Milk Scales Provided Proven Results
(Page 2 of 3)
The Lindemann connection
In Hasserode, Germany, Ottocar Lindemann found a brilliant solution, which he patented in 1895 and ’96 in Germany and Switzerland. His invention was identified as a “controlling and registering scale”; U.S. patent no. 587,100 was granted July 27, 1897. The patent illustration depicts clearly the functional parts of a Meloney scale.
We know very little about Lindemann. Steve Beare, who assists me with research, made some important discoveries. Lindemann’s patent address lies just 15 miles from my birthplace in Germany. His very unusual surname allowed us to trace him on the 1891 and 1901 census to London, England, where he was a wealthy naturalized British subject, being a “merchant for machinery,” with a governess and two servants in his employ. In 1930, at age 79, he traveled to the U.S. for the first time, visiting his son Otto in Wyncote, Pa.
Steve also discovered a Belgian trademark dating to 1897. An illustration in that document shows a dairy barn with Lindemann’s patented scale mounted on a beam (and even shows a maid milking by hand). The notation “Kuh-Kontrolleur” can be translated to “Cow-Controller.”
The connection between Lindemann and the Meloney company in Philadelphia remains a mystery. The cloverleaf on the decal might be a clue, but it might be nothing more than evidence of the Meloney family’s Irish heritage.
George Meloney and the Dairymen’s Supply Co.
The connection between Meloney and the Dairymen’s Supply Co. is more clear. In 1890, at age 25, George R. Meloney applied for a patent for his milk cooler (it was granted in the same year on Sept. 9; no. 436,288). From 1899 to at least 1905, he served as secretary of the Creamery Association of Eastern Pennsylvania. Later, he apparently was president of the Dairymen’s Supply Co. in Philadelphia.
The Dairymen’s Supply Co. was organized in 1890, operating first in Philadelphia and later in Lansdowne, Pa. The company flourished, at least in part as the result of the success of its milk weighing machine, invented by Meloney in 1911, four years before his death at age 51.
“Now you know the rest of the story,” as Paul Harvey would say. That’s how the Meloney name came into the picture, producing the latest novelty in automatic registering milk scales. What progress! Record the daily amount of milk for 20 cows on two little cards by just punching holes and do the math in the evening with clean hands in your warm home. (I think that’s about what the salesman would have said in offering this certainly expensive scale.)
The first Meloney automatic registering milk scale could have been produced as early as 1896, before Lindemann’s U.S. patent was granted, as we could conclude from the instruction label with the abbreviations PAT(ent) AP(plied) FOR. But it could also have been 1898, assuming that the Meloneys had their own patent, possibly for the spring-loaded buttons as an improvement of Lindemann’s design. To their disappointment, it was rejected because of Lindemann’s patent claim.