The Gem apple parer made by Reading Hardware Company was based upon a design patented by Adolph Rippien (1827-1897) of Reading, Pennsylavia. Rippien was granted letters patent for his apple parer on October 5, 1880 and stated that one of his goals was to make the parer as compact and small as possible to, "facilitate transportion and storage."
Rippien's design is truly unique in that he used a knife arm sandwhiched between two turntables to engineer a slow return parer. One of his inventive claims was for two turntables rotating in opposite directions, one to carry the knife arm as it pares the apple and the other to carry the knife arm back to starting position.
The second patent embossed on the Gem was granted to Levi D. Farwell and Artemus W. Goddard on May 5, 1868 for the push-off mechanism. The push-off on our example is broken as are many for this model.
Rippien was granted five patents related to apple parers, all of which were assigned to William M. Griscom, Matthan Harbster, and William Harbster, partners in the Reading Hardware Company. William Morris Griscom (1823-1919) was married to Ellen Harbster (1828-1864), sister to William Harmen Harbster (1823-1885) and Matthan Harbster (1831-1912). To learn more about the history of the Reading Hardware Company, see Thornton.
The advertisement above illustrates the first version of the Gem apple parer in which the upper turntable is only partially covered. This version is marked GEM and PATENT PENDING on the turntable cover. The push-off on known examples of this parer still carry the May 5, 1868 patent date.
The advertisement indicates two patent dates, November 14, 1876 and October 5, 1880. The November 14, 1876 patent date is incorrect as that patent was for an "Improvement in combined apple parer, corer, and slicer" granted to William M. Griscom (Griscom, 1876). Griscom's 1876 patent was primarily concerned with a hinge in the frame and was utilized for Reading's Champion and '78 apple parers.
The Gem was priced at $7.15 per dozen in this catalogue.
To learn more about the GEM visit the Article seciton of our website.
Farwell, L. D. and Goddard, A. W., inventors, Improved Fruit-Parer, 1868 May 5. US77600.
Griscom, W. M., inventor, Improvement in combined apple parer, corer, and slicer, 1876 November 14. US184371.
Lambert, J. (2015). GEM: Reading Hardware's Little Jewel, visit Article section to access this reference.
Price List and Illustrated Catalogue of Hardware Manufactured by The Reading Hardware Company, Reading, PA., USA. (1885). Reading PA: B. F. Owen, p. 5.
Rippien A., inventor, Improvement in Apple Paring Machines, 1875 Oct. 19. US169040.
Rippien A., inventor, Apple-Parer, 1880 Oct. 5. US233023.
Rippien A., inventor, Apple-Parer, 1882 Dec. 12. US269117.
Rippien A., inventor, Apple-Parer, 1883 Jan. 16. US270845.
Rippien A., inventor, Apple-Parer, 1883 July 17. US281559.
Thornton, D. 1997. Apple Parers. Sunnyvale, California: Off Beat Books.