On Feb. 23, 1926, Robert J. McLean of New York City was granted U. S. Patent Number 1,574,497 for his "Combination Tool." The patent was assigned to Sloan & Company, a New York corporation. McLean's claims relate to the pivoting segments which lock in place by contacting a stop-pin and thus serve as the handle for "a helically formed member" (corkscrew). Although his invention discusses cap lifters, box openers, nail removers and key blanks, these are not part of his patent claims.
The gold example of McLean's Patent on the left is marked on the top of the cap lifter " Pat. Feb. 23, 1926" and "14" with this mark:
Sloan was a jewelry manufacturer and the trademark was first registered July 21, 1914. The registration was last renewed in 1974 by Sloan & Company, then located in Newark, New Jersey. The trademark expired in 1995.
The left gold example has the cigar box opener formed at the end of the cap lifter and is shown at Ref. 10 in the patent drawing below. Ref. 13 in the drawing is the cigar box nail remover. All versions have a key blank, a bottle cap lifter and a corkscrew.
The gold example in the center does not have the cigar box opener. This one is marked "Pat. Apld. For" and "14" with the Sloan mark on the top of the cap lifter. The key blank is marked "Security" on one side and "1888" on the other.
The silver example (right) is marked on the bail "Sterling 1044" and has the mark of James E. Blake Company of Attleboro, Massachusetts (1898-1936). Blake made this without the cigar box opener and nail remover. The Blake buidling was at the intersection of South Main and Mill streets
McLean describes Ref. 21 as "a suitably placed perforation for attachment of the implement or tool to a watch-chain or the like." None of the three examples above have the attachment at that point. The two gold versions have a loop with chain link welded on the top and the silver version has a bail attached where the assembly is riveted together.
A fourth example is marked "Security Sterling and Pat. Apld For." This one is like the patent drawing and the ring for attachment to a watch-chain is located as shown in the patent drawing.
A fifth example is gold. It does not have the cigar box nail remover and the ring for attachment to a watch-chain is located at the end of the cap lifter.
Are there other variations of the McLean Patent?
Note: Thank you to Joe Paradi for the photo of the fourth example in this study. The fifth example is from "anonymous" and the first three are from the Bull collection.
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©2000 Donald A. Bull