Dozens of inventors have lived, worked in Hastings
Over the summer, this newspaper published a series of stories about “Hastings Firsts,” items or ideas that got their start right here in Hastings.
But Hastings has given a lot more to the world. The city has been home to dozens of inventors over the years. This week, we’re taking a look at some of them. This summary does not include every invention or inventor; such an undertaking would require hundreds of pages. Luckily, the volunteer staff at the Hastings Pioneer Room has taken on that project. Anyone who wants to learn more about local inventors and their inventions can stop in the Pioneer Room, where there is a large binder stuffed with details. Information for this article comes from the Pioneer Room’s documented research.
Inventions from Hastings range from farm equipment modifications from the 1800s to modern chemical and technological processes.
There were three Hastings families that produced multiple inventors.
The Hoffman family, notable for their role in starting and operating Smead Manufacturing here, has two patent holders recorded. Harold Jacob Hoffman patented an alphabet order in 1954. Peter Albert Hoffman, who had teamed up with Charles Smead to launch the company, invented the bandless envelopes in 1906 that Smead Manufacturing became known for. He also is credited with inventing an envelope with improved structure to properly close and wrap documents and in 1925 recorded a patent for bandless filing envelopes.
The Lovejoy family also had two inventors. Henry Clay Lovejoy in 1878 patented a star churn that used motion rather than paddles or dashers to agitate the milk or cream.
Tyler Kenneth Lovejoy had a few patents, including a sandpaper holder and manipulator in 1948 and a door check and closer. He is also credited with inventing an auto master cylinder, but local researchers were unable to locate a patent.
Two brothers in the Stroud family had a number of inventions in the early 1900s. Charles McMurtie Stroud patented an acetylene search lamp in 1901 and an acetylene gas generator in 1902, as well as some other mechanical components. Harold Dudley Stroud was more involved in communications, patenting a telephone transmitter, a supporting bracket for messenger wires, a telephone toll collector that would return coins when a call couldn’t be completed and a burglar alarm system.
Hastings’ most prolific inventor is a man who’s still inventing. Hassan Sahouani had 38 patents at the time the Pioneer Room research was conducted. All of them were assigned to 3M, where Sahouani works. Carrying a Ph.D. in physical chemistry, Sahouani’s patents range from audio/video to optics, biotech, glues and more.
Here’s a list of just a few of the other inventions that came from Hastings residents:
Charles Bigelow, in 1857, invented an improved machine “for grooving and closing the joints or seams of stove and other sheet metal pipes.”
Marc John Bily invented a container system for pickup trucks in 1997.
Ralph Brownson invented a fly net for horses in 1884 and later a new horse collar, carpet beater, can opener and truck brake.
Benjamin Duane Cadwell patented a hand crank operated clothes dryer in 1914.
George Ashley Campbell, a civil engineer, invented a self-induction coil in 1902, an electric wave-filter in 1915, a signaling circuit in 1917 and a loaded phantom circuit in 1920. He received the Medal of Honor from the Institute of Radio Engineers in 1936 for his theory of electrical networks.
Nicholas DeFrees of the HD Hudson Manufacturing Company patented a spraying device in 1931 and another in 1932.
John Goodman, a young black man in Hastings, is credited with writing a song, “Ma Black Eyed Sal,” which was published by Success Music Company of Chicago in 1906. He later patented an ice crusher.
Leo Hagenson, a World War II veteran, patented a collapsible house trailer in 1958. His camping trailer, which won a contest of inventors, had a closet, couch, table stove sink, cupboard and a table that converted to a bed.
Franklin Jones in 1863 patented a roller attachment for double harness breast straps.
Michael Korneski in 1986 invented swimming fins. In 1987 he invented a rotating wind generator.
Lillian Maroushek created the “Frosted Jade” hosta, which was named in 1978. She also registered another hosta variety, “Freedom.”
After leaving Hastings, Obed Russell patented a mechanical pencil in 1948.
Julio Santiago, a Dakota County Sheriff, patented an illuminated gunsight in 1986 and later another gunsight that could be rapidly aimed with both eyes open.
Lucy Simones, another modern inventor, holds the patent for iPops, which are charms that fit into the bands of the Apple Watch and Fitbit.
Charles Sommers patented a folding crate for shipping poultry in 1908.