Saturday, July 30, 2016

UN International Day of Friendship

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Today is UN International Day of Friendship, the idea that friendship can “inspire peace and build trust” among individuals and nations, with a particular emphasis on friendship among children and youth. 

The International day of Friendship was proclaimed on May 3, 2011, ratified in UN Resolution A/RES/65/275, itself part of a larger UN platform promoting a culture of peace and non-violence for Children worldwide, initiated in 1998.

Beyond the larger and more encompassing platform goals of peace through education, sustainable and economic development, respect for all human rights, equality between women and men, democratic participation, advancement of solidarity, support for communication and free flow of information and knowledge, and the promotion of international security, the International Day of Friendship celebrates friendship as "a noble and valuable sentiment in the lives of human beings around the world".

Happy Friendship Day!

International Day of Friendship -  30 July
International day of Friendship - Background
UN News

Friday, July 29, 2016

Oh, patents! Pataugas

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Pataugas, meaning “pâte-au gaz” [gas rubber paste], is a French shoe brand that has endured since the mid 20th century. The brand name Pataugas was created based on the story of the company founder, René Jean Benjamin Elissabide who, in collaboration with a local rubber specialist at the Giraudier shoe manufacturing company, designed a method of covering the soles of hiking shoes with rubber that was melted on a gas burning stove to make the shoes impervious to water!

Since then, and after a long and winding hike manufacturing for the army and every type of outdoorsman, the brand shines in partnerships with luxury designers (for example J.P. Gaultier) and an ever-changing hip collection of shoes for women, men and children.  

Among many different shoe designs, the collection, to date, includes the softest leather, high and low top sneakers and boots, the soles and toe caps of which still appear dipped in rubber.  And, because rubber soles are super-resistant, the brand still prides itself in making virtually indestructible shoes… which means that you might really need only just one pair of Pataugas!...

The original 1950 “dipped in rubber” Pataugas soles were patented by René Jean Benjamin Elissabide, who was both prolific inventor and serial entrepreneur.  The French Patent FR1086185 titled Procécédé de fabrication d’un brodequin étanche relates to the original and famous water-resistant hiking boot called a brodequin. This manufacturing process includes other patented components such as the vulcanisation process, which transforms rubber into a much more resistant polymer using sulfur.

To the  right, the three figure drawings extracted from the original 1950 French patent FR1086185 titled Procécéde de fabrication d’un brodequin étanche showing how the upper's lower edges are sandwiched between two layers of rubber sole in view of providing the requisite water-proofing. More recent models from the Pataugas - JP Gaultier collection are included above.
Just one more story about these famous, and now luxury, French rubber-soled shoes... René Jean Benjamin Elissabide operated in the Soule region of the Basque country (on the French side of the Pyrénées mountains) during the mid-twentieth century -- a region also known as the birthplace of the even more famous “espadrilles”, the rope-soled summer shoes that never go out of style...! 👠

Oh, patents! Espadrilles @ Patents on the soles of your shoes

Thursday, July 28, 2016

World Hepatitis Day

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Today is world Hepatitis Day!

The World Hepatitis Day Organization, in coordination with the World Health Organization, requests “No Hep by 2030” as the next greatest achievement of the world!

Despite the discovery of vaccines and highly effective cures, an estimated 10 million people are infected worldwide, 95% of whom do not know they are infected, and only 1%  actually have access to treatment. As a result, an estimated 1.4 million infected people die each year of viral hepatitis. Thus, the World Health Organization theme for World Hepatitis Day 2016 implores: “Know hepatitis, Act Now!

WHO – World Health organization – Hepatitis Day 2016
World Hepatitis Day Org

Monday, July 25, 2016

Oh, patents! Naïo Technologies

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Aloha!* It's time for farmers to Rumba! The French startup Naïo Technologies is designing agricultural robots!

Do you have any idea how hard it is to till soil…? High tide for automating the year-in, year-out, back-breaking tasks of weeding, plowing, hoeing, sowing, mowing, spraying and clipping.

The prior art of agricultural machinery is significant. All sorts of tractor or rototiller machines assist farmers in toiling the land; machines equipped to sow, to hoe, to weed, to harvest and to apply pesticides. But all of this machinery requires a user/driver, and the machines are often too big to navigate narrow rows of fruit and vegetable crops. Besides, this heavy machinery is also well-known and criticized for its large fossil fuel footprint, with designs supporting extensive use of pesticides and herbicides, in turn also contributing to greenhouse gas effects.  

In comes the Naïo Technologies automated autonomous agricultural device… an agricultural robot (and farming companion) which no longer requires a driver, and is small enough to navigate narrow rows of crops, in particular fruits and vegetables. The Naïo agricultural robot is also optimized to perform non-randomly in a field of obstacle geometry with a delimited perimeter. 

