American Silversmiths

Luther Burt
Mary White
John Burt


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John Burt
  • Born: 30 Jan 1815, Hartford CT
  • Died: 7 Jan 1870, Hartford CT

  General notes:


  Events in his life were:

  • He appeared on the 1850 census taken at Hartford CT, listed as a spectacle manufacturer.
  • He was a partner circa 1851-1860 with William Wallace Willard with Willard acting as the agent for Burt's periscopic gold and silver glasses.

  • He was issued patent number 23,485 on 4 Jan 1859


    Specification of Letters Patent No. 23,485, dated January 4, 1859.

    To all whom it may concern:
    Be it known that we, John Burt, of the city of Hartford, county of Hartford, and State of Connecticut, and William W. Willard, of the city of Syracuse, county of Onondaga, State of New York, have invented new and useful Improvements in the Mode of Constructing Spectacles; and we do hereby declare that the following is a correct description thereof, reference being had to the accompanying drawing and to the letters of reference marked thereon.
    The nature of our invention, or improvement, consists in employing a link joint in the nose piece and constructing and arranging, short bows, with tension springs and holding cups or parts on the end of said bows, thereby constituting a compact, convenient, and desirable article for use and trade.
    To enable others skilled in the art to make and use our improvements we will proceed to describe their construction and operation.
    The drawing Figure 1 is a view of the spectacles open for use; Fig. 2, is a view when closed; Fig. 3, is a side view when closed; Fig. 4, the short bow showing the form of the spring joint.
    Our invention and improvements embrace several new and useful points in the manufacture of this new article of commerce— (viz.) neatness, elegance and compactness. The long and cumbrous temple bows are dispensed with, and short ones introduced, the whole being arranged with improved joints, and also with a folding or double joint in the center of the nose piece x, so constructed as to allow the folding together of the glass frame and the short temple bows and cups, forming one of the most convenient and snugly portable spectacles for use and for the pocket ever before invented or used.
    The folding joint A in the center of the nose piece x is formed with a tenon and two mortises, with a portion of the mortise left solid at the back part to prevent the same from going beyond the straight line when opened for use. The tenon of the joint A is of a suitable length to allow the two halves of the nose piece to be so far apart when folded up, to permit the temple bows, and cups to lie between the glasses and frame in a compact manner.
    The joints B connecting the temple bows and the end pieces of the glass frame, we make of flat metal or wire, wound around in a spiral manner H to work inside of the cylinder formed, by the end piece c. In the spiral spring H at D we fix a stop so that when the bows are open to their extent it strikes the end of the slot in the end piece joint and the spiral spring cylinder checks the bows to cause the bow cups E to press gently but firmly to the temples back of the eyes to retain the same in their position.
    The cups E are molded of a concave form attached to the ends of the short bows F, the concave part applies to the temples just back of the eyes with a pleasant, gentle but firm pressure assisted by the spiral cylindrical springs D, H.
    What we claim therefore and desire to secure by Letters Patent, is—
    The employment of the link joint A, to the nose piece x, for the purpose as described, the construction and arrangement of the short bows F, spring H, cups E, or parts, substantially in the manner and for the purpose as set forth and described.

    John Burt
    William W. Willard

    Witnesses To John Burt:
    Wm. Vine
    Chauncey Colton
    Witnesses To W. W. Willard:
    R. G. Sloan
    J. Dean Hawley

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