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GB Patent: GB-171,500,401
Cleaning and curing the Indian corn growing in the several colonies of America
Sybilla Masters - Philadelphia, PA
Thomas Masters - Philadelphia, PA

USPTO Classifications:

Tool Categories:
agricultural machines : corn shellers
agricultural machines : corn grinders


Not known to have been produced


Patent Dates:
Granted: Nov. 25, 1715

Patent Pictures:
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Patent Specification
Wikipedia biography of Sybilla Righton Masters
This patent is significant for a few reasons. It is the first patent issued to a resident of the American colonies. It is the first (known) patent for an invention created by a woman. She was not permitted to apply for the patent herself, so her husband applied on her behalf, stating that the invention was "found out by Sybilla Masters his wife". Even acknowledging that a woman had invented something was seen as irregular but Thomas was able to do so because of his political prominence (Masters had earlier served as alderman and mayor of Philadelphia, then as a provincial councilor). The Masters produced the cornmeal from this invention, selling it as "Tuscarora Rice" as a treatment for tuberculosis as well as a foodstuff. The invention itself consisted of a horizontal wood with a series of pegs sticking out of the cylinder. A handle rotated the cylinder and pegs to left and then drop mortars into pestles that were filled with corn. The machine could be powered by water-wheel or by horse-power.

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