1796 – 1859
Who was Walter Hunt?
Walter Hunt was an American mechanic. He was born in Martinsburg, New York. Through the course of his work he became renowned for being a prolific inventor, notably of the lockstitch sewing machine, safety pin, a forerunner of the Winchester repeating rifle, a successful flax spinner, knife sharpener, streetcar bell, hard-coal-burning stove, artificial stone, street sweeping machinery, the velocipede, and the ice plough.
Walter Hunt did not realize the significance of many of these when he invented them; today, many are widely used products. He thought little of the safety pin, selling the patent for a paltry sum of $400 to the company W R Grace and Company, to pay a man to whom he owed $15. He failed to patent his sewing machine at all, because he feared that it would create unemployment among seamstresses.. In seeking patents for his inventions, Hunt used the services of Charles Grafton Page, a patent solicitor who had previously worked at the US Patent Office. Like Howe, Hunt is buried in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.