The "Bling" Factor Bevel
For many years, the fall season in North America signaled the
debut of new automobile and truck models and the vast array
of options that could be added to change the seemingly mundane
appearance of any vehicle. Automobile manufacturers aggressively
up sold new models with power-module additions, interior-accessory
combinations and other extravagances that gave a higher profit.
"New", "improved" and any number of adjectives
brought buyers into the salesroom to personalize their purchase.
(Now, automotive manufacturers provide a never-ending stream
of new models and options throughout the year.) The practice
of up selling has never been limited to any particular industrial
sector, and it would appear that the toolmakers of the 19th
century understood and used these advertising tactics still
practiced in today's fast-paced and evolving marketplace.
Leonard D. Howard of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, sought with his
patent #70,570 dated November 5, 1867, to improve the usability
of the common bevel in marking out and recording angles. The
patent claim was that a recessed section on the tool body allowed
the instrument to lie flat against the workpiece, while still
allowing for adjustment. Much like the employers of the above-mentioned
automobile-sales tactic, Howard was not happy with just one
patent for this type of device; further patents #111,746 (1871)
and #324,323 (1885) addressed modifications and improvements.
L.D. Howard was a prolific inventor with some 10 to 20 registered
patents, ranging from a clothesline (111,747) to a power hammer
(657,114), over a 30-year period. Unlike many other entrepreneurs
of that time, Howard was an inventor only; it appears he never
became a recorded manufacturer. Other companies, presumably
under license, produced his inventions.