Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Charles N. Cone and Patents

      In talking to my cousin Bob Brim about how his grandfather Frederick Naaman Cone had learned to read German to help my grandfather Charles N. Cone with the products he was developing for the plywood industry, I began wondering about the information I could find on my grandfather's inventions. How wonderful to be living in the Internet era! In just a few seconds I found his U. S. Patent number 3956860 with a Filing date of Mar 23, 1973 and Issue date of Jun. 29, 1976 http://www.google.com/patents/US3965860?printsec=drawing#v=onepage&q&f=false.
     As children, my sisters, brother and I spent a good deal of time each summer visiting our grandparents in Oregon. An integral part of each visit with our Cone grandparents was a trip to Pacific Adhesives, Inc first in Beaverton and then in Hillsboro. We remember seeing railroad cars emblazoned with the PACO logo, the intricacies of the labs and of course the stacks of 50 pound bags of dried animal blood in the warehouse. Alright, to be honest, we remember most the smell of those bags YUCK!
     We were proud of the work our grandfather was doing. Many conversations centered around how things were going with what my grandmother (Hazel Allen Cone) termed "Old Foamy." The more than three years between the filing and issue dates for "Plywood Manufacturing Using Foamed Glues" does not begin to speak to the time and resources Charles N. Cone invested in this process. In fact, he had filed and then abandoned two previous patent applications, one in 1969 and one in 1970 for "Old Foamy." Grandaddy was 77 when the patent was issued.
     Blessed with an inventive mind, Old Foamy was not Charles' first effort to patent his ideas and developments. On Nov 6, 1931, he filed for Patent number 1976436 "Adhesive and Process of Making Same" which was issued in 1934. The first paragraph states, "My invention relates to the process of making a laminated construction unit, the laminated product of said process, the process of making the adhesive for such unit and the adhesive product of said last process." http://www.google.com/patents/US1976436?pg=PA4&dq=foam+glue+plywood+process+and+cone&hl=en&sa=X&ei=EjotUYz1AoXWrQHMtoGwBQ&ved=0CEgQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=foam%20glue%20plywood%20process%20and%20cone&f=false
      The key to why the "Old Foamy" patent was so important to Charles can be found on the first page of his earlier patent. "Charles N. Cone, Seattle, Wash., assignor to I. F. Laucks, Inc., Seattle, Wash., a corporation of Washington." This statement meant the any income or royalties derived from this process belonged to Charles' employer, not to him. From the employer's point of view, they were providing the employment, facilities, and resources for the development of the process. Grandfather understood that but it planted the seed of necessity to develop and own the rights to his inventions. It was not until 1956 that he founded Pacific Adhesives, Inc. At age 58, he was determined to own the fruits of his mind.
     His father, Frederick Cone, did not pass until December 1957 so I'm certain that he was proud of his son's accomplishments. Grandaddy (Charles) worked until his 89th birthday still contributing to the development of the plywood industry. He died a month later. I have many photos of the older Charles Newton Cone, but the one below shows his confidence and determination, even as a young man.



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