The Naïo robot is equipped with an on-board computer allowing it to navigate obstacle geometries consisting of the plants, and to use (for ex,. to lift or to lower) its various weeding and hoeing tools. Its payload includes a camera and means to process images captured of crops or surroundings, a data collection module both to analyze soil, crop and other relevant geospatial and environmental variables, and to keep track of tasks, and it also has extensions allowing for harvesting, weighing and unloading products. 

At the end of day, or of a particular set of tasks....when the Naïo robot runs out of power, it is also equipped with means to return to it’s charging unit and to dock – all of which is viewable and controllable via mobile device such as a phone or tablet!

Reminiscent of the highly adaptable Naïo plant native of Hawaï, the design of Naïo robots can be customized to sow (informed with geo-local information), weed, hoe and harvest according to various crops, or to maintain a whole vineyard. The Naïo robots might also be programmed to function as “scarecrows” with various sounds, lights and smells designed to protect seeds prior to germination against pests and insects. They might be programmed as irrigation devices, dispensing, monitoring or carrying water. They might work in collaboration with several other robots each programmed with a specific task. Thus, the Naïo robots are not only designed to make farming easier and less strenuous but also to mindfully produce healthier and more environmentally friendly crops, decreasing the need for herbicides and pesticides, measuring with precision the geo-local needs of the crops, and consequently also reducing the carbon footprint of agriculture.

The Naïo Technologies robotics and various embodiments of the invention are disclosed in FR3001202, titled; in English; Autonomous automated agricultural device.   The English abstract is included below with a figure drawing showing the sorts of crop geometries that the robot is able to navigate – non-randomly.
The present invention concerns an autonomous automated agricultural device (1) comprising at least energy supply means (13) and movement means (12), as well as comprising movement optimisation means (21, 20, 211, 212) enabling it to use the geometry of the crops in which it is disposed in order to move in a non-random manner. The present invention also concerns the use of a device according to the invention for cultivating agricultural plots and gathering data. The present invention also concerns a method for assisting in the cultivation of agricultural plots, using the device of the invention to carry out at least one maintenance operation on an agricultural plot.

Naïo Technologies

* "Naïo" is a small native plant of  Hawaii able to adapt to its environment.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

In the footsteps of giants...

Copyright @ Françoise Herrmann

..your blogger, taking pix at The (Gansevoort St.) Whitney Museum in NYC,  during the Summer of 2016 ....👠

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Oh, patents! The biro

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Have you ever used a biro? Chances are that you have!  And that you have also biroed your way through more than one letter or form!

The biro is a ball point pen, nowadays, especially in England! And, In France, it’s a bic!

Although the British English and French eponyms both have different eponymous origins, a single patent, granted to Laszlo Jozsef Biro in 1941, and then assigned to Marcel Bich, an Italian /French entrepreneur, lays claim to the invention of the ball point pen and matching pasty ink.  

So, what happened?...

 Laszlo Joszef Biro was a Hungarian Jew who fled to Buenos Aires (Argentina) at the onset of World War II. In 1938 he filed a single US patent application from Hungary titled Fountain pen for pulpy ink, granted as US2265055 in 1941. This patent was also divided, and filed from Buenos Aires as two separate US patent applications, granted as US2258841 titled Fountain Pen in 1941, and as US2416145 titled Writing paste, in 1947

These three US patents, in fact, cover the many details of two important, mega-inventions: a new rotating ball point pen design, and a new, high humidity, high viscosity, ink paste formula. Both of these inventions probably appeared inseparable since they were originally filed as a single patent application, granted as US2265055. However, they were eventually unpacked into separate patents.

Indeed, the new ink paste formula and the new design of the rotating ball point each respond separately albeit cooperatively, to the single problematic situation of dry, caked and inoperable ball point tips of the prior art. That is, the prior art of ink paste resulted in a product that tended to dry too fast, while the prior art of ball point pen designs allowed for the ink to accumulate on the surface of the ball and in the gaps between the ball and its contact circles in the ball housing.  As a result, the ink caked in the housing and around the roller ball, where it dried, in turn resulting in an inoperable pen.

Thus, Biro's inventions (in coordination with his brother who was a chemist) respond to the problematic situation by changing both the ink formula and the design of the ball housing. The ink formula was changed to higher humidity and viscosity, and the design of the ball housing was changed by reducing to a minimum the gap between the two contact circles of the ball within the housing. Thus, in the new Biro design, only a very fine coat of ink could be dispensed onto the ball prior to contacting the writing surface, preventing the prior art accumulation and consequent caking of the rotatable ball.

US2258841 further discloses an ink paste reservoir or cartridge, "obtainable separately" as an accessory, and designed to replace a used cartridge or reservoir; novel and more optimum means of expelling the ink paste to the roller ball; a leaf spring within the housing of the ball designed to “urge the ball” in contact with the curled edges of the housing, or to prevent the prior art looseness of the ball, and consequent accumulation, drying and caking of the ink

As for the French Bic®... it could have been a paper clip... but it would become a very cheap, single-use and disposable, fountain pen, still in use to date, initially using the biro ball-point pen design and ink paste. 

