When researching in deed books, an individual is typically looking for land records to substantiate land ownership, land location, and even heirs. However, occasionally something interesting may be found.
Julia A. Schreckegaust, a resident of Ohio, recorded an interesting document in the deed books of Ross County, Ohio. The document shows a patent petition she submitted to the Commissioner of Patents. The patent was for “an alleged new and useful Improvement in Systems of Laying out Garments.”
The document shows illustrations demonstrating the proper technique in the lay-out of what is known today as a flat pattern. She claims her invention “relates to a Simple and correct Systems whereby a person, of ordinary [intelligence] is Enabled to Measure and Cut any garment in a few Minutes and in Such a Manner as to Insure a perfect fit.”
One of the details of the document shows a sketch of her invention; the placement of a square, set of scales and how to place the pattern pieces. Step-by-step instructions on how to measure an individual to make the perfect fit are set out in detail. Julia, also points out “care being taken to have the person stand perfectly erect” while measuring for fit.
The claim for Julia’s invention was received for record on November 7, 1872 and recorded in Ross County, Ohio deed records on November 12, 1872. Two people, G. H. Knight and E. K. Mick, served as witnesses to Julia’s invention. She was granted Letters of Patent No. 129.603 on July 16, 1872. Julia Schreckengaust, was my relative, a forward thinking, strong woman who took a chance and invented a system that has been in use for years. This invention, widely used today among those who sew, I found while researching in the deed books of Ross County, Ohio.