August 2018 Article Feature



George B Mess Motometer Patent Guard #13
George Mess Motometer Guard Patent Drawi


August 2018 Article Feature




George B. Mess of Charleston, West Virginia is a little known motometer-related product inventor of the early 1920s.


Born in 1891 and in 1921 resided in Charleston, West Virginia at the time that he patented a motometer retaining, i.e., “Guards” device.


At the turn of the 20th Century’s second decade the BOYCE MOTO-METER radiator-mounted engine temperature indicator was well on its way to becoming a commonplace automobile accessory atop nearly every automobile, truck and tractor in use in America and around the world.  Theft of these gauge-devices was also on the rise as their popularity, utility and style statement was increasing its appeal. 


Certain inventing entrepreneurs set about penetrating this rapidly expanding accessory product market by creating and making ancillary devices such as radiator caps, ornamental mascots and retaining products, which included George B. Mess.


On August 23, 1921 George received the official patent for his “Motometer Guards” that was somewhat similar to the Lee Lock, announced as a new product in the Automobile Trade Journal issue of June 1, 1921 with the exception that George’s device featured an external spring to pre-load the radiator filler tube “locking” straight bar.


On September 3, 1918, George had already patented a “Tool for Removing Valve Parts.”


George contracted with the Stant Manufacturing Company of Connersville, Indiana - home to the Lexington and McFarlan Motor Car Companies – to manufacture, market, sell and distribute George’s invention as a commercial product.  Prior to George’s arrangement with the Stant Company he sought assistance from the Moto-Meter Company of Long Island City, New York.


MotometerCentral’s™ founder possesses the original patent and support documents, including hand drawings, notes, contacts letters with the Stant Company & receipts, and George Mess’ contact letter with the Moto-Meter Company.  The Moto-Meter letter is extremely rare, unique and a one of a kind, lone surviving and only know extant hand signed example of BOYCE MOTO-METER inventor, Harrison H. Boyce.


Unfortunately George’s Motometer Guards device(s) possessed a sales limiting design flaw that prevented greater commercial sales success – its design only fit a very limited number of automobile radiator types and the Moto-Meter Company already had a contract-bound, industry-leading competitor.

No other motometer collection is known to possess a directly related original patent and an original hand ink signed letter or document in Harrison Boyce's own handwriting. 


(FYI - Harrison's letter is not only "live ink" signed but is dated and on Motometer Company letterhead stationary.  This the only extant true example of Harrison H. Boyce's signature.  The document is currently on exhibit at the Ontario County Historical Society Museum located at 55 North Main Street Canandaigua, NY 14424  This document was previously previewed to subscribers of the Motometer Collectors Association's The Monitor Newsletter.)

Nonetheless, George B. Mess lived a long life eventually passing away in 1980 at the age of 89 years due to a stroke (brain hemorrhage).



SINCE 1912

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