Thus, L. J. Biro escaped... and the family name endures, fully eponymized, at least in the ball-point pens of the UK, and by design in all the pulpy ink, ball-point pens of the world! 


Below, figure drawings No. 6 and 7, of the unpacked US2258841 Biro fountain pen patent, are included, with an added and layered key to facilitate comprehension and translation. 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Oh, patents! Fountain-pen clip

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

The visible part of the pen in your shirt pocket is surely the clip, which bears the brand, logo, or mark of the pen manufacturer. However, the fountain pen clip did not always serve this advertising purpose...

According to William Edgar Moore, the turn of the 19th century inventor of the pen clip, and twice Assignor to the Parker Pen Company: “the detachable caps on fountain pens frequently split and break at the open end thereof in being forced onto the body of the pen” [L9-12]. This is the reason, he further explains, why pen caps are designed with a reinforcement ring at the open end, permanently attached to the cap material.

Thus, In consideration of the problematic situation of cracked fountain pen caps, and the larger issue of leak-proofing fountain pens,  US1204053 discloses, in 1916, a Clip for fountain-pens that doubles as reinforcement for the pen cap, while offering a design for both securing the clip to the pen, and the pen to a pocket. In turn, the clip means of securing the pen to a pocket -- in an upright position that also prevents the pen from falling to the ground -- , at least indirectly promises to reduce the risk of “escaping ink”.

W. E. Moore’s clip for fountain pens comprises two bands for attaching the clip to the fountain pen. One band, at the bottom, completely encircles the pen cap. The other, at the top, clamps partially around the pen cap. And both bands are connected to a spine. Thus, the clip provides brace-like support and protection for pen caps.

The return bent, and resilient clip component ends with a small round ball, designed to secure the pen in a pocket. The patent further specifies that the shape of the clip is unimportant. 

Thus, even if originally, the pen clip was essentially designed to reinforce pen caps, and indirectly to reduce leakage, it has endured, further acquiring prime branding status as the only visible component of a pen in a shirt pocket.

W.E. Moore’s clip for fountain pens was further specified -- sold and manufactured separately from fountain pens.

Below, the figure drawings extracted from US1204053, where I have added and layered a key for ease of comprehension and translation.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Oh, patents! Wirt’s Fountain-pen (cap)

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Ah, the endless flow of a fountain of ink...! 
Oh, what a mess...!

To date leak-proofing fountain pens remains an issue, especially in pressurized plane cabins (see for example the post on LouisVuitton’s 2015 fountain pen patent).

In 1894, “escaping ink” appeared as no less of an “annoyance”.  Wirt’s fountain pen cap was designed precisely to “overcome this objectionable action of the pen” [L 20-22, p.1]! Thus, the invention disclosed in US526428, titled Fountain-pen, and granted on Sept. 25, 1894, precisely addresses this leak-proofing issue with the design a special cap.  

The cap disclosed in US526428 includes a longitudinal and recessed component within, designed to receive the pen point and to abut against the nozzle, in view of forming a joint to prevent ink from escaping, when the pen was not in use, or when it was positioned horizontally inside a pocket.  

It is further specified that the longitudinal recessed component inside the cap could be made of flexible or hard rubber, the main purpose being to seal the nozzle when the pen was not in use.

Below, the figure drawings extracted from US526428, including a key, appended and layered onto the sheet for easier comprehension and translation. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Oh, patents! Fessenden’s fountain marking pen

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Not all fountain pens were designed as fine writing instruments at the end of the 19th century! For example, Fessenden’s fountain marking pen, was designed with a single ball bearing sphere cooperating with a felt disk for fine marking or "addressing of  boxes, bales or packages of merchandise for shipment or the like”.

Fessenden’s invention, disclosed in US555763, in 1896, consists in providing a marking pen with a reservoir of marking fluid also functioning as the handle of the marking pen (in contrast to a dipping well). The invention further consists of a marking sphere with a single ball bearing, designed to ensure a continuous and uniform line, independently from  the pressure exerted on the pen, and thus to provide clearer markings on a package, box, or bale for shipment.

Finally, and most importantly, a felt disk, inserted inside the semi-spherical encasement of the ball bearing marking sphere, in contact with the periphery of the marking sphere, cooperates both to deliver the marking fluid in a uniform manner to the surface of the sphere, and to wipe it clean of any accumulations of dirt, grit or dust, picked up on the surface of a package, bale or box. The patent further discloses that the felt disk, receiving marking fluid through the contracted neck and nipple of the reservoir, dispenses with expensive fountain pen valves, regulating the flow of ink, while ensuring high efficiency and durability.

