patents Research Archives

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Auburn Machine Works Trencher Patent

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: , .

There are some great illustrations that accompanied this patent filed August 15, 1950, by Friedrich Schmidt on behalf of Auburn Machine Works.

According to the filing, “An object of this invention is to provide means for digging trenches particularly suitable for mounting on a conventional vehicle such as a truck or jeep without any substantial modification thereof and driven from the vehicle power take-01f. It is a related object to provide novel means coordinated with the digger portion of the device for enabling the vehicle to be advanced positively at a speed which is only a fraction of the normally obtainable minimum speed and with the engine operating at full rated R. P. M. I”





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1941 Willys-Overland Dual-Drive Patent

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

Delmar Roos invented and Willys Overland patented this dual-driving-axle suspension on November 27, 1941.

According to the patent, “‘This invention relates to spring suspension for motor vehicles, and more particularly to vehicles of heavy duty or commercial type wherein the four rear wheels are mounted on tandem driving axles.

One of the principal objects of the invention is to provide means of mounting or connecting the axles to the chassis frame in such a manner so as to permit independentl vertical movement of the axles with respect to the frame without setting up undue strains in the connecting means, or materially restricting the vflexibility of the springs as the vehicle travels upon rough or uneven road surfaces or terrain.

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All-purpose-Farm Implement

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

This “Frangible Frame All-Purpose-Farm Implement 2” was filed by Albert H. Stockmar on September 5, 1945.

According to the patent, “The principal object of the present invention is to provide a composite agricultural machine which is capable in a single operation of performing a plurality of related functions such as cutting sta ks. listing beds, leveling beds, planting seed and placing fertilizer.

Another important object of the invention is to provide a composite agricultural machine of the type described wherein the supporting frame is constructed substantially entirely of welded metal tubing which may be relatively inexpensively produced and which will require a minimum of maintenance attention in operation.”

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Power Take Off Mechanism and Drive Patent

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

Inventor David Stone filed a patent for a Power Take-Off Mechanism and Drive Therefor, with Willys Motors as the assignee, on August 08, 1950.

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1946 Patent For a Body Extension

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

I can only guess that this design was used by Newgren, as I *think* it was the only firm that built a collapsable body extension. See many of the body extensions documented here. The only thing is that Newgren had double supports, while the patent only shows a single support underneath.

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FC-170 Power Hoe Patent

• CATEGORIES: Artists/Drawings, Features • TAGS: .

I had this post all completed, then went to add some background information when I discovered that Craig had already added the first page of the patent to his post about the FC-170 Power Hoe. So, lots of heavy lifting in terms of content can be found here, while below you can view the whole patent. I think the illustrations are pretty neat.

Craigs FC-170 Power Hoe page:

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1945 Patent for a Jeep Bulldozer Attachment

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

On October 11, 1945, George W. Mork patented the first bulldozer attachment for a jeep as part of his work with Caterpillar Global Mining company. I don’t recognize the design, so I don’t think this was ever produced commercially, but maybe Caterpillar used it??

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• CATEGORIES: CJ-2A, CJ-3A, Features, Unusual • TAGS: .

UPDATE: This is the original patent for the Jeep-a-Loader! The application was first filed on February 07, 1955, by the Minneapolis Freeman Mfg, Co. (Out of Minneapolis??). I am guessing that the Jeep-A-Loader Corporation was a subsidiary or offshoot from the above parent company. The drawing shows that the Jeep-A-Loader was designed to fit over a CJ-3B (perhaps a CJ-5 as well), though the only one I’ve seen documented is fitted on a CJ-3A.

The filing date likely means this was manufactured around 1955, plus or minus a year. The patent was granted February 11, 1958.

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This photo is from 2009:

From June 2008:  A reader named Ed sent me some pics of a rare find he just purchased:  A front end loader for a jeep from a manufacturer called Jeep-a-Loader.   The serial number is 1001. The hydraulics system is powered by a Hy-lo hydraulic pump, which has been used to power other Willys devices.  You can see an example of a Hy-lo pump here and here.  Here are some pics below.

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Stratton Hydro-Implement Lift Information

• CATEGORIES: Advertising & Brochures, Features • TAGS: .

UPDATE: Nate’s hoping to gather some Stratton-related information. So, I’ll be using this post to gather that info. If anyone has any more insights into this lift, email me at or post it directly to Nate’s thread on the page.  Also, Clint Dixon and Barry Thomas have authored a five-part series of articles for the Dispatcher Magazine titled “The Making of the Farm Jeep”. The Fall of 2018 issue includes information on the Stratton Lift. 

