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Safford's Vapor Burner Mark Safford's
patent number 20,977
dated July 20, 1858.

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    a few words about...     
Safford's Vapor Burner
Vapor Burner Advert
Safford and Kinne's Vapor Burner as advertised in the 1861 Boston Almanac. The four lamps depict the cost of fuel needed for the various burner "settings."

The drawing in the margin is taken from Letters Patent 20,977 dated July 20, 1858. The patent was granted to Mark Safford of Boston, Massachusetts and was assigned to himself and George P. Kinney, also a resident of Boston. In the 1860 U.S. Federal Census, Safford, then aged 42 years, listed his occupation as "machinist."

Mark Safford also invented an extinguisher for a coal oil burner. For this invention, he was granted patent number 64,578 on May 7, 1867. One cut from the patent drawing is shown below. The gist of the invention, from the patent claim, is: "The invention consists in applying the extinguisher to the burner in such a manner that it shall be actuated by a cam applied to the wick-elevator shaft, so that the rotation of this shaft, in the set of elevating the wick, when lighting the lamp, shall first move the extinguisher from off the wick-tube, and then raise the wick above the tube the requisite distance, the extinguisher subsequently coming back to place upon the lowering of the wick within its tube."

In addition to these two lighting patents, Safford also obtained patents for an ironing board, number 61,569; a soap dish, number 77,536; a screw-press for extracting fruit juice, number 117,468; and a friction device for supporting mirrors, number 278,364. If you are interested in viewing these patents, these is a patent search interface below.

The advertisement shown above is from the Boston Almanac for the Year 1861, No. XXVI. It is printed in red ink on a three section fold-out that contains a map of Boston of the reverse. The ad states:

Safford & Kinne's Patent Hydro-Carbon Vapor Lamp.  
Each burner is regulated, by a touch of the hand, to burn 
two, four, or six brilliant jets.  Six jets will burn an 
hour at a cost of one cent; or two small jets all night 
for a cent, making a saving of 25 per cent over any other 
way of burning the fluid.  Any concussion or breakage of 
the lamp will immediately extinguish the light, which 
renders the Lamp the safest known kind for the purpose 
While it seems unlikely that the extinguisher (on the vapor burner) would have worked as flawlessly as the advertisement claimed, it appears as though the burner would have been easily adjustable to regulate

Safford Extinguisher
Mark Safford's manual extinguisher, patent number 64,578 dated May 7, 1867.
the size and number of jets burning at any time - the precursor to the electric lamp dimmer, if you will. The fuel economy in "night light" mode may have been a selling point to the thrifty consumer.

The lamps featuring the Safford & Kinne's vapor burners were being sold by G.D. Jarves & Cormerais, 51 Federal Street, Boston, which notes them as "General agents for the sale of burners, lamps and rights." It is interesting to note that Kinney's name is spelled "Kinne" in the advertisement. The author is uncertain which spelling is correct, but would wager that the one in the advertisement is the correct version. George D. Jarves and Henry Cormerais had been in business in Boston since at least 1850 as they are listed in the Boston City Directory that year. They are listed as glass merchants. They also had a store in New York City. Trow's New York City Directory for the year ending May 1, 1857 lists them as located at 81 Fulton Street. The one-line entry lists "platedware" as their main line. In 1859 NYC Directory they are listed under "Gas Fixture Makers" at 113 William Street.

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To view any of the patents referenced in this article, enter the patent number in the field below and click Query USPTO Database. This will open in a new window and take you to the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office Database - directly to the patent in question. Learn more about the USPTO here.

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