Inventors and Patents From the City of Minneapolis

This article explores the inventions and patents that came from the Twin Cities. This includes the safety guard for railway cars and the check rein holder that were invented by Minneapolis, Minn. Other reported inventions include the Albert Lea, Minn. process for treating iron and the Montgomery, Minn. car coupling.


The City of Minneapolis is home to many inventors, as well as businesses that depend on innovation. Some of these people have created some incredible innovations that have made a world of difference. Others have become very successful entrepreneurs. One example is Earl E. Bakken, who developed the first wearable artificial pacemaker. After studying electrical engineering at the University of Minnesota, Bakken went on to co-found Medtronic, which is now a global leader in Cardiac Rhythm Disease Management, Spine, and Biologics.

This website is a great resource for entrepreneurs. It provides information and resources on everything from developing a prototype to selling a patent. The content is current and informative, and the website also hosts monthly networking events. If you’re thinking about starting a business in Minneapolis, this website is a great place to start.

In 1887, a Minneapolis lumberman named H. G. Dittbenner patented his corn harvester. The Saint Paul Globe reported on it on Feb. 26, 1887. He also patented a whiffletree center in Rochester, Minnesota.

Bold Patents

The bold batten roof patent is a new weathertight roof system that has no exposed fasteners and prevents longitudinal movement of the panels and the joint covers. This patent solves problems caused by thermal expansion in previous roofing systems, resulting in a more attractive roof appearance. The patent also features a more integrated system of roof panels and joint covers. Joint covers have transversely extending locking tabs and vertically oriented slots, and are secured over the joint in a weathert relationship.

Schwegman Lundberg Woessner

Founded in 1993, Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner is a Minnesota-based IP law firm with over 100 attorneys. The firm represents middle-market businesses, individuals, and multinational companies in the development of intellectual property.

Steve Lundberg, a founding partner of Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner, is a patent attorney at the firm. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota and a law degree from William Mitchell College of Law. Lundberg has always felt the tug to create new ways to do things. His background in technology allows him to understand the complexities of patenting an invention. Almost 5 million patents have been granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office since 1963. In 1963, there were only about 46,000 utility patents granted, but by 2011, that number had increased to 225,000.

In one case, Schwegman relied on the Fourth Circuit’s decision in Harper & Row Publishers, Inc. v. Nation Enterprises to argue that it could not charge its clients a flat fee for a copy of a public patent application. The company also charged its clients a flat fee for each document they downloaded from Private PAIR. The fees were for attorney time, paralegal time, and access to the relevant public documents. The firm also charged a flat fee of $10 for each document downloaded from Private PAIR.

Christensen, Fonder, Dardi & Herbert

Christensen, Fonder, Dar & Herbert is a top-tier IP litigation and patents firm with over 20 years of experience. Peter Dardi holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley. He then went on to do postdoctoral research at Michigan State University and the University of Minnesota. Peter graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School with highest honors and is registered to practice in Georgia and Minnesota. He also has multiple pending patents.

Christensen, Fonder, Dar & Herbert PLLC is a top IP law firm with more than ten patent attorneys and trademark and licensing specialists. They have offices across the United States and offer a variety of legal services, from trademark searches to U.S. patent preparation and opinion.

Fredrikson & Byron

Fredrikson & Byron, a large law firm in the Minneapolis area, provides a wide range of intellectual property services. Located downtown, the firm is at the heart of Minnesota’s vibrant business community. The firm has expanded over the years with the growth of the state. It began as a small firm of three attorneys serving a population of under three million, and today has offices in Des Moines, Bismarck, Fargo, Monterrey, Mexico, and Shanghai.

The plaintiff in this case is Jodi A. Schwendimann, a resident of Minneapolis. She is represented by the firm Fredrikson & Byron, P.A., which defended her. The firm’s attorneys include David A. Davenport, Brent A. Lorentz, and Daniel J. Kelly. The firm also represents Jodi A. Schwendimann and Kurt J. Niederluecke, as well as Laura L. Myers.

In the end, Schwendimann and ACT came to a settlement that prevented the plaintiff from pursuing action against Schwendimann for back wages. Schwendimann agreed to waive its right to pursue SLW for back wages, to pay the outstanding attorney’s fees, and not to pursue ACT for unpaid back wages.


This book details the dozens of “firsts” in the City of Minneapolis’ history, from its many railroad contractors to its groundbreaking work in concrete grain elevators. The editors combed through more than a hundred patents and inventions to select the fifty most noteworthy.

James J. Hill is one such example, having built the northernmost transcontinental railroad route in the United States. His Great Northern railroad was built from private funds and on land sold to immigrant farmers. It is still in operation as part of BNSF, one of only seven Class I railroads in the country.

Paul Amasa is another example of a local inventor. He was born in 1848 in La Salle, IL. He joined the C M & St P Ry in 1869 and served in a variety of capacities for fifteen years. He went on to become a superintendent of the Minneapolis and Pacific railroad until 1888, then became the general manager of the Soo line between 1898 and 1905, and finally became a v president of that railroad from 1905 until his death.

A notable businessman in the city, Robert H. Patterson, was born in Athens, Ohio. He was the sixth of eight children, and was the son of a prominent family. His father, John Patterson, was born in 1809 in Washington county, Pennsylvania. He lived to be 65 years old. Patterson received his early education from public schools and the local academy. He later went on to own a confectionery business, which merged with the National Candy Company. He also became the manager of the Paris-Murton factory, where he still operates. In addition to being a prominent businessman, Patterson also became an active member of a masonic fraternity.

Butz Thermo-electric Regulator Co.

Thermoelectric regulators are an important part of the HVAC industry. In the early 1900s, they helped make home cooling easier. Butz invented these devices and issued 13 patents during his lifetime. Today, he is known as the father of the automated control industry. The company he founded later became Honeywell International, a multi-billion-dollar corporation that employs over 100,000 people worldwide.

Butz developed a thermo-electric regulator and patented it in 1886. The company started out in Minneapolis and eventually expanded to Chicago. In 1888, Butz sold his patents and moved the company to Chicago. The company name changed several times, but the original name remains the same, Butz Thermo-electric Regulator Co.

In 1886, Albert Butz invented a device that could regulate the temperature of a coal-fired furnace. This device, called the “damper flapper,” was the precursor of the modern thermostat. Butz’s invention led to the formation of Honeywell International, one of the world’s most influential companies. In 1952, the company began marketing high-design round thermostats. Today, the company has many different products.