The GSCNC Archives received an unexpected treat at our April 13, 2013, Annual Meeting.

, Girl Scout History Project
Page from Trefoil patent application

Council President Diane Tipton had recently returned from a visit to her childhood home, where she ran into an old neighbor and friend.  He’s an avid collector of Boy Scout memorabilia who had also accumulated some Girl Scout items over the years. When he heard how involved Diane still is in Girl Scouting, he wanted her to have his Girl Scout items.  Diane then presented them to the committee.

, Girl Scout History Project
GSCNC CEO Lidia Soto-Harmon (L), Archives Chair Ann Robertson, and GSCNC President Diane Tipton

Along with pins, badges, and a handbook, the donation included a copy of Juliette Gordon Low’s application to patent the trefoil symbol.  She applied for the patent on November 23, 1913, and received it on February 10, 1914.  Our donation includes the signature page; the original, two-page document is held at the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace in Savannah, Georgia.

When Low decided to step down from the day-to-day operations of Girl Scouting in 1921, GSUSA asked that she surrender the patent to the organization.  She agreed, but on her own terms.

Stacy Cordery, Low’s recent biographer, recounts how Daisy shrewdly agreed to assign the patent to GSUSA in exchange for keeping her name on the organization’s Constitution, stationery, and membership cards in perpetuity.

Daisy actually had two patents. The other is for the “Pluto Bag,” a stand-up trash bin for liquids. It reminds me of an origami project that got way out of control!

In honor of our founder’s two patents, GSCNC has been an exhibitor at the annual U.S. Patent and Trademark Expo held at the Patent Office in Alexandria, Virginia, each fall.  Last year we had directions for the trash bin at our booth, and dozens of girls and adults valiantly tried to make one.

The trefoil patent application will certainly be part of our booth display at the next Patent and Trademark Expo this fall.  Who knows, perhaps “Daisy” will make make another surprise visit to our booth this year!

, Girl Scout History Project
Susan “Daisy” Ducey at the Patent and Trademark Expo, 2012

2 responses to “Archives Receives Copy of Trefoil Patent”

  1. […] the building was home to “a variety of patent attorneys,” which proved convenient when Low patented the trefoil design in 1914. Other tenants included the National American Woman Suffrage […]

  2. […] like copyright and patent, are all forms of intellectual property. Juliette Gordon Low was awarded two patents herself, one for the membership pin and one for a freestanding trash […]

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