Friday, December 29, 2017

Celebrating the soles of heroes with Jo Farrell

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

At the end of 2017, after a year of highlighting more women inventors than ever before, and especially Millenial (Generation Z) women inventors, Patents on the soles of your shoes would like to join British photographer, Jo Farrell, in Celebraring the soles of heroes.

In this photography project, Farrell interviewed, befriended and photographed, forty (almost extinct) Chinese women with bound feet, during the course of several summers, in China.

Farrell’s photography is truly extraordinary in that it transports the viewer to a place of love and celebration. The viewer discovers these women, far from the horrors of the foot binding practices that martyed many generations of little Chinese girls, at the hands of their mothers, caught in a web of oppression and perverted sexuality; and still farther from the subsequent blame and shame that these women further endured during the Cultural Revolution, when the practices of foot binding were outlawed, on still more insensitive grounds. Indeed, foot binding was outlawed because the women with 3-inch Lotus feet were crippled, which prevented them from participating in the labor force.  

Patents on the soles of your shoes embraces the silent beauty of the black and white photographs, and the dignity of the women’s serenity, only to renew a commitment. A firm commitment to continue searching, and finding, the patented inventions that now cushion and cradle the soles of little girls’ feet, their mothers’ and fathers’ too, so they may climb comfortably, indeed, leap to the summit of every mountain.

Jo Farrell’s photography, in Farrell’s own words:
"It’s not easy to sell photos of women with bound feet; it’s honestly not something people want on their walls. However, it’s impossible for me not to go back. It’s like having a whole series of grandmothers; I need to know the rest of their stories. My hope is that these photographs will find their place in a prominent museum or gallery and be published in a major book.”
(1) For more information, and referencs, on the practices of foot binding, and Lotus shoes, at Patents on the Soles of your Shoes, please visit the following posts 2015 (1), 2015 (2), 2016.
(2) All the black & white photographs posted above: Copyright © Jo Farrell 

Living history Project
Jo Farrell – My life
Kilpatrick, Nick (2014) Photos: The last living women with bound feet, in The Washington Post
Herrmann, F. (2015 -1) Patent torture - Lotus shoes
Herrmann, F. (2015-2) Further Feminist reading on footbinding
Herrmann, F. (2016) Exhibit: The history of shoes

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Oh, patents! Van Cleef & Arpels' Alhambra®

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann
Alhambra - Trefoil Arch

Van Cleef & Arpels’ Alhambra® collection of jewelry, launched in 1968, was inspired by the trefoil (clover) arch details of Spain’s famous Alhambra palace and fortress. 

Spain’s Alhambra, located in Granada, Andalusia, is a monumental UNESCO-designated World Heritage site, remodeled and successively transformed through the ages, since 899 AD.  

The Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra® clover design is patented in several US design patents. As a reminder, a utility patent protects the way an article is used and works (35 U.S.C. 101), while a design patent protects the way an article looks (35 U.S.C. 171).

The following list includes some of the Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra® US design patents, together with a patent drawing and marketed embodiment of the design.

Embodied design images Copyright © Van Cleef & Arpels. 

Van Cleef & Arpels – The Alhambra® Collection
Making the Alhambra® collection
UNESCO - World Heritage Site
UNESCO - World Heritage List of sites

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Oh, patents! Van Cleef & Arpels - Heures Filantes

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

In addition to the mechanical inventions, invoked in the Van Cleef & Arpels Poetic Complications® watches, patented with US utility patents, the series also includes ornamental inventions for which US design patents were granted.

The Heures Filantes (Fleeting Time) Lady Arpels watch, for example, has three associated US design patents (USD): 

Below, three hyperlinked patent drawings, one from each of the three US design patents associated with the Heures Filantes Poetic Complications® watch, are included, with an image of the embodied and marketed product.



Poetic Complicationss®
Heures Filantes  Lady Arpels watch 

As a reminder a US design patent is different from a US utility patent in that: 
a “utility patent” protects the way an article is used and works (35 U.S.C. 101), while a "design patent" protects the way an article looks (35 U.S.C. 171)” (USPTO). 

