to your local manufacturer.

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