Lloyd Groff Copeman

Family tree of Lloyd Groff Copeman


AmericanBorn Lloyd Groff Copeman

American inventor

Born on December 29, 1881 in Hadley Township, Michigan , United States

Died on July 5, 1956 in Lapeer County, Michigan , United States

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Lloyd Groff Copeman (December 28, 1881 – July 5, 1956) was an American inventor who devised the first electric stove and the flexible rubber ice cube tray, among other products. He had nearly 700 patents to his name, and he claimed that he could walk into any store and find one of his inventions.

...   Lloyd Groff Copeman (December 28, 1881 – July 5, 1956) was an American inventor who devised the first electric stove and the flexible rubber ice cube tray, among other products. He had nearly 700 patents to his name, and he claimed that he could walk into any store and find one of his inventions.

Early life
Copeman was raised by his Canadian parents, Caroline Estelle (née Groff) and John Wesley Copeman, on a farm in Hadley Township, Michigan which was later incorporated into Farmers Creek, Michigan, approximately 20 miles east of Flint, Michigan. He studied engineering at the former Michigan Agricultural College, now Michigan State University.

Copeman began his career as an apprentice at the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia. Following that, he worked for electric utilities companies in Philadelphia and Spokane, as well as Detroit Edison and
Consumers Power where he learned about electrical, marine and mechanical engineering, as well as steam fittings.His first successful patented inventions, patented in 1909, were an electrothermostatic heat regulator for more effective control of stove and toaster heating elements and a thermostat for high-tension power cables.Before this, while working for the Washington Electric Company in 1906, Copeman developed a design for an electric version of the gas stoves which had been available in Britain and the US for several decades. Development of the idea took several years, but in 1912 the Copeman Electric Stove Company was formed in the city of Flint, Michigan to produce the Copeman Electric Stove (also marketed as the "fireless cooker"). Westinghouse Electric Corporation bought the company in 1917, moved production to Mansfield, Ohio, and continued to develop and improve the stove.
From 1913, another of Copeman's inventions, a toaster with automatic bread turner, was also produced by the Copeman Electric Stove Company. Electric toasters were a recent invention at that time - the first commercially successful version was patented in July 1909 - and the bread had to be turned manually once the first side had been toasted. During a shopping trip, Copeman's wife Hazel gave them the idea for a toaster which turned the bread without manual intervention, and in 1914 a patent for what Copeman called the Automatic Toaster was filed in Hazel's name. Five other toaster-related patents were granted to both Lloyd and Hazel during the same year. The invention of the pop-up toaster in 1926 superseded Copeman's innovations, however.

A company called Copeman Laboratories Company had been established in Flint, Michigan during the year 1918 to allow Copeman to dedicate his time to inventing, although he also spent a lot of time at his farm in Farmer's Creek, where he would lock himself in the basement - sometimes for up to a week, with his wife bringing him meals on a tray - and develop new ideas and products. Examples of his work at this time, which met with varying success, included injecting chickens with solutions to make their meat taste like beef; pioneering experiments in the development of latex; the Copeman Lubri-Cap, grease-filled paper cups for lubricating wheel bearings (the patent for this product was
bought for $178,000 by the Alemite Manufacturing Corporation, the same corporation that also owned the patent rights to the Zerk fitting); Flexo-Line travel clothes lines, which are still manufactured today; a device to use dry ice to cool bottles of beer; self-extinguishing cigarettes; and a rust-reducing latex coating for motor vehicles.
Copeman's most successful and remunerative invention, however, was the rubber ice cube tray. One day in 1928, while walking through some woods collecting sap for maple syrup, he noticed that slush and ice flaked off his rubber boots easily, rather than adhering to them. Having recalled this incident over lunch with his patent attorney, he conducted experiments using rubber cups, and later set about designing and then patenting different types of tray: a metal tray with rubber separators, a metal tray with individual rubber cups, and a tray made completely of rubber. Sales from this invention earned Copeman approximately $500,000, equivalent to $10 million today.

