Inventions and Patents

Here is a brief list of some of the most important inventions patented over the many decades Dr. Thomas Reed has been working as an inventor, researcher, and scientist. Inventions are presented with their patent number and date, and commentary from Tom.

ARC TORCH, PUSH STARTING
no. 2,898,441 – July 3, 1957
A clever invention, provides a pilot arc which lights the work before you drop the welding helmet.

NON TRANSFERRED ARC TORCH PROCESS AND APPARATUS
no. 2,874,265 – February 17, 1959
I see these in use everywhere, including my god-grandson’s “NowCut” shop. Needed for non conductors.

CONSTRICTED ARC APPARATUS AND PROCESS
no. 2,884,510 – April 28, 1959
For cutting metals, and requires work to be conductive.

ARC TORCH
no. 2,951,143 – August 30, 1960
Co-patented with John Anderson. Improved torch for chemical applications.

MULTIPLE PURPOSE ARC TORCH APPARATUS
no. 3,030,490 April 17, 1962
Similar to pat. no. 2,898,441 above.

SUPERSONIC HOT GAS STREAM GENERATING APPARATUS AND METHOD
no. 3,077,108 – February 12, 1963
with R. M. Gage et al. For chemical synthesis, e.g. acetylene from methane. Linde (my research group at the time) was patenting everything on arc torches. I don’t know how much money they made from this suite of patents, but probably a lot. They were useful for metal spraying, chemical synthesis, welding, cutting, etc.

HIGH TEMPERATURE FURNACE, assigned to MIT.
no. 3,414,661 – December 3, 1964
A tungsten electrode furnace that could reach temperatures of 3,000 C, with tantalum heat shields. This was useful for growing very high temperature single crystals, never seen before.

INDUCTION PLASMA TORCH WITH MEANS FOR RECIRCULATING THE FLAME
no. 3,324,334 – June 6, 1967
I had left Linde and taken my skills to MIT Lincoln Lab. This was my first experience with induction heating, very powerful without electrodes, so naturally I used it to generate a totally new type of plasma device. Assigned to MIT.

TRANSPARENT FURNACE
no. 3,626,154 – July 7, 1971
A gold reflecting furnace, manufactured for many years by Bill King, and others. My cleverest furnace patent, utilizing the unique optical properties of a 100 Angstrom thick layer of gold to be transparent in the visible, while over 99.5% reflecting in the IR. Most insulation is opaque. But most of the heat loss above 300C is by radiation, so reflecting the IR is the principle method of insulation here. Easily achieved 1000C with less than 1000 Watts.

METHOD AND STRUCTURE FOR GROWING CRYSTALS
no. 3,625,660 – December 7, 1971
Basis of the tri-arc furnace for growing very high melting materials on a cold hearth.

HEAT PIPE FURNACE
no. 3,857,990 – December 31, 1974
Use of a heat pipe to give a constant temperature furnace over a long length. With Jacques Steininger.

COMPOSITION OF MATTER AND METHOD OF MAKING
no. 5,110,785 – May 5, 1992
With Bill Mobeck. The “SeaSweep” patent, an invention which treats sawdust to absorb oil floating in water. Optimum oil absorb tin and flotation achieved for sawdust at 340-360C. We produced, sold and used SeaSweep for cleaning up oil spills through the 2000-2010 period until Bill Mobek’s untimely death about 2005.