Thus, once the marking pen was filled with marking fluid through the top of the pen, the fluid flowed through the contracted and perfectly angled neck of the reservoir, soaking the felt located inside the semi-spherical hood encasing the sphere, in turn evenly distributing marking fluid on the marking sphere, and by the same token wiping the sphere clean of any debris picked up from the surface. 

Interestingly, and with much hindsight, the scope of the invention, as envisioned in 1868, clearly extends the functions of the disclosed fountain marking pen, well beyond packaging (L 43-51, page 2). Perhaps then, that here lies the felt of "felt-tip markers", even if the spherical writing ball has migrated to "stylographs", and the felt now cooperates elsewhere.👠
Below the extracted figure drawing of the fountain marking pen disclosed in US555763, where I have again added and layered a key for ease of comprehension and translation. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Oh, patents! Alonzo T. Cross fountain pen

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

If quills required the writer to dip for ink, then the fountain or reservoir pen inventions promised a portable and continuous source of ink. However, before delivering on this promise many details were patented ranging from optimizing the ink flow and protection of the nib, to leak-proofing and methods of storing or adding ink within the pen.

In US209959, titled Improvement in fountain pens and granted on Nov. 18 1878, Alonzo T. Cross, primarily addresses the issue of ink flow, and incidentally the adjustability of the invention to various pens, as well as a certain degree of leak-proofing.

The invention discloses an air-tube with a small hole on its side and a friction joint enabling to adjust the amounts of air admitted into the ink chamber to regulate the flow of ink to the nib using gravity. The reservoir also cooperates with a delivery tube which may be further adjusted (extended or retracted) according to the size (and height of the nib). Finally, the air-tube is also equipped, at its lower end, with a small plug and pin enabling to wick any accidentally incoming drops of ink, using capillary action, when the air pressure system is set in motion from the top of the pen using the vent cap and the pen is prepared for use. 

Again, for ease of comprehension and translation, and in the manner of the Alonzo T. Cross handwritten patents (e.g.; CA10682, CA17448) I have keyed the components of the invention and layered the key onto the patent figure drawing, both of which are appended below. 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Oh, patents! A. T. Cross crayon holders

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

In US 296539 A.T. Cross discloses one of his crayon (or lead) holder inventions, and by the same token, some important steps in the birth of what are now called mechanical pencils.

The problematic situation addressed in the Cross lead or crayon holder patents concerns the mechanically-driven ejection of unused crayon (or lead) stubs. In other words, once most of the lead has been used and screwed down through the tube bore, and there is just a stub left, located inside or flush with the outer edge of the crayon tube, how do you remove it from the plunger jaws of the lead carrier, without having to reverse, steps, retracting (or screwing) the stub back up to the top, and removing it manually through the top of the pencil?

The mechanically-driven solution that Cross provided is a spring soldered to a forcer (called a “plunger” elsewhere, and corresponding to that part of the lead carrier which pushes the lead as it is being gradually used and screwed down through the pencil barrel). 

The spring is soldered to the bottom of the forcer to prevent it from "escaping", and it is actuated by a clever pin, slot and spur design, triggered as the user screws the lead down --just that one notch further.  

The spring forcer pin further includes a cam function that forces the lead holder jaws to open laterally, thereby immediately releasing the lead stub, which the spring in turn also propels further down the barrel, so that it may be removed through the lower part of the pencil holder.  

Thus, it is only for re-inserting a new lead, that the movement of the screw will have to be reversed so as to bring the lead carrier back up to the top of crayon holder. 

Below, the figure drawings 1-6, extracted from US296539, are included.

For comprehension and translation purposes, you will definitely want to initially key the illustrations --just as A.T. Cross does in his handwritten Canadian patents (e.g. CA10451, CA10682, CA17448, although not for the same reasons... 

It is otherwise helpful to know, per the patent specifications,  that all the lettering is consistent from one illustration to another. I have included such a key for the US296539 illustrations (1-6), which was directly layered onto to the extracted illustrations.  

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Oh, patents! More Alonzo T. Cross patents

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Just three more Alonzo T. Cross patents: an early (1879) handwritten fountain patent filed and granted in Canada (CA10451); a stylographic fountain pen patent filed and granted in Great Britain in 1896, including the 1897 amended specification (GB189614093) ; and a fountain pen filling device filed and granted in the US, at a much later date in 1920 (US1348211).  

Hyperlinks are provided to the original patent documents on file at the USPTO (United States Patent & Trademark Office) and the EPO (European Patent Office).  

CA10451 (A) ― 1879-09-12 – improvements on fountain pens /Perfectionnements aux plumes fontaines [Handwritten document]

GB189614093 (A) ― 1896-08-01 - Improvements in Stylographic Fountain Pens.

US1348211 (A) ― 1920-08-03 - Fountain-pen-filling device