Two patents and one reissue granted to Asahel Gould Batchelder (1820-1878) of Lowell, Massachusetts are associated with a slow return apple parer collectors refer to as the "Reading 2B" (Thornton, 1997). Batchelder was granted his first patent for "Improvement in Apple-Parers" on March 2, 1869. The letters patent illustrate a turntable parer; however, his inventive claim was not for the parer, it was for a push-off mechanism,
"The nature of my invention consists in providing a suitable device for apple-parers, whereby, after the apple has been pared, it will remove the same from the fork, superseding the necessity of removing the same by hand."
Batchelder was granted a reissue for this patent on May 17, 1870. These two patents are embossed on the 2B parer.
Batchelder was granted a second patent for an "Improved Machine for Paring Fruit and Vegetables" on June 7, 1870,
"My invention has reference to mechanism for returning or restoring to its position, to commence the paring of an apple, fruit, or vegetable, the knife, immediately after an apple, fruit, or vegetable may have been pared. Instead of the knife-carrier having a continuous rotary motion imparted to it, it has a reciprocating rotary motion, and is not retracted by a spring, as in other machines, but is returned by a mechanism which restores it to place without any such concussion as generally results when a spring is employed."
Ironically, this is the patent for the slow return mechanism, but it does not appear on the parer.
An advertisement in the Price List of the Reading Hardware Works Reading PA. 1871 refers to their parer as the "Reading Apple Parer" (Reading Hardware Works, 1871, p. 1). Collectors often refer to the parer as the 2B; however, there are examples of this parer with no number identification, some embossed with No. 2 and others with No. 2B. Furthermore, some parers marked as No. 2 have parts that are embossed 2B, while some with the No. 2B designation have parts marked 2. The numbering system appears to be associated with different molds.
It is not uncommon for the delicate push-off mechaism to be broken on these machines; still, the smooth return mechanism is a wonder to watch. It is important to be familiar with the motion of a parer before you try using it to pare an apple. Make sure you understand at what position the machine must be in to load the apple. If during paring the machine gets hung up and you feel the need to power through---STOP. These machines were made to work smoothly and will break easily if used incorrectly.
Batchelder, A. G., inventor, Improvement in Apple-Parers, 1869 March 2. US87322.
Batchelder, A. G., inventor, Improved Apple-Parer, 1870 May 17. USRE3970.
Batchelder, A. G., inventor, Improved Machine for Paring Fruit and Vegetables, 1870 June 7. US103830.
Reading Hardware Works (1871). '1871 Reading Hardware Works Reading, PA.: Revised Discount Sheet for 1871, and Supplement to Catalogue of 1870' in Illustrated Catalogue and Price List of the Reading Hardware Works (1870). Philadelphia: Jas. B. Chandler., page 1 of supplement, Accessed 8 May 2020, https://hdl.handle.net/2027/nnc2.ark:/13960/t2v46vs4b