Friday, March 7, 2014

William Tuder: A Patentee

A few months ago I ran across an index that indicated a William Tuder from Texas had filed a patent with United States Patent Office in 1871 titled "Improvment in Current-Wheels". After a bit of digging I unearthed the actual patent documentation complete with illustrations and definitions. The document indicated that the William Tuder that filed the patent was indeed William Tuder, Grandfather of J.W. Gailey Sr.

William Tuder was responsible for relocating his family from Kentucky to Bell County Texas in the late 1850s and then later on to northeastern Eastland County in 1872. In Bell County the family settled between the communities of Aiken and Moffett on the banks of the Leon River. William was a master carpenter with early work as a wheel right and later as a cabinet and furniture maker. It is safe to that that he knew a thing or two about geometry and the math behind creating objects from wood and metal. Due to the nature of the patent he filed, it is also safe to say that he knew a thing or two about the use of hydraulics in running river mills, which were very popular at the time for use in grinding food items such as corn.

William Tuder's U.S. Patent for "Improvement in Current-Wheels" was filed June 6, 1871. He was listed as "William Tuder, of Moffettown, Texas". This was not an original patent on current-wheel design but rather a helpful modification to existing designs. The description states that it is an improved arrangement of  feathering-buckets and gate operating devices.

This patent has been cited in subsequent patent applications, even some as late as the last decade. It is unclear whether his invented enhancements are still in use in modern day current-wheels but evidently it was an important enough of an advancement that it warranted a patent.

At the time of the patent, William Tuder had already purchased land in Eastland County. Within a year he and his family would migrate up the Leon to their new property on the banks of Palo Pinto Creek. It has been passed down that a grist mill was once located on the east bank of the Palo Pinto on the original Tuder land in Eastland county. William's patent likely was put to use on that once flowing stream.

Below are the two documents involved with the patent.