My cousin Aubrey’s genealogical research indicates that my great-uncle Landon, who died institutionalized, had patented “a method for transmitting mail by electricity.” When I saw the research a few years ago, I was Intrigued by the description but wasn’t able to find out anything about it. Last time I was back in North Carolina, I told my Dad I wondered if the patent had been issued or just applied for.
Today, with nothing much to do except “supervise” the refinishing and replacing of our floor, I looked up the patent in the PTO’s database, and found it: Number 847076, “Mail-Transportation System,” issued March 12, 1907. No on-line text, but there are six TIFF images of the patent drawings and claims. Pretty cool—he had an idea for an engine that would deliver mail to a series of regular stops, propelling itself by unspecified means along a suspended wire. Not as far fetched as shooting mail through a vast network of underground tubes using compressed air, which actually happened.