My grandfather, Ragnvald Duesund Bergeson, was a person with a multitude of interests and some hidden talents. Many years ago my father told me that Ragnvald was granted a patent for an attached trimmer edger for a gas-powered lawn mower. The grant for patent #US3192693A was finalized on July 7, 1965. I asked my dad if Grandpa made any money from the invention and he said, “No, but he wasn’t the first person with the idea and someone else made the money.” If you go to the website for the United States Patent Office, you’ll find that more than 30 folks have been awarded patents for some version of this piece of equipment since 1911. The most recent related patent was granted in 2017. I’ve tried to figure out what differentiates Ragnvald’s design from the dozens of others that have been filed or why his wasn’t chosen by any manufacturers, but I really can’t do it.
While I was sorry that Ray (that’s what everyone at work called him) never was recognized for his achievement and never made any money from his efforts with the lawn mower edger trimmer attachment (what would the residuals be for a guy like me, I can’t help but wonder?), it wasn’t a shock to find out that he dabbled in experimentation. After all, he was an electrical engineer by training and a scoutmaster when he wasn’t at work. The guy never sat still for very long and he was always tinkering.
Imagine my surprise, though, when after another of my gazillion Google searches for information on the family, I came upon my grandfather’s 1924 patent application for a mechanical pencil! His partner in crime was one L.H. Lippert, but the application very clearly designates Ray as the “inventor.” Lippert was an attorney in South Dakota and my grandfather was living in Chicago at the time. This patent was granted to him on March 22, 1927. Again, I have no idea how his design was different from the others, but I know for a fact that no money accrued to the inventor or his heirs.
I’ve said this before but it bears repeating, my grandfather was a remarkable human. I wonder what my next discover about him will be?