Providence, R. I., May 20.—Ferdinand W. L. Knuschke, for 33 years a foreman in the works of the Gorham Mfg. Co., the first worker in the German silver business in this city, and an inventor of considerable ability, died at his residence, yesterday, in the 68th year of his age. For some years he has been in charge of the largest room of the factory, and his devotion to business undoubtedly hastened his death.
Mr. Knuschke was born at Offenbach-on-the-Main and was the son of a kid glove maker and cotton manufacturer. In his youth he learned the trade of a German-silver smith, and when 22 years of age he left home and came to America, going at once to Chicopee, Mass., where he started the tableware industry at the Ames Mfg. Co. After some years he left Chicopee and went to Hartford, Conn., and then to Taunton, Mass. From the latter place he entered the employ of the Gorham Mfg. Co., coming to the Steeple St. establishment to found the German silver business, Sept. 1, 1863. Mr. Knuschke made the first piece of German silverware ever turned out in this city.
During his connection with the company he made several inventions of value, including a water pitcher, with tilting cover. This he patented, presenting the patent to the Gorham Co., receiving a silver service in recognition. His most important invention he never patented, through conscientious scruples, and through a short-sighted policy on the part of the company it was placed on the market unprotected. The article is now in use in every civilized country on the globe. It is the common three-pronged soda water or ginger ale bottle holder, seen everywhere. Had he patented it, he would have been a rich man, and had the company secured a patent, the royalties would have been large. Mr. Knuschke saw that no practical holder existed for bottles with rounded bottoms, and invented this simple device, which, by prongs on three sides of a base, holds the bottle securely. Having made it with the material and in the time of the company, he felt that he had no right to patent it. He gave it to the company, but it was thought of no value, and was placed on the market without a patent, the result being that it was extensively copied everywhere.
Source: The Jewelers' Circular and Horological Review - 27th May 1896