By Michael Messinger and Ioannis Papaioannou

In remembrance of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, we take a look at patent filings at the time by Tulsa, Oklahoma inventors.

An examination of the trend for Tulsa inventors shows a decline in utility U.S. patent filings after May 30, 1921 when the events began. 

This decline occurred as part of an overall decline from 1920-1922 followed by a sharp increase around 1923.

Many of the patents by Tulsa inventors in 1921 related to improvements in oil wells and natural gas processing.  The last patent filed by a Tulsa inventor before the Tulsa Massacre was directed to a washing machine, while the first patent after the initial events was to a connecting rod gauge and straightener for internal combustion engines.

Our search was carried out on the Google Patents tool with terms limited by filing date and patents having terms Tulsa, Oklahoma.  In patents at this time, the inventors often listed their residence by city, state and were reflected in the hits we obtained.  For purposes of this post, we did not manually confirm the entire data set results nor were we able to further narrow to inventive activity within the Greenwood District so we broadened our query to Tulsa.

Tulsa Race Massacre
For more information on the historical events, see

https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=TU013

https://www.history.com/topics/roaring-twenties/tulsa-race-massacre

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/long-lost-manuscript-contains-searing-eyewitness-account-tulsa-race-massacre-1921-180959251/

Let’s zoom in.

Pat. No.


Title


Assignee


Inventors


Filing Date


Grant Date


 


US-1506593-A


Adjuster bar


Lemex John Dell


Lemex John Dell


5/5/21


8/26/24


https://patents.google.com/patent/US1506593A/en


US-1485083-A


Apparatus for cracking hydrocarbons and recovering
gasoline


Meinhard H
Kotzebue, Levi M Bowman


Meinhard H
Kotzebue, Levi M Bowman


5/5/21


2/26/24


https://patents.google.com/patent/US1485083A/en


US-1429263-A


Deep-well fishing tool


John A Wolfe


John A Wolfe


5/6/21


9/19/22


https://patents.google.com/patent/US1429263A/en


US-1446534-A


Washing machine


Workman Ross Alexander


Workman Ross Alexander


5/25/21


2/27/23


https://patents.google.com/patent/US1446534A/en


1921 Tulsa Massacre events: May 31-June 1, 1921


US-1408023-A


Connecting-rod gauge and straightener


Fred W Nuerwell


Fred W Nuerwell


6/6/21


2/28/22


https://patents.google.com/patent/US1408023A/en


US-1596608-A


Rope knife and rope-serving device


Oil Well Supply Co


Charles E Gallman, Jack Harshaw,
Frank S Haire


6/11/21


8/17/26


https://patents.google.com/patent/US1596608A/en


US-1432674-A


Gas-energy control for flowing oil or gas wells


Erd V Crowell


Erd V Crowell


6/11/21


10/17/22


https://patents.google.com/patent/US1432674A/en


US-1494492-A


Measuring device


Lee Sidney


Lee Sidney


6/14/21


5/20/24


https://patents.google.com/patent/US1494492A/en


US-1556712-A


Portable gas tester for the determination of gasoline
content of natural gas


Benjamin Estell Allison


Ponsler Roscoe


6/14/21


10/13/25


https://patents.google.com/patent/US1556712A/en


US-1444998-A


Explosive container


Beck William


Beck William


6/18/21


2/13/23


https://patents.google.com/patent/US1444998A/en


US-1422078-A


Automobile sand and mud dog for attaching to vehicle
wheels


Demarkus S Blackwell


Demarkus S Blackwell


6/24/21


7/11/22


https://patents.google.com/patent/US1422078A/en


Immediate Tulsa OK patents filed before and after Tulsa Race Massacre

 

US Pat. No. 1,446,534 by Ross Alexander Workman

 

The last patent filed by a Tulsa inventor before the Tulsa Massacre was directed to improvements in a washing machine.

US Pat. No. 1,408,023 by F. W. Nuerwell

 

First patent filed by a Tulsa inventor after the initial Tulsa Massacre events was directed to a connecting rod gauge and straightener for internal combustion engines.

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