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100 ~ The Inventors of Blawenburg

One Hundred Blogs Later

In 2018, when I began researching the Village of Blawenburg for the Tales of Blawenburg blog, I had no idea that there could be 100 stories to be told. Now, thanks to many people, I have published 100 tales. That’s more than I expected to get from a 336-acre village that is less than a mile long and a half mile wide with a population of just 287 people (2020).

Since the Blaws, Neviuses, and Covenhovens arrived in the mid-1700s, much has happened in this small community and its “suburbs” of Skillman, Rocky Hill, and Belle Mead. The more I write, the more people share pictures and tales about the village. Keep the good news coming!

The list of contributors to the blog is long and appreciated. Two people, in particular, have been instrumental in helping to make this blog possible—editor Barb Reid and researcher Ken Chrusz. Barb’s careful reading of the blogs and corrections of my errors have made the final work better. Her diligence has also improved my writing. Ken’s combing of the archives of local newspapers, the internet, and other sources has brought stories to my attention that I would not have otherwise known about. I owe a big THANK YOU to all the contributors, Barb, and Ken.


About Inventions and Patents

Unbeknownst to most of us, Blawenburg has had quite a few inventors over the years. In this blog, we highlight several inventions by people who lived in Blawenburg or had a Blawenburg mailing address. There are likely others that we did not discover.

We often think of inventions as devices which are patented or could be patented. But the definition of inventions includes more than that. Inventions are not just devices. Methods, compositions, ideas, or processes can be considered inventions whether or not they are patented. Inventions that are not patented can be used by anyone. Realizing the need to protect the work of inventors, the US Office of Patents and Trademarks was created on July 31, 1790. Soon after, they developed a patent system.

 According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a patent is “a writing securing for a term of years the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention.” It protects inventors from having their creation being used by others without permission. To be patentable, an invention must be novel, inventive, and have an industrial application.

Like copyrights, a patent has a limited life, only 15-20 years, depending on the type of patent. After that, it cannot be renewed and goes into the public domain for others to use.

Blawenburg Inventors

Blawenburg was an agrarian village at its inception, so it is no surprise that some creative agricultural products might have been invented here.

Corn Planter and Fertilizer Distributer

Jacob W. Duryea and William C. Duryea

Patent 436,649, March 13, 1890


This invention had a moveable shaft connected to a fertilizer wheel that allowed for the even distribution of corn or fertilizer.


This corn planter and fertilizer distributer shown here is double-row version of the Duryea invention.


Triumph Sweet Corn

David C. Voorhees

1875 (Patent information not available)

Triumph sweet corn got rave reviews in American Agriculturist magazine in 1875. It was distributed by the B. K. Bliss and Company. It was put to the taste test against Excelsior sweet corn, which was also a new variety. The judges ate an ear of one and then an ear of another and changed their mind with each of the many ears they ate. The conclusion of the reviewer was that “the capacity of the human stomach is not sufficient to allow a fair decision to be reached… Either of them is good enough for any living mortal.”


Bed Motion for Cylinder Printing Machines

William C. Duryea and George Edwards (New York, NY)

Patent 602,840, August 7, 1897


This invention allowed a printing machine bed to move back and forth, making it easy for the machine to go forward, backward, and stop.

Cylinder printing machine


Color Television System

John Evans (Radio Corporation of America)

Patent 2,638,499, January 24, 1950


This early color television system continued to allow the production of black and white colors. It also had a filtering system that allowed many color images to be produced. This system was invented several years before the television industry began producing shows in color.

Color television system diagram


Video Disc Player Noise Reduction Circuit

Richard C. Palmer (Radio Corporation of America)

Patent 4,309,722, May 27, 1980


A video disc player recovers prerecorded signals from a disc record. This invention helps modulate the signal in the four circuits in the recording. The video disc was an exciting invention that did for TV what the record did for audio music. It was a play-only device.

Video disc circuit diagram


Cathode Ray Tube with Means for Suppressing Arcing

Horst E. P. Shade (Radio Corporation of America)

Patent 4,353,006, May 28, 1980


This cathode ray tube had an insulated neck with an electron gun assembly in it. It was used in the television industry before the advent of plasma, liquid crystal (LCD), and solid-state devices. If you look back at old TVs, it’s amazing how far we’ve come with this technology in our flat-screen television world.