Personal life
Copeman married Hazel Dawn Berger, in 1904, and they had three children: Lloyd Berger Copeman (1907–1968), Ruth Mary Copeman Ronstadt (1914–1982), and Elizabeth Jane Copeman Gerlach (1918–1998).
His daughter, Ruth Mary Copeman Ronstadt, was the mother of recording artist Linda Ronstadt.


Electrical heating unit. No. 1,138,733; May 11
Electromagnetic switch. No. 1,141,174; June 1
Electric stove. No. 1,141,175; June 1
Electrically heated oven. No. 1,141,176; June 1
Automatically controlled electrical cooking apparatus. No. 1,180,571; April 25
Collapsible grease-capsule. No. 1,190,382; July 11
Grease-cup. No. 1,222,185; April 10
Grease-cup. No. 1,269,159; June 11
Grease-cup. No. 1,287,889; June 11
Drill. No. 1,264370; April 30
Grease-cup. No. 1,287,889; December 17
Grease-cup. No. 1,294,773; February 18
Grease-cup. No. 1,300,699; April 15
Adjustable thermometer. No. 1,312,834
Grease-cup. No. 1,292,594
Grease-cup. No. 1,314,073; August 26
Shank and handle. No. 1,314,078; August 26

Heating apparatus. No. 1,336,552; April 13
Adjustable thermostat. No. 1,349,364
Toaster. No. 1,356,042; October 19
Tool holder. No. 1,361,021; December 7
Refrigeration apparatus. No. 1,396,996
Grease-cup. No. 1,368,546; February 15
Grease-cup. No. 1,395,336; November 1
Refrigerating apparatus. No. 1,409,283; March 14
Refrigerating apparatus. No. 1,415,992; May 16
Refrigerating apparatus. No. 1,430,153; September 26
Refrigerating apparatus. No. 1,430,154; September 26
Refrigerating apparatus. No. 163,419; July 31
Refrigerating apparatus. No. 1,472,266; October 30
Refrigerating apparatus. No. 1,472,267; October 30
Refrigerator. No. 1,444,589; February 6
Refrigerator latch. Re. 15,908; September 2
Refrigerator latch. No. 1,489,918; April 8
Refrigerator door construction. No. 1,503,486; August 5
Refrigerator lining. No. 1,509,932; September 30
Casting and plastic materials. No. 1,515,150; November 11
Casting stone. No. 1,518,254; December 9
Water control for refrigerating system. No. 1,519,757; December 16
Refrigerating apparatus. No. 1,517,534; December 2
Refrigerating apparatus. No. 1,526,964; February 17
Wall construction. No. 1,526,965; February 17
Molding the shells of refrigerators. No. 1,538,467; May 19
Casting refrigerator doors. No. 1,538,467; May 19
Refrigerator. No. 1,538,469; May 19
Collapsible molding dies. No. 1,538,471; May 19
Refrigerator construction. No. 1,542,862; June 23
Refrigerator. No. 1,548,825; August 11
Bushing construction. No. 1,564,947; December 8
Refrigerator doors. No. 1,564,948; December 8
Refrigerator manufacture. No. 1,570,617; January 26
Refrigerator construction. No. 1,574,868; March 2
Refrigerator. No. 1,603,905; October 19
Refrigerator apparatus. No. 1,585,016; May 18
Refrigerator construction. No. 1,644,981; October 11
Drinking water supply for refrigerators. No. 1,618,514; February 22
Water cooler. No. 1,633,372; June 21
Match-plate pattern. No. 1,644,968; October 4
Refrigerator. No. 1,644,983; October 11
Refrigerator. No. 1,644,984; October 11
Refrigerator manufacture. No. 1,644,985; October 11
Refrigerator construction. No. 1,644,986; October 11
Refrigerator. No. 1,644,987; October 11
Cabinet construction and building the same. No. 1,644,988; October 11
Sharp freezing container for mechanical refrigerators. No. 1,675,599; July 3
Refrigerator cabinet and controlling the temperature therein. No. 1,618,398; August 21
Table top construction. No. 1,656,422; January 17
Method and apparatus for accelerating setting of stone castings. No. 1,656,423; January 17
Making match plate patterns. No. 1667,720; May 1
Stone mold. No. 1,667,721; May 1
Match plate pattern. No. 1,667722; May 1
Table top construction. No. 1,667,723; May 1
Container for power refrigeration. No. 1,671,761; May 29
Cooling unit for refrigeration apparatus. No. 1,671,762; May 29
Refrigerating cabinet and controlling and operating the same. No. 1,681,399; August 21
Refrigerator or cabinet. No. 1,692,159; November 20
Balloon construction. No. 1,714,097; May 21
Sharp freezing container for mechanical refrigerators. Re. 17,278; April 23, Re. 17,279; April 23
Table top construction. No. 1,700,155; January 29
Making stone castings. No. 1,700,156; January 29
Table. No. 1,701,529; February 12
Refrigerating device. No. 1,703,299; February 26
Artificial stone refrigerator and forming the same. No. 1,703,511; February 26
Refrigerator cabinet. No. 1,710,405; April 23
Refrigerating apparatus. No. 1,710,406; April 23
Method and apparatus for forming and maintaining sanitation in ice cream cabinets or the like.
No. 1,711,721; May 7
Storage compartments for ice cream cabinets or the like. No. 1,711,722; May 7
Flexible sharp freezing container. No. 1,740,919; December 24

