Days of Yore: Scouting patent for a semaphore dummy

April 8, 2020

Some recent discussion about the least-earned Scout merit badge in history. In its three years of existence (and odd afterlife), only ten Boy Scouts earned the badge. It was discontinued in 1915.

One reason? A requirement for the badge was to file for and get a patent from the U.S. Patent Office. Much easier to do in 1911-1914 than today, but still a hurdle probably too high to require from Scouts.

Ten Scouts did it, though — one of the patents was displayed in the blog for Scouting Magazine. So I searched patents to see if I could find some of the other ten.

Not yet. But I did find this patent for a dandy semaphore signaling device (back in the day, Scouts had to learn either semaphore or Morse code). On October 29, 1929, H. C. Meyer got a patent on a device that looks like a Boy Scout with two semaphore flags — with mechanisms to position the flags for semaphore signaling.

Why a dummy instead of a Scout? Not sure. All I found was the drawing. No hint on whether the device was ever built.

U.S. Patent 1,729,890, to H. C. Meyer, for a “Boy Scout Signalling Device” using semaphores. Granted October 1, 1929.

Do you know semaphore? Morse code?

See the drawing and the entire description of the patent at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website. Four pages.


New Boy Scout merit badge: Sustainability

July 25, 2013

It’s Eagle required, too — well, Scouts can choose either Environmental Science or Sustainability, but must earn one or the other to earn Eagle rank.

Image of the Sustainability merit badge, from MeritBadge.org

Image of the Sustainability merit badge, from MeritBadge.org

Requirements for the new Sustainability merit badge were released on July 16, concurrent with the 2013 National Scout Jamboree at the Summit.  A lot of people missed the announcement, I’ll wager.

It’s good news.  Conservation and nature-related merit badges have suffered a decline in Scouting, it seems to me.  The conservation series was very much the keystone of a trek to Eagle when I was a Scout, at least as important as the citizenship series.  But I don’t see that emphasis in Scouting today, sadly.

BSA recently created a Mining merit badge, which created some quiet grumbles among conservationists — this new, Eagle-path badge more than makes up for that, I think (though mining is a great topic for Scouts, especially in the western U.S., I think).  This will not set well with the anti-conservation, anti-Agenda 21 crowd and their merry hoaxsters.  But nothing BSA does is removed from political criticism from the right any more (see this odd photo choice for the Sustainability badge notice at the radical right-wing Daily Caller site).

This announcement gives me hope.

More:

Below the fold, the requirements and announcement from Bryan on Scouting, at Scouting Magazine’s site, verbatim and in total.

Read the rest of this entry »


Something to toot your horn about: Scouts save Bugling merit badge

August 10, 2010

Boy Scouts of America reviews merit badge offerings from time to time, adding new badges, modifying requirements, retiring badges that are unpopular or outdated.

Recently Bugling was dropped as a separate badge, and made an adjunct of the Music merit badge.  Bugling was a great tradition in Scouts — a music-oriented badge that required only that one be able to memorize and blow recognizable versions of several bugle calls.

Perhaps ironically, Bugling also drew the spotlight as the last merit badge earned by several of those super Scouts who earned every possible merit badge.  For some reason, learning to blow the horn was just the last or toughest thing they could master.

Good news:  Bugling has been reinstated.

Bugling reinstated as separate merit badge

Bugling Have your guys start practicing “Taps,” because Bugling is here to stay.

In early June, we reported that the Bugling merit badge was to be discontinued and its requirements merged into Music merit badge.

That’s no longer the case. Responding to concerns from hundreds of Scouters, the BSA’s Youth Development team has decided to reinstate Bugling as a separate merit badge.

Oddly enough, this means that Bugling will never have officially been part of Music merit badge, because the changes were never reflected in a Boy Scout Requirements book.

Bugling and Music will continue to share a merit badge pamphlet. Requirements and information for both of the badges will be contained within that single booklet.

More:

To the Colors, from USSSP Bugling Merit Badge page

"To the Colors," one of the bugle calls required for the Bugling merit badge. Image from U.S. Scouting Service Project


Amarillo Scout: 121 merit badges, and more

January 2, 2009

Here’s a good story we missed back in September.  This is one more example of outstanding achievement by a good kid, a Scout, that slips by largely unremarked.

Amarillo Scout Coleman Carter got his 121st merit badge in his troop’s court of honor.  He had earned his Eagle Rank in September 2004.

Carter’s 121st badge?  Bugling.  He doesn’t play the trumpet or bugle, so it was difficult. Bugling was also the last badge earned by the New York Scout, Shawn Goldsmith.  Is this a trend?  My recollection is that at least one other member of 121-Merit Badge Club got bugling last.

Amarillo Eagle Scout Carter Coleman - Amarillo Globe photo

Amarillo Eagle Scout Carter Coleman - Amarillo Globe photo

Earning every merit badge in the book is just one of Carter’s achievements, however.  He’s a National Merit Scholar, ranked #1 in his class at Tascosa High School, and studentbody president.  You can read several of his acheivements here, in the Amarillo Globe-News — and remember, this was before his junior year (he’s a senior this year).

Better, go read what Globe-News columnist Jon Mark Beilue wrote on September 24, 2008, “Scout blows it out.”

Coleman is a member of Troop 87, sponsored by St. Thomas the Apostle ChurchAmarillo is in the Golden Spread Council, BSA, which serves the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles.

Mr. Coleman is not the first to accomplish this feat, nor will he be the last, I suspect.  I do wish that troops, districts and councils would do more to spread the news of such outstanding feats by Scouts.  A press release kept online, with photos, would have been nice.  (While we’re ranting, would it be so difficult for the Amarillo Globe-News to put its name on its website?  Or has the Globe-News gone out of business?)


Beyond what is required: Another Scout earns all merit badges

December 30, 2008

From Oceanside, Long Island, New York, we get brief reports of an Eagle Scout, Shawn Goldsmith, who earned all 121 merit badges offered by the Boy Scouts of America.  He finished work on his last badge, for bugling, in November.

Eagle Scout Shawn Goldsmith, Troop 240, Greater New York Council - Goldsmith earned all 121 Merit Badges - Photo from GNY Council

Eagle Scout Shawn Goldsmith, Troop 240, Greater New York Council - Goldsmith earned all 121 Merit Badges - Photo from GNY Council

From WBBH, Channel 2, an NBC affiliate television news operation on Long Island:

Goldsmith says he took about five years to earn his first 62 badges and then nearly doubled that number in a matter of months. He did it with the encouragement of his grandmother, who died shortly before he reached his goal. He was awarded his final badges on Dec. 19.

Goldsmith is a freshman at Binghamton University and hopes to become a businessman and politician.

Shawn is a member of Troop 240, Greater New York Council (Bronx), whose chartered organization is Riverdale Presbyterian Church.  Shawn was editor of his high school’s newspaper, and he served as an intern in the Long Island office of U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer.

More information:

Related posts at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub:

Update – other mentions:


%d bloggers like this: