Warren County Iowa Genealogical Society




    Warren County has been settled by many creative problem-solvers. Many of the inventions and patents were related to farm life. Farm gates can be large and hard to manage. In 1885 Cyrus Walker received a patent for a simple, inexpensive roller gate hinge for a sliding gate. He exhibited this at several fairs. (Indianola Advocate-Tribune Aug 28, 1885.

    Grant Leeper, of Medora, was offered ten thousand dollars for his patent on a corn planter that is automatic and dispenses with the checkrower. (Indianola Advocate-Tribune May 13, 1886)

    The May 5th, 1887 Indianola Herald reported that Mr. Frank Kaufman, a Warren County genius, had received a patent on a machine that could draw 3500 pounds for stretching a picket wire fence.

    In 1894 Nick Hurrle was a blacksmith in Sandyville when he partnered with A.H. Jeffrey for the purpose of manufacturing a new invention, a parrot-billed staple puller. Taking down fences is hard work and with this staple puller a farmer could “readily grasp any staple and draw it from the wood as readily as you can draw a pin out of a cushion.” (Indianola Advocate Tribune, May 3rd, 1894)

    According to the Indianola Tribune, issued December 9th, 1875 Levi Taylor, Indianola’s mechanical genius, built a tiny steam engine that would fit under a small thimble. The engine weighed less than an ounce. According to the article, “…to see the steam, puff, puff, from the tiny little smoke stack is delightful. Levi never tires of steaming up for the scores of admirers…” Its inventor was encouraged to exhibit the engine in the centennial.

    Another invention was the “perambulating cot” patented by A.W. Richards in 1872. Mr. Richards was an invalid because of injuries suffered during the Civil War. The rolling cot he developed made it possible for the occupant to raise himself to any angle and to roll the cot around without help if it was on a smooth surface. Mr. Richards wrote “I know by experience that it is the best and easiest couch that ever an invalid reposed upon.”

    Other inventions include Beymer’s Hot Blast Heating Stove created by Fred L. Beymer (1896), a folding chicken coop by A.W. Reeves (1894), a berry box put together without tacks and easily manipulated designed by Ben Proctor (1900), a device to prevent train wrecks by Professor Sedgwick (1903), a machine that puts butter in a print and weighs it at the same time designed by Charles Halderman (1879), and for the women, a reel type clothes line that runs out from a window developed by the son-in-law of Bennoni Block (1886).

    Juanita Ott, Warren County Historical Society