Friday, December 14, 2012

Tool History; William Bernard

William Bernard was an innovative tool maker and inventor. Mr. Bernard was born in 1848 in Lynchburg, Virginia. After working as a machinist making tools in several east coast areas, he settled in New Haven, Connecticut in 1890 where he would work with, and later purchase his share of the William Schollhorn Manufacturing Company, which was initially founded 1870. Mr. Bernard would go on to career which included more than 100 patented inventions to his credit. At some point, William Schollhorn Company was purchased by Sargent Manufacturing Company, making the Schollhorn Company the hand tool division of Sargent. Rostra Tool purchased the hand tool division of Sargent, and is still the owner today. Rostra proudly acknowledges it's history on their website. Outside of his work, William Bernard was a member of the Episcopal and politically independent.

Mr. William Bernard's most significant innovation is the Bernard Parallel Action Pliers, patent #427220 submitted on May 6, 1890. This parallel action plier was not only a significant invention in itself but would also be the base from which Mr. Bernard would add on many other patents as well. On the plier above, there are 3 additional patent dates. Patent #479113 submitted July 19, 1892 is for the cutter on the side, and patents 848877 (April 2, 1907) and 1064956 (June 17, 1913) are concerning the technology used to make the handles. Perhaps what amazes me the most is that the main design, patented over 120 years ago is still being manufactured today.

William Schollhorn Company History
Sargent Tools (Rostra) still manufactures these pliers to this day
patent #427220
Patent #479113
Patent #848877
Patent #1064956
Bernard, William A. Dec. 13, 2013

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Aviation History; Katherine Stinson

December 11, 1917 aviator Katherine Stinson (1891-1977) made the first nonstop flight from San Diego to San Francisco, CA. At that time the flight, 606 miles, set a new record for distance of a nonstop flight.

In July of 1912 Katherine Stinson became just the forth woman to earn her pilot's license. As a woman, finding an instructor willing to accept her as a student proved a difficult task. She finally convinced  Max Lillie, who was at first hesitant, to accept her as a student.

After completing her certificate, the Stinson family moved to San Antonio, Texas where they opened up an aviation school (the school would close in 1917 when Katherine traveled to Europe with the Red Cross). Katherine, along with sister Marjorie, gave flight instruction at the family school when she was not flying at exhibitions. To this day in San Antonio the family is honored with the Stinson Municipal Airport, and Katherine is honored with Katherine Stinson Middle School.

Katherine Stinson's flying career ended while she serving in Europe as an ambulance driver for the Red Cross towards the end of World War 1. During that time she got sick with tuberculosis. While she would recover, she never did fly again from that point on. Before she was serving with the Red Cross in Europe she was supporting the Red Cross by flying in fundraising tours to benefit the Red Cross during the war.

In addition to her feat mentioned at the top, she was also the first woman to perform a loop, and the first woman authorized as a mail carrier. Eddie Stinson, inspired by his sister, founded the Stinson Aircraft Company in 1920.

A collection of bios of Katherine (and Marjorie) Stinson