The Virtual Apple Parer Museum.  Dedicated to the exhibition and educational study of antique apple parers which have both historic and artistic value.














Browne's Nonpareil Apple Parer

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John David Browne (1807-1891) of Cincinnati, Ohio was granted his first letters patent for, "A Machine for Paring Apples" on May 6, 1856. His inventive claim was for the quick return mechanism that conisted of two projections on the underside of gear J (the turntable gear) and the frame G (paring arm carriage), see Fig. 1 below. As the gear J rotates one of the projections pushes the paring arm around the apple. When paring is completed the projection moves through a space in G releasing the paring arm that snaps back to starting position due to tension in the spring. The second projection is now in place to repeat the paring procedure.

Browne's parer was featured in Scientific American on August 11, 1855 a full nine months before the patent was issued. Figure 1 in the article illustrates the parer with a spiral ledge that actuates the gear carrying the paring arm. Browne's patent application was initially rejected and required amendments. In a letter to the commissioner of patents dated December 19, 1855 Browne indicates he had made the requested amendments. He also makes the following statement,

"I see by the papers returned me from the office that Munn & Co. amended them on the 8th of October last making the matter rather worse claiming the spiral ledge as a mover whereas it was only used as a means of reducing the speed and I have despensed with it entirely employing gear in its place as you will preceive by the accompanying cut."

J. L. Haven & Co. manufactured Browne's Nonpareil and Eclipse apple parers (Thornton, p. 111). Browne's Eclipse Apple Parer used a geared mechanism to slowly return the paring knife to starting position instead of a spring. Browne's geared, slow return mechanism was an inventive claim of his September 9, 1856 patent (Browne, Sept. 1856). This patent was also applied to the mechanism used for the Monroe Brother's Apple Parer and related Gold Medal.

It is important to be aware of the fact that the name Eclipse was also used for a Monroe Brother's return parer patented on January 27, 1863 as well as a "Gold Medal with push-off" advertised by J. L. Haven & Co. (James F. Monroe and Edwin P. Monroe, 1863; 'L. A. Sayre, Newark, N. J.', 1891). No known examples of Browne's Eclipse or that of J. L. Haven's Gold Medal with push-off have surfaced.

To learn more about Browne's apple parers visit the article section of our website.


Browne's Apple Parer

Browne's Apple Paring Machine
Scientific American Aug. 11, 1855, p. 380


J. D. Browne's Nonpareil Apple Parer
J. D. Browne's 1854 Nonpareil, Patented May 6, 1856
Design used in patent drawings and the engraving above.

A letter to the commissioner of patents dated December 19, 1855 indicates that Browne abandoned the spiral ledge in favor of a bevel gear and included an engraving to illustrate the updated design; even so, the issued letters patent retained the description and patent figures for the "scroll or spiral ledge" (Browne, May 1856).



Browne's Woodcut from Patent File 14,800


J. D. Browne Apple Parer
J. D. Browne's 1854 Nonpareil
The spiral ledge was replaced by bevel gear during the patent process.

The parer above matches the woodcut that Browne provided to the patent office. Both versions of the Browne parer shown above are embossed with J.D. BROWNE'S 1854 NONPAREIL PATENT PENDING on the drive gear. Early illustrations of the Nonpareil include a "deflecting shield" on the paring head to guide parings away from the machine.






'Apple Paring Machine.' Scientific American, August 11, 1855, 10(48), p. 380.

Browne, J. D., inventor, Machine for Paring Apples, 1856 May 6. US14800.

Browne, J. D., inventor, Apple-Parer, 1856 Sept. 9. US15683.

Browne, J. D. "To W. C. Mason Commissioner of Patents." 19 December 1855, in Patent File 14,800, National Archives Kansas City, Missouri.

'L. A. Sayre, Newark, N. J.' The Iron Age, 1891 July 16, p. 115 (see also 'Apple Parers' p. 154 for price correction).

Monroe J. F. and Monroe E. P., inventors; Improved Apple-Paring Machine. 1863 Jan. 27. US37516.

Patent File 14,800, Browne 6 May 1856, National Archives, Kansas City, Missouri.

Thornton, D. 1997. Apple Parers. Sunnyvale, California: Off Beat Books, p. 111.

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