As early as 1949 Stratton Equipment out of Cleveland, Ohio, was marketing hydraulic products. One example was their truck lift, a hydraulic lift used for placing cargo onto truck beds. The lift is pictured at the top of page 146 in the October 1949 issue of Popular Mechanics. This was just one of multiple patents filed over the period of three decades (1940s-1970s) by Alfred F. Foote, product designs both jeep-related and non-jeep-related.

1) On July 27, 1960, Alfred F. Foote filed a patent for the Stratton Lift with the Stratton Equipment Company as the assignee. Due to the lack of information related to Stratton lifts, it was unclear to most when this product hit the market. Given the patent date, the lift likely entered the market in late 1960 or later.

As part of his patent, Foote references both the Monroe and the Love designs. The patent for the lift was granted on Feb. 26, 1963.

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2) This Stratton brochure is currently on eBay (Nate has better scans of this brochure):

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3) These are two mailers that I think someone sent me .. was it you Barry?  Continue reading

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Cutlas Manufacturing

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: , .

UPDATE 2: Niels shared a photo of his rare Cutlas key that can be used to spin the screws of the Power-Lock Hub.

UPDATE: 1) Well, it seems I forgot to read through this and edit it (I murdered the title for example) 2) The ending of the post has changed, thanks to Paul spotting an ad in the 1976 issue of Four Wheeler Magazine.


This is a Cutlas brochure for the company’s first hub, the Power-Lock.

In January of 1958, James Russell Lloyd, who up to that point had been president of the Free-Lock Company in Denver, filed a patent for a new type of hub on behalf of a company called the Cutlas Tool and Manufacturing Company out of Lyons, Illinois. At the time, Lloyd was still based in Denver (according to the patent filing), so what his relationship was with the Cutlas and Free-Lock companies at that time isn’t clear.


Patent was awarded in January of 1962.

Unlike the Free-Lock hubs, which relied on a rotating center piece to engage and disengage the hubs, the Cutlas hub had two rotating screws that had to be spun to engage and disengage the hubs.

In May of 1958, Lloyd copyrighted the term Power-Lock Free Wheeling Hub, a name which the hubs would be known as from then onward. Here are some photos:



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Kelly Manufacturing Self Locking Hubs

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In May of 1957, DA Ruben L. Beck filed a patent for a new hub design. Beck was a dreamer and like many dreamers, some saw him a genius while others thought him just plain crazy. Beck’s goal was to create a simple, but effective, four-wheel-drive hub.

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Beck had already made an early impact in the jeep world, when he founded D.L. Beck Manfucaturing in Middleport, Ohio, a company that made hardtops (see Beck hardtop history here).

1954-beck-all-steel-cab-brochure1Beck sold his hardtop company to Hubert A. Kelly, in the 1950s but Beck and Kelly remained in contact. The date of the sale, thought once to be 1951, is less clear after this document hit eBay in 2014. It indicates Beck was still selling hardtops in 1954.


No matter when the sale occurred, Hubert took control. It wasn’t long after the patent filing that Mike Kelly, Hubert Kelly’s descendent, remembered seeing the hubs for the first time. He thought that was about 1958. I asked that he review the patent and Mike sent me the following notes:

“The Kelly Self Locking Hub I knew a was little different than the one pictured in the patent drawing. The housing was larger in diameter and had reliefs milled along the outside to allow clearance for the mounting bolts. The internal parts looked very similar to what I remember. I’m pretty sure the final Kelly product was a Beck design. I don’t recall anyone else working on it.

The hubs were manufactured in Charleston West Virginia. We already had an large machine shop there on Broad St. So moving production from Ohio to West Virgina was only logical. I know the assembling the hubs could be “interesting” if you weren’t watching what you were doing. Putting the internal workings together with the ball bearings being under spring pressure woke up more than one man who wasn’t paying attention.”

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Thor Products & White Automotive (Whitco)

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Overview of Colorado Jeep Product Manufacturers from the1950s-1970s

White Manufacturing Co. (also known as White Automotive and Whitco over time) was started in the late 1950s by Richard T, Bingman and partners. The company progressed at a modest level making, among other things, aluminum floral display stands. Eventually, White allied with Kaiser and began making tops. White filed for incorporation in 1959. One of the company’s earliest products was a white soft top for jeeps.

