Lee Valley Tools    Gardening Newsletter
   Vol. 7, Issue 2
   April 2012
   What Is It?
What Is It?

As promised in an earlier newsletter (Woodworking: Volume 5, Issue 1), here is the other tool from our 2009 Woodworking Tools Catalog that has been the source of numerous requests for information. Was it a woodworking tool? How did one use it? Where can I buy one? These are all good questions that required a bit of sleuthing on the part of Lee Valley staff.

William Millspaugh of Middletown, New York, sought with his patent application #155,100, submitted September 1, 1874, and granted September 15, 1874, certain improvements to pruning implements. It should be noted that from the initial application to the granting of the patent, the actual time was only 10 working days. Either there was a slow period in the patent office (doubtful), or there was no way any challenge could be made to the application. This was an unusually fast path through the patent procedure and the officialdom that is often associated with the issuing of a patent. The claims are:
a) the tool is a combination saw and knife
b) the method of inserting a handle into the body of the tool allowed for an extended reach for pruning at height
c) the two blades at the end are convex to prevent trapping a branch when trimming and to allow a cut to be done by a pushing action. (Unlike the patent drawing, the model shown here has straight blades. Whether this is due to improper sharpening or whether it was how the item was sold is unknown.)
d) the main body has two tubular sections allowing a long handle to be inserted and held securely. Allegedly, other single-point-style attachments, as found on competitors' models, made them inherently weaker

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