This day in History – a story involving an assignment of patents


On this day in 1899, neighbors watched a messenger deliver a note to an Austrian Engineer named David Schwartz. The note contained good news. The German Government was interested in producing Schwartz’s design of a lighter than air ship. (Actually he had borrowed the design of a Frenchman named Giffard some 47 years earlier and added the newly perfected combustion engine.)

Anyway, the neighbors saw the messenger leave and the door close. They heard Schwartz screaming the equivalent in Austrian of – – “I’m Rich!! I’m Rich!!” Then the screaming got louder and with it the sound of a man dancing about in a joyous frenzy. Then it got quiet. The next sound they heard was Frau Schwartz screaming “He’s Dead!! He’s Dead!! (Schwartz got so excited about his good fortune he threw a seven.)

A few month’s later a very kindly guy bought Schwartz’s patents and designs from the widow — for a rather nominal fee. What a prince! Or so you might think but he was not. He was just a Count – – Count Ferdinand Von Zepplin and there are rumors he did okay with the invention. It may be just as well. How could you watch a football game knowing some of the shots were coming from “the Goodyear Schwartz?”


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