Three patented parers made for household use were designed to pare fruit in two directions, Samuel S. Hersey's Double Action Apple Parer, David H. Whittemore's Union Apple Parer, and a unique lathe parer, know to collectors as the "Shaking Head," by William A. C. Oaks (Hersey, 1864, Whittemore, 1866, Oaks, 1885).
Oaks's Fruit-Paring Machine is the only patented lathe parer designed to pare in two directions. His parer had another unique design element, the paring knife was given an oscillating motion that improved the removal of skin from soft fruit such as a peach. The fork described in his patent was made with flexible steel prongs held in place by two rings. This fork design was inexpensive and effectively clasped the peach seed.
The "Shaking Head" design has two shafts that keep the paring knife in gear and allow it to travel past the forks in two directions. The example in our video has two clamps and a different fork design.
Fruit-Paring Machine Fig. 1 (Oaks, 1885)
"Shaking Head" Fruit-Parer
Oaks assigned his patent to the Goodell Company. The "Shaking Head" is a rare find today and it is unknown what name was used to market the machine as no advertisements have been found. The oscillation of the paring knife that inspired the name "Shanking Head" is caused by two rotating discs with cams that force the paring head to pivot back and forth.
The lower shaft is fitted with a right-handed screw thread that moves the knife carriage away from the drive-wheel. The upper shaft is fitted with a left-handed screw thread that moves the knife carriage towards the drive-wheel. The knife carriage is guided by spring wires that cause it to tilt at the end of the two shafts allowing projections on the carriage to withdraw from one shaft thread and engage with the other, thus reciprocating the knife back and forth on the rod by a continuous turing of the drive-wheel.
Close-up Video of Oscillating Mechanism
Hersey, S. S., inventor; 1864 Aug. 30. Improved Apple-Parer. US43990.
Oaks, W. A. C., inventor; Fruit-Paring Machine. 1885 April 7. US315158.
Thornton, D. 1997. Apple Parers. Sunnyvale, California: Off Beat Books, p. 173.
Whittemore, D.H., inventor; Improved Apple Parer. 1866 Nov. 11. US59884.