Air Data Lateral System Directional Stability Augmentation System

Donald O. Dommash (Federal Aviation Administration)

Patent 3,636,324, January 28, 1970


This logic control system is used to interpret the dynamic pressure signals sensed near each wingtip of an aircraft. It replaced the old gyroscope to adjust the wing controls using pneumatic, electrical, or hydraulic methods. 

 Diagram of the air data system

Silica Gel, Free Silica, Zirconium Sulfate, and Sodium Sulfate Tanning Agent

Robert H. Linnell (Titanium Zirconium Co., Inc., Flemington, NJ)

Patent 2,987,369, June 10, 1957


Don’t look for this product in your tanning salon. These chemical products were used as leather tanning agents. To tan 100 pounds of pickled goat skin, you would use 20 pounds of water and 25 pounds of the patented chemicals. This is not an agent for human use when tanning or pickling!

Gradient Structures Interfacing Microfluidics and Nanofluidics, Methods for Fabrication and Uses Thereof

Han Cao and others (Princeton University)

Patent 7,217,562 B2, May 15, 2007

This invention relates to the field of bionanotechnology (nanotechnology, electronics, and biology). It allows scientists to manipulate very small biomolecules such as DNA. To learn more about this invention, search for its patent and have a dictionary nearby.



Gradient structure interface



There have been some very creative inventors associated with Blawenburg over the years. The proximity to Princeton University, Rutgers University, and technical industries in the surrounding area has provided venues for inventors who live in or near Blawenburg. Having such educated and talented people living in this area has raised the local standard of living. It’s nice to know that Blawenburg has been an attractive hub for such creative people.


The Official Gazette is the publication of the US Patent and Trademark Office. This copy is from 1982. It is now called the Official Gazette for Patents and is published each Tuesday in electronic form only.






1.    Richard Palmer, inventor of the video disc noise reduction circuit, lived in the house on Bedens Brook Road that was built by John Blaw in the mid-1700s.


2.    Ideas for inventions are not patentable. If you have a great idea and don’t patent a product, someone else can sell the product and gain the benefits. Drugs, however, are patentable. Like other patented inventions, drug patents have a 20-year lifespan. After that period, other companies can produce the pharmaceuticals as generic drugs.


3.    Many of the patents mentioned were done for a company or university research. The general rule is that the patent belongs to the individual unless there is a written employment agreement that assigns the rights to the company or university.


4.    You may have noticed that we found no women inventors associated with Blawenburg. If you look through the list of the NJ Inventor’s Hall of Fame, you will be hard pressed to find a woman on the list. Since its inception in 1989, there has only been one woman inducted—Dr. Lynn F. Schneemeyer, Rutgers University. She was inducted in 2011, and no other woman has followed her. This does not mean that women are not significant inventors. It’s more reflective of the recognition of female talent in the workplace. There’s a lot more work to be done in that regard.



Flashback is a new feature of Tales of Blawenburg that will be included periodically with blogs. It will include information and pictures that relate to a previously published blog.


Related to an unnumbered blog following Blog 18 - A Long Way to High School 

Commuter train at Skillman Station

The school bus of yesteryear! Long before there was a high school in Montgomery Township, students in Blawenburg walked to Skillman Station and rode the train to Bound Brook High School. They might have ridden on a train similar this one.

The vehicle is a “doodlebug” manufactured by the J. G. Brill Co. of Philadelphia.  One half had seating capacity for 32 passengers and the other half handled mail, baggage and express. It shuttled between Bound Brook and West Trenton.




Diagrams of the patented items came from the patent summaries published in the official publications of the US Patent and Trademark Office

Flashback – Charles Knox Freericks of Skillman,

Publication cover: US Patent and Trademark Office



Patent information came from the US Patent and Trade Office and was secured by Ken Chrusz.

Flashback – Ken Chrusz


Editor—Barb Reid




Copyright © 2024 by David Cochran. All rights reserved



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