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Richard Spikes
Black inventor, Richard Spikes patented or developed many inventions including an improved automatic gear shift.
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Richard Spikes
Richard Spikes
Complete Patent List Issued to Richard Spikes
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Black Inventors
By Mary Bellis

Richard Spikes of San Francisco, California patented or developed the following inventions:

  • railroad semaphore (1906)
  • automatic car washer (1913)
  • automobile directional signals (1913) - manufactured by Pierce Arrow
  • beer keg tap (1910) - purchased by Milwaukee Brewing Company.
  • self-locking rack for billiard cues (1910)
  • continuous contact trolley pole (1919) - used on on the famous San Francisco Key Line.
  • combination milk bottle opener and cover (1926)
  • method and apparatus for obtaining average samples and temperature of tank liquids (1931)
  • improved automatic gear shift (1932) - licensed the patent for $100,000
  • transmission and shifting thereof (1933)
  • automatic shoe shine chair (1939)
  • multiple barrel machine gun (1940)
  • horizontally swinging barber chair (1950)
  • automatic safety brake (1962) - year Richard Spikes died.
Note: While Richard Spikes was working on his automatic safety brake in 1962, he lost his vision. As a result, Richard Spikes designed a drafting machine for blind people, in order to assist him in his inventing.


Richard Spikes - Automatic gear shift U.S. Patent 1,889,814 issued 12/6/1932

Richard Spikes patented an improved automatic gear shift in 1932. His object was to develop a gear shift where the gears for the various speeds were in constant mesh. Richard Spikes invented a novel clutch mechanism for his gear shift, he used levers to shift gears.

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