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MMD > Archives > March 2006 > 2006.03.09 > 03Prev  Next

Seek Patent Data on Suction Operated Air Motor
By Reid Welch

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I've an Angelus Orchestrelle push-up player of 1901 manufacture.  It's
wind motor is identical to that seen in a now-misplaced patent office
copy.  If I recall correctly, the patent was issued in 1889 to a Paul
Brown of Chicago.  Perhaps I had seen the facsimile in one of the club
magazines decades ago; in any event, I'd sure like to find that patent
specification again.  I've had the Angelus for three decades now.
For some odd reason I never made the familial connection between the
(recalled name) of the air motor inventor, with my own kin.

Background:  When I was a lad, long before I knew anything or had seen
self-operating musical instruments, my late dad mentioned this much and
no more: "Your grandfather had an uncle who was an inventor.  The man
invented slot machines".

I did not have the sense to ask for more about that and pretty much
forgot about the matter.  Not even when I saw that patent reproduction,
did I associate this "Paul Brown" (recalled name) and tie it not to
"slot machines" but to the "coin-in-slot" machines which only then,
around 1889, were in seminal formations.

My dad's name was Gordon Welch.  His father was Paul Brown Welch
(of Chicago, originally).  P.B. Welch was born in 1889.  On this
circumstantial evidence, I do suppose the inventor of the first(?)
successful air or wind motor (suction operated) was indeed my great

A sidebar digression of no importance to my question about the origin
of the wind motor as we knew it:  Not that any of that distinguishment
has rubbed off on _me_ <grin>, but when I obtained that Angelus I was
only 21 years old and just beginning in a short career in the business
of restoring paper roll operated devices.  I had a knack for
mechanical-pneumatic sensings.

The wind motor of that Angelus was absolutely fascinating to me.  I did
not know why but, of all that early machine's parts, that air motor was
the one component I could sit and stare at, operating for hours by
inhales.  I kid not!   Some sort of paternal genetic telepathy may have
been at play.  (I kid, on that, but I'm pretty sure he, the inventor,
was my kin.)

Thanks for any PDF or JPEG image or other link to an image or means by
which to get the patent specification.  I don't know the patent number
nor the absolute date of issue; just recalling it was 1889 and Paul
Brown of Chicago.

Reid Welch
Miami, Florida

P.S.: The machine is fallow now.  I had bought the infamous polyurethane
last-forever pouch material.  The entire job now requires a re-do.

(Message sent Fri 10 Mar 2006, 01:38:10 GMT, from time zone GMT-0800.)

Key Words in Subject:  Air, Data, Motor, Operated, Patent, Seek, Suction

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