Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Two American Inventors

Two facts (I have to trust they are facts) listed in Historical Events for 6 May inspired today's post:
On May 6, 1833 John Deere made the first steel plow (sources vary on the year).
On May 6, 1851 The Yale lock, invented by Linus Yale Jr was patented (sources vary on the year).
Both inventions are still in use today, I think, or at least variations on their basic forms.

I'll take a quick look at the two inventors, then their natal charts.

John Deere was born in Rutland, Vermont,
on February 7, 1804. His name was to remain long in the public gaze in rural USA, adorning many ubiquitous bright green and yellow painted farm machinery, vehicles and implements, not to mention similarly coloured articles of clothing and accessories bearing the John Deere brand name.

John didn't have an easy start in life. His father was lost at sea on a voyage to England to collect an inheritance. John was raised by his mother and probably received only a very basic level of education. He was apprenticed to a blacksmith in his native Vermont. After marriage and trying to raise a young family in the then depressed business climate of Vermont, he moved to Illinois where he hoped his blacksmith skills would be more in demand.

On discovering that the soils of Illinois were heavy and sticky, too much so for the plows then available, which had been produced to deal with lighter, sandy soils, John Deere set about inventing an alternative. He visualised a highly polished, properly shaped blade, convinced that such a blade could scour itself as it cut furrows. He made a prototype from a broken piece of saw blade. It must have worked! By the 1840s the new plows were selling well In 1843, John Deere entered partnership with Leonard Andrus to produce more plows to meet increasing demand.

John Deere was active in public life throughout his career. He died on May 17, 1886, at his home in Moline.
The company he founded, Deere & Company is now a world leader in its field (no pun intended!)

(Information from the John Deere website)

Linus Yale Jr, inventor of the still popular Yale lock - a pin-tumbler cylinder design. He was born in Salisbury, New York, on April 4, 1821.

Young Linus, a lad with a variety of gifts, was a talented artist, studied portrait painting, but also possessed seemingly innate mechanical skills and ingenious insights. These talents could well have been inherited from his father, also an inventor with links to sawmill processing as well as lock designing.

Linus Jr decided against a career as an artist, a decision possibly occasioned by the death of his father. He opened his own lock business in Shelburne Falls, Mass. Among many other new lock designs, Yale's best-known invention was the now famous cylinder pin-tumbler lock.

The basic concept was used in ancient Egypt around 4,000 years ago, in locks that were very large (up to two feet long) and made out of wood. The design has a main barrel which is drilled so it has usually five or six cylindrical slots that are set close together in a line. A metal pin, or "tumbler," fits closely to the walls of each of the slots. A second metal pin, or "driver," sits above the tumbler and is pushed down on the tumbler by a very small coil spring, which is permanently compressed as it sits inside the lock's enclosed case. Though similar to the pin-tumbler lock his father had invented years earlier, Yale's lock used a smaller, flat key with serrated edges like the ones we still use today. When inserted into the lock, the key pushes the bottom pins into the right position, which allows the user to turn the key and unlock the lock. Yale patented his cylinder pin-tumbler lock in 1861
(Note: 1861 does not tally with the date given at "Historical Events" website - doesn't matter too much for my own purposes, information surrounding the invention is the important part.)

More information at Inventor of the Week, HERE.


John Deere: born in Rutland, Vermont, on February 7, 1804. Chart set for 12 noon, time of birth unknown. Moon and ascendant not as shown.

Linus Yale Jr born in Salisbury, New York, on April 4, 1821. Chart set for 12 noon, time of birth unknown. Moon and ascendant will not be as shown.

John Deere's chart contains more of what I'd expect to see in the chart of an inventor: Aquarius - text books have long been telling us that Aquarius, and Uranus its modern ruler, have invention as part of their astro "toolbag". As well as Sun, Mercury Venus and Moon's North Node in Aquarius there are Saturn and Uranus (Aquarius' ancient and modern rulers) in Libra making harmonious trines (120*) to one or other of the Aquarius planets.

Linus Yale Jr's chart has a stellium (cluster of planets) in Aries (the initiator) and another next-door in Pisces (the creative dreamer). All personal planets are there apart from Moon which would have been in Taurus whatever his time of birth. Taurus Moon possibly reflects his early gravitation to art, maybe even in later life he still, deep down, embraced a love of drawing and painting. Uranus in this chart is tightly conjunct Neptune in Earthy Capricorn, again there's a blend of invention (Uranus) and artistic creativity (Neptune), and some Capricornian business savvy.

Yale's chart is especially tightly clustered. Neither chart is widely spread across the whole zodiac circle, indicating the owners' sharp focus on their interests and goals.


mike said...

I've never found a distinctive astrological mark(s) for inventors or careers in general.

I'm a bit fascinated by Yale's natal chart. Only Uranus and Neptune in square aspects, with everything else (less the Moon?) involved in conjunctions.

I've known several individuals with planets tightly placed...transits play havoc with them. Each has shown particular and intense rigidity in their schemes of life, or the "sharp focus" you mention, but peculiarly aberrant...as if their personalities were not their own, but reflections of who they thought they should be based on their surroundings.

Twilight said...

mike ~ I've found reason to argue with astrology textbooks on Aquarius before too. It's one sign I suspect they didn't diagnose quite as well as some others. Maybe if Uranus hadn't been allocated to Aquarius the sign's characteristics would have remained nearer to the truth? I often think so. It'd have remained the Airy side of Saturn. Leaving Uranus to freelance and to shed its quirky, unexpected - and potentially inventive - light on all or some.

In John Deere's case his chart did happen to fit text book lore though - like a stopped clock?

Those tightly clustered charts have to be very uncomfortable when their native is facing slow Pluto transits -YIKES!

I haven't personally, knowingly, met anyone with such a tight chart, but your description sounds about right, depending, I guess on the sign(s) involved. There was a time in - I think 1962 - when a whole gaggle of planets were in Aquarius. Garth Brooks, Sarah Palin and a couple of other "celebs" were born around that time.