Van Cleef & Arpels - The story of Poetic Complications®
Herrmann, F. (2017) Van Cleef & Arpels - Poetic complications®
USPTO - MPEP - Manual of Patent Examination Procedures

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Oh, patents! Van Cleef & Arpels – Poetic Complications®

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

In 2006, the Van Cleef & Arpels' 100-year commemoration included the introduction of a new collection of incomparably designed watches, called Poetic Complications®.

The term complication in watch- and clockmaking refers to any added design feature, beyond just hours and minutes.  Thus, for example, the design of seconds and the date, or of alarms and automatic rewind, are each considered additional complications in a given timepiece. These added functions require more parts and labor, both to design and integrate with the more basic hour and minute functions. They add layers of complexity to the timepiece.

Thus, the Van Cleef & Arpels Poetic Complications® timepieces not only tell time, they have animated dials that tell enchanting stories of time, inspired by fairies and ballerinas, nature, astronomy, and love. The added animations, in combination with the art of high-end jewelry-making, create hugely more complicated timepieces, requiring thousands of hours to produce, and the collaboration of many different master craftspersons, as you can see in the included video, for just one of the Poetic Complications® timepieces.

The complications in this Poetic Complications® collection of timepieces are each patented inventions. The following European patents disclose a few of the complication inventions invoked in the Poetic Complications® collection of Van Cleef & Arpels watches.
  • EP3242166 (A1) ― 2017-11-08 - Mechanism for triggering an animation
  • EP3239786 (A1) ― 2017-11-01 - Mechanism for driving an animation of a clock movement
  • EP3232275 (A1) ― 2017-10-18 - Winding mechanism for a timepiece comprising at least two barrels, and timepiece comprising such a mechanism
  • EP3032356 (A2) ― 2016-06-15 - Musical watch
  • EP2993533 (A1) ― 2016-03-09 - Timepiece
The video below shows one of the Poetic Complications® watches, inspired by the spirit of nature, with its intricate and fluttering, butterfly-driven dial. 

Van Cleef & Arpels - Poetic Complications®
Van Cleef & Arpels - The Story of Poetic Complications®
Van Cleef & Arpels - The Poetry of Time®

Friday, December 22, 2017

Oh, patents! Van Cleef & Arpels - The Galileo Mystery Clock

Copyright © Francoise Herrmann

Whether it was a fascination with illusions and magic, or because the mechanical aspects of a clock were perceived as aesthetically incompatible with the artistic beauty of jewelry, many watches and clocks of the early 20th century concealed all of the gears and cogwheels of the designs. Indeed, it was even perceived unsightly for women to wear timepieces, and so Van Cleef & Arpels began creating women’s watches where not only the gears, but also the dials, were completely hidden, albeit accessible, within mesmerizing bracelets and necklaces.

Galileo Clock 1998
In any event, the technical craftsmanship involved in concealing the driving mechanisms of timepieces, in pedestals for example, or in creating the illusion of magical mechanics, produced timepieces that became known as “mystery clocks”, in the 1920s.

Scrolling forward in time, as part of the 100-year celebration of Van Cleef & Arpels, the company revisited the mystery clock with the creation of the Galileo Clock. This mystery clock features a bear concealing all the gears, but the bear is no longer an ornamental part of the pedestal, connected the dial frame, which it drives. The bear also also orbits around a frame, together with the dial, and sparkles with diamonds. Thus, there are two concealed and nested mechanisms, one in the surrounding frame, driving the bear, and one inside the bear, driving the dial frame, and the two hands of the clock, 

This double mystery clock invention was disclosed in the US utility patent US5878003, titled Mystery Clock, and filed i1996.

The abstract of this patent is included below with two of the figure drawings, respectively showing the bear and dial within the driving frame (Fig. 1), and the gears within the bear (Fig. 3) driving the dial and the clock hands. An image of the embodiment of this invention, marketed as the Van Cleef & Arpels 1998 Galileo Clock, is also included above.

