In our posting of 2012/01/12 (“China’s First Overseas Patent Filer?”), we talked about Jin Fuey Moy, the first Chinese citizen who filed a patent application in the United States. In fact, there are other pioneers. Another “subject of the Emperor of China” received approval earlier than him. On Sep. 18, 1907, Young Kie Buell, also residing in New York, filed his patent on an improved pepper holder (“Receptacle For Powdered Substances,” USPN 873,497), which was granted in less than three months, on Dec. 10, 1907.
Dr. Jin Fuey Moy (梅振魁; Mei Zhenkui, 1862-1924) was not principally an inventor, and his 1908 patent on an enhanced nutcracker for chestnuts (“Attachment for Nutcrackers”, USPN 883,558) is in fact, the only thing he is known to have patented. He filed for patent protection for the same invention in Canada. Like many men from Taishan County (Toisan) in Guangdong Province, he came to the United States to seek his fortune and never returned to China. Following his elder brothers, he emigrated in 1875, making his way to New York, where he became a domestic servant and was baptized a Christian. Through the beneficence of some well-to-do Methodists who foresaw a missionary career for him, he was sent to New Jersey’s Pennington Seminary and then to Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. He earned his M.D. degree in 1890, the first Chinese to graduate from the school, and one of the first to become a physician in the United States. Continue reading