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














Bergner Lathe or "Should I Retrieve?"
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George Bergner (1830-1905) immigrated at age 26 to the United States from Germany. Bergner settled in Washington City, Missouri where he established himself as an inventor and entrepreneur. Bergner worked as a gunsmith but is known to have patented eight inventions, four for pruning shears, one for a velocipede, and three for apple parers (Bergner, 1868, 1869, 1870 April and August, 1871, 1872, 1873, and 1877).

Bergner established his own business in 1870; George Bergner & Co. remained in operation until 1885 (Thornton, 1997). Bergner's patented apple and peach parers are unique lathe-style designs. Collectors have identified multiple variations of Bergner parers that can be placed into two categories based upon length, "long" with a 16-inch main frame and "short" with a 11-inch main frame (Lambert, 2020). Some are designed specifically for apples while others are promoted as apple and peach parers.

All Bergner parers operate on the same basic principle, as the hand-crank is turned, a worm gear draws the apple towards the user while a rack and pinion gear rotate the paring head around the apple. Once pared, the worm gear is no longer locked and the shaft/handle assembly can be shoved forward using the palm of the hand, activating a lever to push the apple off the fork or, as in other designs, coring and slicing the fruit.

Short Bergner Apple and Peach Parer
Short Bergner Apple & Peach Parer

Bernger Apple Parer Corer and Cutter
Long Bergner Apple Parer, Corer, and Cutter

Bergner displayed his wares in the Agricultural Hall of the Centennial International Exposition of 1876, held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His parer design was given an award at the fair.

Agricultural Hall 1876
Agricultural Hall 1876, Currier & Ives, Library of Congress,

Ephermera represented by at least two advertising trade cards document Bergner parers that were on display at the 1876 exhibition (Viney, 2020). One trade card, archived at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, advertises Bergner's Combined Apple and Peach Parer, Corer and Cutter (a short frame type).

George Bergner & Co. Trade Card 1876, HSP Collection

The second known trade card advertises Bergner's Combined Apple Parer, Corer and Cutter (a long frame type) and is archived at the Hagley Museum and Library.

Bergner Trade Card 1876 World Fair
Trade Card George Bergner & Co. 1876, HML Collection

The same parer is pictured in Knight's New Mechanical Dictionary as an example of an improved apple parer (Knight, 1884, p. 43). Edward Henry Knight (1824-1883), a civil and mechanical engineer, was a member of the international jury in Philadelphia and it is probable that he met Bergner at the 1876 Exhibtion (Wilson and Fiske, p. 502; Viney, 2021).

George Bergner Combined Parer (Knight, 1884, p. 43)


Bergner, Georg, inventor; Improvement in Shears. 1868 June 23. US79191.

Bergner, Georg, inventor; Improvement in Velocipedes. 1869 June 22. US91510.

Bergner, Georg, inventor; Improvement in Pruning-Shears. 1870 April 4. US101571.

Bergner, Georg, inventor; Improvement in Pruning-Shears. 1870 August 23. US106538.

Bergner, Georg, inventor; Improvement in Pruning-Shears. 1871 November 28. US121319.

Bergner, George, inventor; Improvement in Apple-Parers, Corers, and Slicers Combined. 1872 Jan. 9. US122553.

Bergner, George, inventor; Improvement in Apple Parers. 1873 Feb. 11. US135622.

Bergner, George, inventor; Improvement in Apple Paring and Coring, and Peach and Stoning Machines. 1877 May 29. US191300.

Currier & Ives. c1876. Agricultural Hall. Grand United States Centennial Exhibition, 1876. Fairmount Park, Philadelphia. Library of Congress, LC-DIG-PGA-05765, accessed 20, Dec. 2018.

George Bergner & Co. trade card, Agricultural Hall Centennial Scrapbook, Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP) collection of Centennial Exhibition records [1544].

Knight, E. H. 1884. Knight's New Mechanical Dictionary. New York: J. B. Ford and Company.

Lambert, J. "Those Amazing Bergners," International Society of Apple Parer Enthusiasts, Issue 114 (January 2020), pp. 10-13.

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

Trade Card for George Bergner & Co.'s Combined Apple Parer, Corer and Cutter, 1876 Centennial Exhibition [AVD_2003255_SB02_pg049], Hagley Museum and Library.

Viney, M. "Knight's Mechanical Dictionaries and American Apple Parers," International Society of Apple Parer Enthusiasts, Issue 119 (April 2021), pp. 2-12.

Viney, M. "George Bergner & Co.," International Society of Apple Parer Enthusiasts, Issue 114 (January 2020), pp. 2-10.

Wilson, J. G. and Fiske, J. [Ed.] 1888. Appletons' Cyclopedia of American of American Biography Volume III. New York: Appleton and Company, p. 502.

Kelly Kaj the Lab

I think of all the parers in our collection Kelly Kaj liked the Bergner the best:)

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