Howes Reversible Frame Support

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From the Vintage Publication:
“The American Apiculturist.” (1885)
A Journal Devoted to Scientific and Practical Beekeeping.

By C. J. F. Howes.

To whom does the invention belong? From articles lately appearing in Gleanings in Bee Culture, and editorial comments thereon, I think there is a misapprehension of what the above invention consists, or what it really is, and whose property it is. The above-mentioned articles and editorials are, I feel, doing me an injustice, and have a tendency, virtually, to rob me of all the benefits, to say nothing of the “honors,” of the discovery, which I had considered to be my property.

As to what constitutes my invention, I will quote from my article in the A. B. Journal, page 57, in reply to Mr. Heddon’s claim to the invention of the frame illustrated in Gleanings, page 104.

“At the annual meeting of the Southeastern Michigan Beekeepers’ Association, held at Adrian, Mich., Jan. 23, 1884, I exhibited samples of a device for reversing brood-frames, which device, or plan, suspended the frame by strips of wood, or metal, which strips were pivoted to the centre of the end-bars, and extended up to the top of the frame, there forming projecting arms to rest on the rabbets, and allowing the frame to revolve on these pivots.

In describing the device before the convention, I distinctly claimed as my invention, the plan of suspending the frame between side-strips pivoted to the end-bars, as described.”

Previous to the illustration and 125description of my device, all reversible-frames had fixtures at both top and bottom; see Gleanings for 1882, page 71, also 1883, page 65, Burgess’ device; 1884, page 155, Baldridge’s device; and 1884, page 332, Hetherington’s device. These attachments were entirely different in principle from the “Howes’ Supports.” No one had ever suggested revolving the frames on “centre pivots,” previous to the illustration, and description of my frame in Gleanings for 1884, page 156.

Soon after I began to manufacture and sell Howes’ Reversible Frame and Supports,—as advertised in Gleanings, for 1884, page 285,—reversing devices began to appear from all quarters; both men and women joining in the scramble for the “honor,” if not for the profits of the invention; each one suspending the frame by “centre pivots,” as I had described them. Several used hoop-iron bent at a right angle to form projecting arm. (Prof. Cook at the Michigan convention claimed to have tried this plan, though a lady, I think, first described it in Gleanings).

Mr. Root has often, through Gleanings, acknowledged that these different devices are, practically the same thing as the “Howes’ Support;” still he does not hesitate to manufacture, advertise and sell them, as if the invention was common property. (See editorial remarks in Gleanings; page 74, describing Mr. Nuzvinis’ device; then Editorial in next number, page 104, on the same subject.)

I submit the question, in all seriousness. Does not this state of things justify anyone, in securing his rights to the labor of his brain, by a patent, as provided by law? If a better device, to secure the results aimed at, by reversing the brood-combs, shall be discovered, I shall be glad to adopt it, in my own apiary, and will, willingly, pay for the privilege. Until then, I request all to “please keep off my preserve.”

Adrian, Mich., Feb. 7, 1885.

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