American Silversmiths

Joseph Annin
Melinda Weld
James Annin


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James Annin
  • Born: 29 Jul 1828, Le Roy NY

  General notes:

Jeweler and watchmaker

  Events in his life were:

  • He worked in 1843-1849 as a jeweler in Boston MA
  • He worked in 1850-1880 as a jeweler and watchmaker in Le Roy NY
  • He appeared on the 1860 census taken at Le Roy NY, listed as a watchmaker.
  • He appeared on the 1870 census taken at Le Roy NY, listed as a jeweler.

  • He was issued patent number 198,065 on 11 Dec 1877



    Specification forming part of Letters Patent No. 198,065, dated December 11, 1877; application filed October 22, 1877.

    To all whom it may concern:
    Be it known that I, James Annin, of Le Roy, in the county of Genesee and State of New York, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Napkin Ring and Holder Combined; and I do hereby declare that the following is a full, clear, and exact description thereof, which will enable others skilled in the art to which it appertains to make and use the same, reference being had to the accompanying drawings, and to letters of reference marked thereon, which form a part of this specification.
    The object of this invention is to produce a napkin-ring that shall not only form a holder-for the napkin when not in use, but shall furnish a clasp for securing it to the neck of the wearer when seated at the table, thus avoiding the use of pins, buttons, and other devices now used for that purpose; and the invention consists in forming the ring of two or more pieces, jointed to each other, the combined length of which shall be such as to partially or wholly encircle the neck of the wearer, while the length of a single piece shall nearly equal the circumference of the ring when used to hold the folded napkin, all as will be hereinafter fully set forth, and then specifically pointed out in the claims.
    Figure 1 of the drawings shows the ring closed up, as when used for holding the folded napkin. Fig. 2 is a side view of the same with name-plate attached. Fig. 3 shows the ring expanded, as when used as a clasp to hold the napkin about the neck of the wearer. Fig. 4 is a detailed view of the joint uniting the separate parts. Fig. 5 shows the ring in use as a napkin-supporter, and encircling the neck of the wearer.
    The ring may be made of any metal or other suitable material having sufficient elasticity to admit of its being doubled or folded in the manner represented in Figs. 1 and 2, so that a section of one-half or one-third of the circumference of the circle, as seen in Fig. 3, may be bent into a complete circle without permanent set or destroying its resilient qualities.
    In the drawing, a represents one part of such a ring, provided near one end with the knob b, and at the opposite end with the orifice or loop c, so arranged that when the part is bent into the form of a complete circle the knob will pass through the orifice and hold the two ends firmly together, but in such a way that they may be readily detached by slipping the knob out of the orifice when it is desired to unfold the ring and use it as a clasp.
    A name-plate, d, or other ornamental device, may be attached to the part a, near the orifice c, by solder or other suitable means. Hinged to the part a by the pivot e is the part or parts h, one or more, as may be needed to produce a clasp of the desired length to properly enclose the neck of the wearer with the interposed napkin, as shown in Fig. 5 of the drawings. The part or parts h, when the ring is closed to perform its duty as an ordinary napkin-ring, lie concentrically within the part a; and to make them more readily assume this position the part or parts h are turned upon the pivot e, so as to lie within and parallel to the part a, which may then be closed by passing the knob b through the orifice c, when the whole assumes a compact form, similar to that of the napkin-rings in common use.
    It will be apparent that the part a alone may be used as a napkin-ring, if desired, as it possesses all the desiderata required for such an article.
    Having thus described my invention, I claim as new, and desire to secure by Letters Patent of the United States, the following:
    1. A napkin-ring formed of two parts folded upon each other, as described, which may be expanded to pass around the neck, so as to form a clasp or holder, in the manner specified.
    2. The part a, provided with the orifice and knob, as set forth, in combination with the part h, and connected thereto by the joint e, to form the supporting-clasp for the napkin, in the manner shown and described.
    In testimony that I claim the foregoing as my own invention I affix my signature in presence of two witnesses.


    Walter H. Smith
    F. W. Haydon
  • He appeared on the 1880 census taken at Le Roy NY, listed as a jeweler.

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