Walter Ruby

Ancestry.com researches

I mentioned yesterday that I signed up for a 14-day trial period with Ancestry.com. It has proven very useful so far, turning up various census and death records. If it continues to be useful, I will have to consider paying the very expensive membership fee--more than $300 a year or about $40 a month for access to their worldwide databases. I'm going to try to get as much use of it as I can in the trial period.

Jim Crax corkscrew

I should have posted this in August when I received the Jim Crax corkscrew in a private sale. This is the Walter Ruby designed and manufactured pencil corkscrew. I also have hopes of acquiring a copy of the Knud Knudsen version of the device, but for now I am happy to have this family artifact. I am not a great photographer but here is my attempt to show it off in its environment.

Knudsen's occupation in 1940 census was "making novelties"

Knud Knudsen came to America in 1906 as a laborer and hired hand and retired in 1958 as the president of a large industrial enterprise. But his heart and soul was in the metal shop as a tinkerer and inventor of consumer wares for enjoying spirits and tobacco. Even as Danbury Electric Manufacturing took off as a supplier of electrical components during the 1930s, he tinkered away with inventions for corkscrews, ashtrays, and bottle stoppers.

Knud Knudsen obituary

To learn more about Knud Knudsen, the inventor who bought the rights to my grandfather's corkscrew jimcrack, I started with the name of the company referenced in Knudsen's patent. In the filing, the patent is assigned to Danbury-Knudsen Inc., a corporation of Connecticut.

I quickly found out that the company was the successor to Danbury Electrical Manufacturing Co. and was a major supplier of automotive and industrial electrical components. Knud Knudsen was the founder and president until he sold the business to Amphenol Corp. in 1957.

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