Refrigerating unit. No. 1,744,038; January 21
Method of refrigerator manufacture. No. 1,757,450; May 6
Water cooler. No. 1,771,433; July 29
Sharp freezing container. No. 1,777,483; October 7
Refrigerator cabinet. No. 1,777,786; October 7
Refrigerator. No. 1,777,787; October 7
Refrigerating unit of fired ceramic material. No. 1,781,778; November 18
Method and apparatus for positioning and sealing ice cream cans in ice cream cabinets.
No. 1,786,827; December 30
Ice cream cabinet. No. 1,789.587; January 20
Sharp freezing container for ice cream cabinets. No. 1,807,587; June 2
Dispensing unit embodying mechanical refrigerator. No. 1,811,456; June 23
Sharp freezing unit. No. 1,816,211; July 28
Refrigerating unit. No. 1,816,638; July 28
Sharp freezing container. No.1,817,544; August 4
Sharp freezing container. No.1,817,545; August 4
Refrigerating apparatus and heat transfer therein. No. 1,818,673; August 11
Unit formed partially of fired ceramic material. No. 1,822,013; September 8
Apparatus for controlling the temperature of unit containers. No 1,824,535; September 22
Sharp freezing unit. No. 1,839,651; January 5
Refrigerating system. No. 1,840,619; January 12
Refrigerating system. No. 1,840,702; January 12
Cooling chamber for mechanical refrigerating unit. No. 1,872,685; August 23
Method and apparatus for freezing liquids. No. 1,878,685; August 23
Flexible sharp freezing container. No. 1,879,602; September 27
Refrigerating unit. No. 1,879,922; September 27
Sharp freezing structure. No. 1,882,209; October 11
Method and apparatus for refrigerating. No. 1,887,580; November 15
Refrigerating apparatus. No. 1,902,016; March 21
Cooling unit. No. 1,912,826; June 6
Cooling unit construction. No. 1,912,827; June 6
Mold construction for reproduction of patterns in rubber. No. 1,913,747; June 13
Clothespin. No. 1,916,556; July 4
Closure member and forming and applying. No. 1,916,857; July 4
Refrigerating system. Re. 19,055; January 16
Storage and dispensing unit for frozen foods. No. 1,952,422; March 27
Treating fruit or other growing vegetable matter. No. 1,955,950; April 24
Waterproof and puncture-proof paper. No. 1,976,329; October 9
Refrigerator structure. No. 2,002,339; May 21
Method and apparatus for cooling beer. No. 2,010,060; August 6
Protective coatings and applying and removing. No. 2,020,256; November 5
No patents
Protective coating and applying and removing. No. 2,082,791; June 8
Bucket and bucket protector. No. 2,071,112; February 16
Dispensing device for sheet rubber deposited from an aqueous dispersion of rubber and forming the same. No. 2,075,178; March 30
Device for making and storing ice. No. 2,088,840; August 3
Method and apparatus for conditioning and dispensing beer. No. 2,075,088; October 19
Concrete or cement structure. No. 2,112,452; March 29
Apparatus for handling ice cubes. No. 2,113,014; April 5
Refrigerating structure. No. 2,114,996; April 26
Protecting and forming pre-finished metal. No. 2,120,461; June 14
Protective coating and process of applying and removing. No. 2,132,230; June 14
Package structure. No. 2,134,908; November 1
Bird shelter. No. 2,151,010; March 21
Mounting bracket. No. 2,184,633; December 26
Dispensing device for sheet rubber deposited from an aqueous dispersion of rubber and forming and using same. Re. 21,065; May 2
Protective coating and applying and removing. No. 2,169,225; August 15
Coating knit articles and products thereof. No. 2,172,251; September 5
Portable beverage conditioning and dispending apparatus. No. 2,182,116; December 5
Coating knit articles and products thereof. Re. 21,269; November 21

