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James William McGhee (1882-1968)

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James W. McGhee 01a

James William McGhee (1882-1968) in 1921

1475306

James William McGhee (1882-1968) patent 1475306

1521030

James William McGhee (1882-1968) patent 1521030

James William McGhee (1882-1968) Inventor (April 28, 1882 – August 6, 1968) was an inventor, manufacturer, prospector, carpenter, contractor, and interior design specialist. Born in Eminence, Kentucky he was the inventor of the non-sew-on drapery hook and ring, currently being used in most homes and businesses throughout the world. He also had many other inventions and patents in the United States and Canada. McGhee was a builder, carpenter, and interior design specialist in the Los Angeles and Hollywood areas. Latter in life he prospected for gold and other precious metals in the Sierra Nevada, and San Bernardino mountain ranges.

ParentsEdit

SiblingsEdit

  • John McGhee
  • Etta McGhee
  • Ethel McGhee
  • George L. McGhee
  • Lora McGhee

World War IEdit

In 1918 he was working for the Garr Piano Company in Los Angeles when he volunteered for service. He entered service, in the US Army, and was trained at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. He was at the battle of Meuse in the Argonne Forrest.

ChildrenEdit

He married Edna Lewis (1895-1969) 21 June 1915 and had the following children:

Inventor and manufacturerEdit

He co-founded McGhee and Jenks Manufacturing Co. in Los Angeles, California where he manufactured hooks, rings, and other drapery hardware.



The non-sew-on drapery hook or the pin-in drapery hook is a useful invention. The drapery hook keeps the draperies attached to the traverse tracks and drapery rods. Without this invention the draperies would fall down. The invention adds to the ease in which people everywhere can install their own draperies. Draperies add insulation to homes and business and also insure privacy and have aesthetic appeal. The drapery hook helps people install this type of rudimentary insulation without the time consuming and labor intensive use of seamstresses and sewing machines. Insulating homes and businesses reduces energy use and helps reduce global warming.

Patent disputeEdit

Patent 1475306 was the subject of an infringement lawsuit in 1929.


Michael J. McGhee writes: "His Canadian patent number 246361 (drapery hook) was never infringed. It was common in those days for large corporations to 'slap suite' and infringe on small inventors until there legal/financial resources had been depleted. Also jury tampering and payoffs to judges were par for the course in the 1920s, the days of Al Capone. The stakes have always been high in the manufacturing business. Even Edison tried to keep a lid on his inventions (cameras and projectors) with no success."

DeathEdit

His death was due to heart complications. He passed away August 6, 1968 at the county hospital in San Bernardino, California.

Memories about James William McGheeEdit

Michael McGhee writes:

James William McGhee (April 28, 1882 – August 6, 1968) was an inventor, manufacturer, and interior designer. Born in Eminence, Kentucky he was the inventor of the non-sew-on drapery hook and ring, currently being used in most homes and businesses throughout the world. He also had many other inventions and patents in the United States and Canada. McGhee had maintained his manufacturing plant at 2501 2nd Avenue in Los Angeles. He also had interior design shops and drapery hardware shops in the Los Angeles and Hollywood areas. He co-founded McGhee and Jinks Manufacturing Co. in Los Angeles, California where he manufactured hooks, rings, and other drapery hardware. His death was due to heart complications. He passed away August 6, 1968 at the county hospital in San Bernardino, California. He is survived by his wife Edna, son George L. McGhee, MS (founder of the California State Association of Marriage Family and Child Counselors) and daughter, actress/electrical engineer Barbara Ann McGhee aka Maria Hart.

External linksEdit

  • James William McGhee (1882-1968) biography
  • Canadian Patents Database
  • Circuit Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit; May 27, 1929 "Appellants brought this suit for the infringement of patent No. 1475306, issued November 27, 1923, to James W. McGhee. The patent relates to a drapery hook, which, as shown in the drawings and embodied in the commercial product, consists of a piece of spring wire a little over three inches long, blunt at one end and drawn to a point at the other, so shaped that the major portion thereof, beginning with the blunt end, forms an inverted "U" and the other end is bent outward with a sharper but slightly looped curve until the upper part thereof approximates contact for some distance with the leg of the U. In use the device is engaged with the drapery by an upward thrust of the pointed arm into the top border, and the other end is hooked over the rod or bar or other means provided for hanging the drapery. The spring pressure between the pointed arm and the hook tends to hold the device to the impinged fabric. Being the manufacturer of the hook defendant sells, the H. L. Judd Company of New York assumed the defense. Its device is substantially identical with that of the plaintiffs, and the real issue is of the validity of the patent. Holding that the patent discloses no invention the court below entered a decree dismissing the suit, and from that decree plaintiffs prosecute this appeal. They concede that when they entered it the field was crowded, and they claim for their patent only a narrow range. With the lower court, we fail to find in plaintiffs' device any patentable novelty; certainly there is no invention in the hook member. Hooks of all shapes and materials are among the commonest things of life. In size, strength, and shape they are to be adapted to needs and tastes, and the adaptation of a hook to suit the pole, rod, bar, or rings from which the drapery is to hang is readily made by any person of common intelligence. There is no invention."

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