Sunday, July 13, 2008
James Churchward, Engineer
George Jackson Churchward
Beginning in 1889, as documented from US Patent Office records, James Churchward started to file for patents on his inventions. As covered in a previous blog entry, James was affiliated with both the Bangor & Aroostook Railroad and the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Companies, however he was known for his writing and outdoor skills in the performance of those duties.
According to the records from the US Patent Office that I have viewed, James had 31 patents. The first eight are applicable to his work on the railroad. In addition to his two books on the subject of hunting and fishing, James was also a salesman as mentioned in his 1936 biography "My Friend Churchey" by Percy Tate Griffith. It does not seem to be a stretch of the imagination that while on board, his analytical mind saw improvements and acted upon them. This viewpoint is also supported by evidence that James presented a paper, "And Rail Fastenings" to the Society of Railway Superintendents prior to October 1890 [Descriptive index of current engineering literature, Vol 1; Board of managers of the Association of Engineering societies; Chicago, 1892; page 299].
In the obituary of his younger brother Albert, recorded in the London based "The Freemason"[September 12, 1925], mention is made of his inventions:
"Bro. Churchward was the inventor of a hygienic bicycle saddle, improved cycle pedals, and a new process of hardening and toughening steel and armour plates."
Alexander Churchward, James' son, patented 56 new inventions, including "Electrical lighting and battery charge system for vehicles"(1915), "Starting mechanism for internal combustion engines"(1920), and Electric arc welding"(1922). My father, Jack Churchward (and Alex's son) had seventeen inventions, including different welding processes, welding electrode holders, and boat anchors. I remember the boat anchors because from time to time as a kid, I would help out on the line at his shop, cleaning the slag from the welds. I have not been awarded any patents yet (but I'm hopeful).
Another of James' cousins was also an inventor by the name of George Jackson Churchward, Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Great Western Railway in the UK from 1902 to 1922.
I didn't recount the list of inventors with the name Churchward just to toot the family horn. James Churchward, although known as the author of several books about the Lost Continent of Mu, was also an inventor. This posting isn't meant to be an exhaustive study of his inventions (his patents are listed here,) only to indicate to interested readers that my great-grandfather was more than just some spiritualist writer of the early twentieth century.
After his Railroad inventions, all of which were patented using a Brooklyn address, James started to work on Steel. Steel processes and alloys were patented seven years after his railroad inventions. His steel patents were awarded to him starting when he was 55 years old with an address in Manhattan. In the years 1906-1907, he was awarded eleven more patents and three more in 1908. Another piece of the puzzle falls into place when you see the following newspaper clippings:
I have also read about Churchward International Steel in James' biography by Percy Tate Griffith entitled "My Friend Churchey." After reading about it, I went online and made enquiries to the Delaware Department of State to learn more about who the stock-holders were and when the corporation existed, but my letter must have disappeared into that black hole of bureaucracy. I'll be sending another letter in the future to clear up any confusion.
|Churchward International Steel Court Transcripts|
Even with the pending lawsuit, James still wasn't idle, in 1911, he filed for five more patents on alloys of Steel. As a result of the litigation, James was awarded a large settlement and four years later (1914), his common law wife, Louise (Haier) Churchward purchased 7.22 acres of land in Lakeville, Connecticut. One would imagine that since his un-divorced wife (and my great-grandmother,) Mary Julia, still lived in Boston, he might care to keep the property out of his name. The details of that are best suited for another blog at another time.
Now in 1916, James was 65 years old and had twenty-seven patents under his belt over the past 27 years. For most people that have that type of record, it would be considered a career, but James wasn't done. One notable point is that until 1917, James accorded himself as "a subject of the King of England" in his patent applications. Only in his last four patent applications would he describe himself as a citizen of the United States. At the age of sixty-six, he filed the last four application, the last one being awarded in 1922.
So, because of his career as an inventor and engineer (and the infringement on his patents), he was able to undertake/continue his study of the Lost Continent of Mu, probably starting sometime after 1917, when he finished his last patents. Over the next nine years he was able to gather his notes, research and explore until he released his first (non-hunting/fishing) book entitled "Lost Continent of Mu The Motherland of Man" in 1926 at the age of seventy-five.
These are some facts about the work of James Churchward, engineer & inventor. Another reason to mention the other Churchwards was to provide for full disclosure. The careful reader will notice that George Jackson Churchward worked on railroads as a mechanical engineer and although he was younger than James, it is possible that they knew each other and that James simply helped himself to a little intellectual property and applied for the patents in the United States. As noted in the clipping about Albert his brother, he was also an inventor and patented armour plating in the UK. Some might say that James simply spent those 28 years as an inventor because he helped himself to other people's ideas. While I think I have shown that at least some of his offspring continued inventing (and thereby implying that he had the 'invention' gene), there is other clear evidence to dispel those accusations. Since GJ Churchward worked on locomotives and James appears to have settled on improvements in the tracks and there are references to the James' papers on those improvements, I believe that such rumors can be silenced. Also, there is no evidence that clearly indicates he had any contact with G.J. Churchward, or that James copied his brother's work. As far as their theories about early man (Albert was a prolific lecturer and author), James and Albert were miles apart, but that again is a subject for another blog entry.