Bird feeding station. No. 2,216,511; October 1
Birdhouse. No. 2,219,297; October 29
Cigarette and treating the same. No. 2,185,293; January 2
Suet Cake container. No. 2,235,959; March 25
Flour sifter combination. No. 2,252,701; August 19
Container for confections. No. 2,248,963; July 15
Collapsible birdhouse. No. 2,292,614; August 11
Birdhouse construction. No. 2,295,891; September 15
Treating textile fabrics and the products thereof. No. 2,281,830; May 5
Clothesline. No. 2,318,275; May 4
Dispensing and using rubber. No. 2,307020; January 5
Closure member and applying same. No. 2,356,825; August 29
No patents listed
No patents listed
No patents listed
No patents listed
Cream separator. No. 2,477,863; August 2
Apparatus for dispensing ice cubes. No. 2,484,017; October 11

Ice tray. No. 2,514,476; July 11
Hand tool for agriculture implements. No. 2,528,947; November 7
Method and apparatus for the manufacture of cigarettes. No. 2,543,277; February 27
Spill guard for ice tray. No. 2,593,106; April 15
Tractor hitch. No. 2,627,423; February 2
Bottle closure. No. 2,634,012; April 7
2,688,236; Cl. 62-108.5
(Kisselle-ice tray grid) 2,671,321; March 9
2,712,666; Cl. 15-142
2,704,732; Cl. 117-155
Copeman, Lloyd Groff deceased; Elizabeth Jane (Betty), Gerlach, executrix
Portable beverage conditioning and dispensing apparatus. No. 2,749,719; June 12
Cl. 62–91.5
Moisture impervious container. No. 2,781,159; February 12
Cl. 229-16


Further reading
Absolute Michigan - Lloyd Groff Copeman: The Patent Man
The Great Idea Finder, Toaster
Ronstadt: The Gamble Pays Off Big: an exclusive interview, Family Weekly, January 8, 1984, My maternal grandfather was also an inventor
Linda Down The Wind,Time Magazine, February 28, 1977, Linda's maternal grandfather was Lloyd Copeman
Popular Mechanics, 1955

External links
Lloyd Groff Copeman site

Biography from Wikipedia (see original) under licence CC BY-SA 3.0


Geographical origins

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