“Traverse B. Pinn, of Alexandria, Virginia. File Holder.” (August 17, 1880)


In this patent application, filed June 29,1880, by Traverse Pinn, he describes his improvement to a file holder. His invention was patented on August 17, 1880, with the patent number US-0231355-A, making him one of the few nineteenth-century Black Virginians to receive a patent.





SPECIFICATION forming part of Letters Patent No. 231,355, dated August 17, 1880.

Application filed June 29, 1880. (No model.)

To all whom it may concern:

Be it known that I, TRAVERSE B. PINN, of Alexandria, in the county of Alexandria and State of Virginia, have invented an Improved File-Holder; and I do hereby declare that the following is a full and exact description thereof, reference being had to the accompanying drawings, making part of this specification.

Figure 1 is a top view of the file-holder; Fig. 2, an end view of the same; Fig. 3, a side view thereof; Fig. 4, a vertical section in a plane indicated by the line x x,, Fig. 1.

Like letters designate corresponding parts in all of the figures.

The object of my invention is to furnish a holder or case for holding files, folded papers, and documents of various kinds which shall possess the qualities of securely holding the files or other papers in proper position, of protecting the edges of the files or papers from rubbing and abrasion in handling the holders, and especially in sliding them in and out on the shelves or in the receptacles prepared to receive them; of the utmost convenience and facility in opening and closing to get and return files and papers, and, withal, of the utmost cheapness of construction, as well as lightness consistent with strength and durability, especially for use in public offices, where large numbers of them are required. To effect these purposes extreme simplicity and the most perfect adaptation of every part to its use are necessary.

To fulfill these conditions I make a bottom, A, of the dimensions required, and secure two permanent ends, B C, of the proper height, to this bottom. On one side it is necessary to have sufficient support to keep the files and papers in place and in an upright position, and to serve as a side guard against rubbing and abrasion; and to effect this with the least practicable material and means I secure a narrow strip, D, near the bottom, reaching from end to end, to hold the lower ends of the files or papers in position, and another strip, E, at or near the top, of sufficient width only to serve as a guard and support against displacement, all the space between being left open, which also serves the good purpose of allowing free access to the papers on that side. On the other side all that is necessary is a sufficient guard to hold the files or papers in the holder and prevent rubbing and abrasion on that side. I therefore employ a single bar, G, of just sufficient width to give proper strength and rigidity thereto, and furnish room for its attachment to the ends of the holder, and it alternates in position with the two strips or bars D E on the opposite side. It is therefore situated at about half the height of the whole holder. This bar is made movable to enable the files or papers to be got at readily, taken out, and replaced easily. I therefore attach it to one end by a simple hinge, a, and secure it at the other end by a simple hook and eye, b, or sliding bolt, or other simple, cheap, and easily-manipulated catch or fastener. To use it, then, the bar G is first unfastened at the catch b, when that end is free to be swung out, turning on the hinge a. A ring or knob, c, at one end serves to draw the holder out from its receptacle by and to move it with.

The whole holder is made of straight rectangular strips of thin board joined together by nails or screws, and the hinge and catch are cheap. Hence the whole cost of a holder is only a few cents—a desideratum where many are used.

What I claim as my invention, and desire to secure by Letters Patent, is—

A file-holder constructed with the fixed bottom A, ends B C, the bottom and top guardstrips, D E, permanently secured on one side, with an open space between, and the hinged guard-bar G at the middle of the other side, substantially as and for the purpose herein specified.

The foregoing specification signed by me this 26th day of June, 1880.





APA Citation:
Pinn, Traverse. “Traverse B. Pinn, of Alexandria, Virginia. File Holder.” (August 17, 1880). (2023, August 10). In Encyclopedia Virginia.
MLA Citation:
Pinn, Traverse. "“Traverse B. Pinn, of Alexandria, Virginia. File Holder.” (August 17, 1880)" Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities, (10 Aug. 2023). Web. 26 Sep. 2023
Last updated: 2023, September 11
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.