A clock, called a "mystery" clock because of its almost totally transparent nature, comprising a transparent dial bearing reference markers (11), a minute indicator, transparent except in the area of a reading pointer (28') and an hour indicator, also transparent except in the area of a reading pointer (26'), indicators and dial having a common geometric axis (Y) and being carried by a frame or surround (20) and at least part of these indicators and dial having teeth at their periphery, masked by the surround (20), for driving them in rotation, in relation to the surround (20), about said axis (Y). [Abstract US5878003]

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Terminology : WOTTIES 2017 (2)

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

And the 2017 winner is… youthquake, according to the Oxford Living Dictionaries (OED).

The OED defines the term youthquake as: 
 ”a significant cultural, political, or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people”. 
Usage spiked in June 2017, following the UK general election, when youth (the Millenials) turnout, in contrast to class, appeared as the most decisive force behind the labor party’s surge in the poll results. The term youthquake then spread across the globe, referring to major political clout, in such political action as the anti-corruption movement in Russia, and Australia’s call for marriage equality.

However, youthquakes have occurred in the past. The OED tracked the term youthquake back to 1965, in the US, when the Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Magazine, Diane Vreeland, used it to qualify a year of sweeping changes centered around protest against the Vietnam war. She wrote: 
The year’s in its youth, the youth in its year. Under 24 and over 90,000,000 strong in the US alone.  More dreamers. More doers. Here. Now. Youthquake 1965.
The shortlist of potential OED WOTTIES* 2017 is also interesting. Consider fingering the following examples:  
  • Antifa: defined by the OED as [noun; treated as singular or plural] a political protest movement comprising autonomous groups affiliated by their militant opposition to fascism and other forms of extreme right-wing ideology.
  • Broflake: defined by the OED as [derogatory, informal] a man who is readily upset or offended by progressive attitudes that conflict with his more conventional or conservative views.
  • Gorpcore: defined by the OED as [derogatory, informal] a man who is readily upset or offended by progressive attitudes that conflict with his more conventional or conservative views.
  • Kompromat: defined by the OED as [mass noun] compromising information collected for use in blackmailing, discrediting, or manipulating someone, typically for political purposes.
  • Milkshake Duck: defined by the OED as a person or thing that initially inspires delight on social media but is soon revealed to have a distasteful or repugnant past.
  • Newsjacking: defined by the OED as [mass noun; marketing] the practice of taking advantage of current events or news stories in such a way as to promote or advertise one's product or brand.
Back to the OED selection of youthquake as WOTY 2017, does everyone concur? The following HuffPost UK video randomly investigated usage.

*WOTTIES: Plural of the acronym WOTY (Word of the Year) . Rhymes with "potties"

Oxford Living Dictionaries Word of the year
Oxford Living Dictionaries  The WOTY shortlist 2017
ANIFA: A word on the rise
On the radar: Broflake
On the radar: Milkshake duck
Kompromat and 8 other Russian words you didn't think you'd need to know

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Oh, patents! Van Cleef & Arpels – Ring between fingers™

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Nearly all of the Van Cleef & Arpels contemporary collections of jewelry include a Ring between fingers™. This is a ring with a 90-degree opening where both ends of the ring are ornamentally designed with stone settings, or other transformative designs.

For example, the Perlée™ collection of the Ring between fingers™ includes a stone setting on one side of the opening, and a diamond-paved setting on the other side. The Magic Alhambra® Ring between fingers™ collection includes a clover design on each side, made of a variety of stones. The Cosmos™ Ring between fingers includes two flowers with three diamond-studded,  heart-shaped petals, on each side of the opening.

Magic Alhambra®
Alternatively, the Lotus Flower version of the Ring between fingers contains a swivel mechanism, so that the ornamental lotus flower design can swivel together to form a single ring, or fold back into a Ring between fingers™, covering two or three fingers. (See video below).

Thus, while the Ring between fingers slips on a single finger, the stones, or other ornaments on each side of the ring opening, are positioned between fingers, as if they were “floating”, which results in an illusion of two rings, or even three rings if there are two ornaments mounted on a single side, or if one ornament spreads out, such as for the tail feathers of a bird of paradise.

All these varying aspects of the Ring between fingers™ were, in fact, disclosed, as an invention, in the French utility patent FR2190389, titled Bague à deux chatons (Ring with two settings), granted in 1974. Interestingly, the patent includes the envisionment of many variations in the ornamental aspects of the design, and especially at the two ends of the open ring. Such creative variations have indeed played out exactly as envisioned, in the many embodiments of the ring through time, in the spectacular collections of Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry.   

Two Butterfly Collection
Figure 1, extracted from this French patent, is included with several embodiments of the ring with two settings, trademarked as Ring between fingers™, in the Perlée, Cosmos, Magic Alhambra®, and two Butterfly Collections of Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry.  

The video below shows the transformation of the Ring between fingers™ in the Lotus Collection of Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry. 

Van Cleef & Arpels
Van Cleef and Arpels -  Ring between fingers™ collections

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Oh, patents! Van Cleef & Arpels - More transformational jewelry

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Zip it open, and it's a necklace. Zip it closed, and it's a 

The Zip necklace is another famous and historical Van Cleef & Arpels transformational jewelry design. Contrary to the unique pieces of custom jewelry produced by Van Cleef & Arpels, the Zip necklace was produced in many different ornamental variations, for example as shown in the included video and image. 

Granted in 1939, the French patent FR838498, titled Fermeture rapide ornementée, disclosed the staggered and interlocking female and male parts of a zipper, an already well-known type of fastener.  The patent also disclosed a mobile slider that alternately brings the female and male parts together, or separates them. Finally, the patent included the envisionment of an indefinite number of ornamental designs, on each side of the zipper, partly as a way of concealing the metal tracks supporting the interlocking female and male parts. 

The embodiment of this invention resulted in a transformational piece of jewelry that was necklace when the zipper was open, and bracelet when the zipper was closed, with the upper part of the necklace unhinged and removed (as shown the video). 

patent figure drawing is included showing the staggered and interlocking male and female parts of the zipper. The image above shows one of the exquisite marketed embodiments of this invention.

The included video shows how the piece transforms, from necklace to bracelet.

Van Cleef & Arpels - The Zip Necklace

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Oh, patents! Van Cleef & Arpels transformational jewelry

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Van Cleef & Arpels have produced more than one piece of jewelry that is functionally fluid, morphing from bracelet to necklace, to brooch, to earrings and back again. However, the first transformational piece was patented in 1938. 

Titled Bijou à transformations multiples, the French patent FR884209 was granted on August 8, 1938, to the Van Cleef & Arpels Company.
FR884209 discloses a ribbon, consisting of a metal cable (1), and a clip (3) designed with several tracks (7) and pins (4) for the purposes of threading the cable, and restraining it at any given point.  The cable also has end means (5, 6) designed both ornamentally as a pendant, and technically for attaching extensions. Thus, the cable can slide through the clip, which opens and closes with a spring mechanism (2), enabling to adjust, and pin down, cable sizes to a bracelet (Fig. 5), a choker (Fig. 4), a long, medium, short, single or double stranded necklace. The clip was also designed so that the cable could loop back (Fig. 3) into the tracks for added flexibility of function. Finally, the clip was also envisioned so that it could be ornamentally designed as a brooch and/or earrings.  

This first Van Cleef and Arpels transformational piece of jewelry was marketed as the “passe-partout necklace". The 1938 marketed product displays an ornamental design of the clip in the shape of flowers, studded with precious stones.

Images showing various transformations of the historical “passe-partout” piece are included below. Figures 1 to 9 of the patent are also included to illustrate the clip design (Figs 7, 8 and 9), the tracks and restraining mechanism (Figs 1, 2 and 3), as well as some of the envisioned possibilities of wearing the piece (Figs 4, 5 and 6).

VanCleef & Arpels – Passe-Partout Necklace