ARIZONA AT 100

Inventor stood to make fortune on his patent

2011-11-21T00:00:00Z Inventor stood to make fortune on his patentArizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
November 21, 2011 12:00 am  • 

In this year leading up to Arizona's centennial, Feb. 14, 2012, we'll reprint a story or excerpts each day from the Arizona Daily Star or Tucson Citizen archives.

Nov. 13, 1912

PRESCOTT - Letters have been received in Prescott during the past few days, making anxious inquiry of the whereabouts of John M. Johnson, who will be remembered as a resident of the city many years ago. He was then employed by the Western Union Telegraph company as an operator and perfected an electrical transmitting device for which a United States patent was granted him.

A fortune awaits the inventor, if alive, and W. S. Mayers, of Fairmount, West Virginia, is anxious to secure the patent rights of the little device, hence the inquiry that is being made by the prospective purchaser to ascertain where Mr. Johnson may be living.

The parties having the matter in hand have learned that Mr. Johnson passed away several years ago in Reno, Nevada, it is believed as a result of a stroke of paralysis. His wife was with him at the time. If the latter is alive, she will be the beneficiary of the valuable patent of her husband, which it is said will reach the snug little fortune of over $50,000.

Mr. Johnson perfected his invention at the Corner Drug Store, then owned by W. W. Ross, and where the Western Union office was located at that time. He stated to friends that someday the usefulness of the electrical attachment would be appreciated by old time telegraphers, who were afflicted with what he termed as creeping paralysis of the arm, and that sooner or later the companies of the country would install it in the service. Although nearly twenty years have passed away, the prophecy of the inventor has at last been verified, and now after he has been laid away for ten years, his genius is to be rewarded as it should have been while he was in failing health. It was through his affliction his fertile brain asserted itself in behalf of those operators who were to follow him in after years. It is believed that Mrs. Johnson is residing on the coast, and an effort will be made to locate her at once.

Arizona Daily Star

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