||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (July 2012)|
29 July 1796|
Martinsburg, New York
|Died||8 June 1859(aged 62)|
|Known for||fountain pen
street sweeping machinery,
Walter Hunt (July 29, 1796 – June 8, 1859) was an American mechanic. He was born in Martinsburg, New York. Through the course of his work he became renowned for being a prolific inventor, notably of the lockstitch sewing machine (1833), safety pin (1849), a forerunner of the Winchester repeating rifle, a successful flax spinner, knife sharpener, streetcar bell, hard-coal-burning stove, artificial stone, street sweeping machinery, the velocipede, and the ice plough.
Walter Hunt did not realize the significance of many of these when he invented them; today, many are widely used products. He thought little of the safety pin, selling the patent for a paltry sum of $400 (roughly $10,000 in 2008 dollars) to the company W R Grace and Company, to pay a man to whom he owed $15. He failed to patent his sewing machine at all, because he feared that it would create unemployment among seamstresses. (This led to an 1854 court case when the machine was re-invented by Elias Howe; Hunt's machine shown to have design flaws limiting its practical use). In seeking patents for his inventions, Hunt used the services of Charles Grafton Page, a patent solicitor who had previously worked at the US Patent Office. Like Howe, Hunt is buried in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.
Some of his important inventions are shown here with drawings from the patent.
- Advameg - Walter Hunt Biography
- "Safety Pin patent - US Patent and Trademark Office". 9 April 2002. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
- Marshall Cavendish, p. 845.
- O'Dwyer, Davin (29 April 2011). "Inspiring innovators: Walter Hunt". Irish Times (Ireland). Retrieved 28 October 2011.
- Marshall Cavendish Corporation, Inventors and inventions. New York : Marshall Cavendish, 2007. ISBN 978-0-7614-7761-7, p. 845 ff.
- Hunt, Clinton N. Walter Hunt, American inventor. New York: C. N. Hunt, 1935. OCLC 250585694
- Kane, Joseph Nathan. Necessity's child : the story of Walter Hunt, Americaʼs forgotten inventor, Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland, 1997. ISBN 978-0-7864-0279-3
- Post, Robert C. 1976. Physics, Patents, and Politics: A Biography of Charles Grafton Page. Science History Publications: New York.