On Sat, 08 Dec 2007 20:41:19 -0500, Bill Rider
Tom gave you a link for classifications. Here is another one
that I prefer:
Actually it was patented in 1914 under two classifications:
Issue Date: May 19, 1914
Current U.S. Class: 168/1 ; 168/30
Searching pre-1976 patents via the US Patent website isn't
for the faint of heart though. There was something like 367
patents granted for classification 168/30 in the database. I
was just a bit lucky in finding this one. You don't hear
about all my failures in finding these things...
Many times I have noticed that the patent drawings are not
exactly the same as the manufactured device. I suspect that
the "handle" part was changed in the produced item. Either
for better performance/ease of use or simply because it was
easier to make.
I far from being a patent expert, just a curious person that
likes puzzles, probably much like yourself :)
The tiff images have always been a problem. Safari, my usual browser,
opens them too big. If I want to see the whole page at once, it takes
extra steps. Firefox shows me the whole page but often won't open them
For a human's sandal, the little "handle" in the patent drawing looks
reasonable for holding a strap that would pass over the instep. The
"handle" in Rob's photos looks too big and obtrusive for that.
I have another idea. With a motor vehicle, shifting to the right gear
can help you cross mud without spinning and bogging. Perhaps it worked
best for a horse pulling something on a slippery surface to take small
steps. Perhaps these "handles" were intended to accept straps that
could limit the size of the steps. If the strap were too close to the
hoof it might get tangled in the cleats.
Fortunately I enjoy being wrong, which opens a lot more opportunities
than being right.
Use the US Patent site to locate the patent number of
interest. Feed the patent number to Google and let them
display the image as a png which most browsers can render
directly. Here is my Google search string:
Replace the %s in the above string with the patent number of
interest. Like this:
This will give you Googles general patent search page with
number 1096912 results. Usually the first link is what you
will want to persue farther.
I use the Opera web browser and have that set up as a
special search and can just highlight some text, right-click
on it and search via a popup menu.
If you just want one individual patent number use:
Sometimes Google fails and won't cough up a good patent
number. If I really want to see it then I look at the tif
image via US Pat.
Well, I've checked the 168/30s from January 1, 1910 to January 1, 1920.
I've found a third Joseph Herman cleat: 991,778.
I haven't found anything like Rob's photos. I wonder if it was
classified as a training device, to train draft horses to take small
steps. Either that or a toaster. :)
I saw/looked at the earlier patent too. It didn't seem
relevant to this discussion so I didn't mention it.
If I was a betting man (I'm not) I would put my money on the
first patent I listed previously as to the one in Rob's
Notice that the patent uses the same odd looking round knobs
on the front and the cleats underneath are virtually
identical. Both in size and placement.
Note too that the "handle" part that bothers you would
actually be partially underneath the horses hoof.
The patent image/drawing was an earlier version and the one
that Rob took pictures of was a production model. What was
changed cosmetically had nothing to do with what earned
Joseph a patent on this device.
Another thing of interest was that it took over two years
for the patent to be granted. The application date was Jan
29, 1912 and the grant was for May 19, 1914. That was a long
time back then for a simple device. I noticed in doing past
research that many simple items were granted in 6 months or
less. Sometimes a year. I don't know why this one took over
That's my story anyway :)
Notice that the patent has only one lug on top of the plate, to rest
behind the toe of the shoe. Rob's has three, to rest inside the shoe at
It looks more than cosmetic to me. The inventor said the back stay was
malleable iron to be flexible so the three stays would embrace the hoof.
Rob's back stay doesn't look at all flexible.
Rob's system would depend on engaging the shoe with three lugs on the
overshoe. That's not described in the patent.
Here's another one that took more than two years: 2,247,674.
The patent office classifies it as a combination bread slicer and horse
cleat. If Ronald Reagan were alive we could ask him if it wasn't images
of troopers toasting bread over a campfire that enticed him to enlist in
the cavalry. :)
That is a good a reason as any (grin).
In just doing casual research I've notice that the earlier
patents slipped through the system faster. As the years
progressed (closer to today) they take longer. Current back
log is huge. See for current estimates:
I looked at every Google patent with "horse" and "ice". Nothing
resembled it. I searched for "horse" and "mud" and "shoe" and found
some similar cleats but nothing with a handle. I should look more
carefully through the horse overshoes to see if any has a pattern of
three studs on top.
Were there only two? For two legged horses? How about ice-fishing
shacks about 1880? You wouldn't want to blow across the ice when the
wind came up. So you put these under posts at diagonally opposite
corners. You lever up the corner and use the handle to position the
device without taking off your mitt or mashing your hand.
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