The next year, in 1960, Richard T. Bingham filed a patent for a pair of locking hubs. One set would automatically shift into gear when it sensed the axles were being powered (i.e., when the transfercase was shifted into four wheel drive). The second set of hubs added a dash-mounted button to allow for control of the hubs from the driver’s seat (assuming I have interpreted the patent correctly!).

The interesting thing is that Bingham never assigned the patents to the White Automotive Company. Instead, the patents and hubs ended up being used by Thor Products, which also operated out of Colorado Springs (though sometimes the address is Manitou Springs, a small town just west of Colorado Springs).

thor-automotive-logoThis suggests that Bingham had some time of relationship with Thor, but his exact connection to Thor isn’t known at this time (my guess is that it was a subsidiary or sister company of White).

1. The Thor auto-matic hub patent vs. the finished device:

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The Huffman Hub Company of Albuquerque, NM

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In December of 1958, Floyd G. Huffman filed a patent for a new type of hub structure. His patent, designed to “provide a hub structure that can be simply and quickly manually operated to release the front wheels so that they will rotate freely on the axles without the necessity of having the gears etc. rotate simultaneously when the front wheel drive has been disengaged” was finally approved in April of 1961. Later that year, in October of 1961, he filed incorporation papers for the Huffman Hub Company. He was a one-man show and enjoyed his independence. One of the hub’s unique features was a weapon-like piece of steel that sat atop the hub (but not evident not he patent).

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Between August 1964 and May of 1965, Huffman advertised in Four Wheel Magazine. Perhaps by the summer of 1965 he’d built up enough dealers (150 in eight states), that he didn’t see the point of advertising? That isn’t clear.


According to a 1967 article (that includes a photo of him that I was too cheap to pay for), when he needed money, he hit the road, obtaining hub orders in New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, California, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Colorado. Then, he’d return to his home in Albuquerque and, with the help of his granddaugther, would machine, assemble and ship the hubs. He claimed he was making 100 hubs a month and he saw great potential in reaching 1000 hubs a month.

I could find no more information on Huffman and his hubs after 1967, but I suspect the financial realities of operating a one man show proved impractical and he shut down the business.

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Dual Wheel Adapters

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: , .

UPDATE: See more information on the Rapport, Flox Foy, and Welliver adapters here.

I’ve spent the past couple days working through the selective hub relationships between Free-Lock (Denver, CO), Dualmatic (Longmont, CO), Husky (Longmont, CO), White Manufacturing (Colorado Springs, CO), and Cutlas Tools & MFG (Vinton, IA). During that process, I ran across more information about dual wheel adapters for the jeep. I thought it might be worth listing the one’s that have been documented. Perhaps someone has more information??

1. Max Rappaport’s hubs: A patent on these hubs was filed in 1947 (awarded in 1953), making them the earliest known hubs. Max Rapportaport was the Presdient of Northwestern Auto Parts Company (aka NAPCO).

Here is an example of them:

This December 1947 NAPCO ad promoted the hubs:


This July 1948 Popular Mechanics ad might be advertising the same dual wheels, but rebranded as “Du All” Converters. The design looks very similar to the Rapport models:



2. Welliver Jeep Dual Adapters No. 3000: These adapters were available by 1949 and sold by the Welliver Machine Shop. This April 1949 ad from Popular Mechanics provides a documented date.

Thanks to Stefano Oddo, we have this brochure regarding these adapters:


3. Hickey Dual Adapters: Vic Hickey developed his higher compression head, giving jeeps a power upgrade option. Then, he designed a set of dual wheel adapters. The first documentation I could find on his adapters was this July 1952 article in Popular Science about his hubs.

1952-07-popular-science-hickey-dual-dually-adaptersThe next month, this ad appeared in the August 1952 issue of Popular Science:


This Photobucket page has some good close up photos of the Hickey adapters. Continue reading

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The Free-Lock Corporation and Their Hubs

• CATEGORIES: Advertising & Brochures, Features • TAGS: , , .

UPDATE III: Thanks to Steve, we’ve discovered an additional version. It is now number 5, which seems to be an evolutionary step between 4 & 6.

UPDATE II: Thanks to Frank Day and his grandfather Merton, who saved this rare piece, here is a scan of an eight page brochure related to the Free-Lock corporation. 

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