Today in 1947, US Patent 2428321 A was issued, an invention of Freddie Morford and Wilfred E. Rivard, for their “Hop Picking Fingers.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:
In hop-picking machines, as presently used, there are approximately twenty thousand fingers per machine and it is necessary after each day-of-operation to check each of the fingers, many of which invariably require straightening. During the straightening operation, some of the fingers break, due principally to crystallization, and must be replaced. The maintenance and replacement of the fingers is costly and in addition, each finger bent during operation, decreases the operating efficiency of the machine. After much experimentation, we have found that the device of the present invention corrects these shortcomings with the. result that the original operating efficiency of the fingers, and their appurtenances, is retained throughout the entire hop picking season.
It is therefore within the contemplation of this invention to provide hop picking fingers which are not subject to distortion when normally used, yet are inherently resilient to yield, under load, Within predetermined limits.
It is further within the objects of the invention to employ fingers which will be unaffected by crystallization; to reinforce each finger at its locus of stress; to provide a finger which may be flexed to any degree within maximum demands even under extraordinary working conditions; to provide a finger in which the yieldable reinforced portions are coaxial with the fingers to retard crystallization of the fingers and effect instant return of the fingers to their normal position upon release of load stress; and to provide fingers which may be used with standard hop-picking machines without appreciable increase in cost.
It is also an object of this invention, not only to provide a hop picking finger which includes a pair of springs arranged in a particular manner, but likewise to interengage the fingers preparatory to securing the latter to the finger bar for uniform distribution of stress.