Medina man had several innovations a century ago with farm gates

By Matthew Ballard, Orleans County Historian Posted 7 November 2015 at 12:00 am

MEDINA – Clarendon can stake her claim to Joseph Glidden, a one-time resident of the town who is credited with perfecting barbed wire – made quite a bit of money from it, too! Medina can stake her claim to Orrin J. Wyman, a man who set out to build a better farm gate.

Pictured on the far right is Orrin Wyman standing alongside his patented “O.K. Farm Gate.” Filing the patent on July 17, 1911, the patent was provided nearly five months later on Dec. 12, 1911. This patent states that Wyman’s “novel” farm gate was newly designed and was “bracedto prevent sagging of the outer or free end of the gate.”

This was not Wyman’s first patent, nor his first attempt to redesign the all-important device essential for farms throughout Orleans County and the United States. Orrin received his first patent on Feb. 20, 1906, when he and several other men perfected a “Barrel-heading Press;” yet another important implement for our region.

This device was used to evenly press the head of a barrel down, holding it in place while the head was secured. A rather simple gadget but one designed to make shipping fruits easier and more convenient.

After this, Wyman spent the next five years perfecting his farm gate design, receiving patents in 1907 and 1908 before creating a system that prevented lateral farm gates from catching on “snow, garbage, or other obstructions” located along the ground. This patent was granted on April 6, 1909 and paved the way for the O.K. Farm Gate seen in this image.

Orrin Wyman died on October 14, 1913 in Shelby having little time to amass any potential wealth from his invention. I would suspect that such an invention would have proved useful to Orrin’s brother-in-law, Dr. Robert Flowers, who established himself as a veterinarian in Denison, Texas.