Gadgets and Gizmos

This online exhibition celebrates the ingenuity of the people of the Santa Cruz Mountains through the patents they filed or the patented machinery they built here. Enjoy exploring this exhibition by clicking the links below.


Uren, Dunstone, and Blight's Fuse Factory

In 1869, a fuse factory was erected on Zayante Creek in Felton. The company was incorporated as Lake Superior and Pacific Fuse Company and the principal stockholders were the inventors and patentees Richard Uren, Thomas Dunstone, and Joseph Blight. The plant was also known as the Eagle Fuse-works. Click Here to Read More.

Fuse Factory Patent


Romanzo Erastus Wood's Gopher Trap

Romanzo Erastus Wood, better known as R. E., and his wife Mary Olmstead Wood, arrived in Santa Cruz County around 1868. The register of voters in 1869 describes Wood's self-stated occupation as a broom-maker. What an understatement! Wood was an incredibly talented individual. An inventor, industrialist, landscape photographer, traveler, showman, and a talented, opinionated, sometimes cryptic, writer with a poetic bent, who wrote under many pseudonyms. Click Here to Read More.

Gopher Trap Patent


Judge James Harvey Logan's Berries

In 1880, Judge James Harvey Logan began experimenting with blackberries. He considered the “flavor of the wild blackberry of the Pacific Slope unrivaled.” Logan planted wild blackberries and variety called Texas Early, a domestic blackberry that bloomed at the same time, in adjacent rows in his Ben Lomond Mountain garden. He also planted a row of Red Antwerp raspberries. Click Here to Read More.

Right: Mammoth Blackberry from The Loganberry by Mary E. Logan.

Mammoth Blackberries


William Dow's Engines

William Robert Dow was the inventor of a new type of compound steam engine, that is a steam engine where the steam is expanded in two or more stages. This new engine was intended “to overcome the limitations of the present types in the service of the Southern Pacific Co.”

He was also the holder of a patent for a gas engine, filed in 1898, while he was living in Boulder Creek. Click Here to Read More.

Dow's Engine


John Armstrongs's Water Elevator

In 1901, John Armstrong of Santa Cruz patented an automatic water-elevator. The device used a small flow of water with considerable fall, to move a portion of that water to a higher elevation.

A tower would be erected in a gulch where the top of the tower would be around five feet below a spring. Water was piped to the top of the tower and allowed to fall into buckets attached to an endless chain. When the buckets were full, about every four minutes, the chain moved, setting the pump to work for one minute forcing the water upwards to its destination. Advertisements for the elevator boasted it could raise water up to 450 feet. Click Here to Read More.

Armstrong's Water Elevator