Samuel B. McHenry, Inventor

While doing the Columbia County Wine Tour, we stopped to find a geocache at a cemetery in Benton.  There is a tombstone here, with a contraption on top, that says "S.B. McHenry, inventor". 

As usual, I needed to know more. 

Samuel B. McHenry was born September 10 1866 in Benton, Columbia County Pa.  He was one of 8 children born to Eli & Sarah (Young) McHenry.  In 1911 he was arrested for stalking, and confined to a mental asylum. "When examined,  McHenry said he invented an airship that would revolutionize science".  By 1912, he was submitting new patents, but for a brush, not an airship.  In 1931 he was interviewed, saying he believed he would be receiving a billion dollars for a new device that would help with water power.  In 1934, on a train on his way back from California, Samuel B. McHenry died.

Harrisburg Daily Independent 
(Harrisburg, Pennsylvania)
15 Dec 1911, Fri • Page 1

The Inter Ocean 
(Chicago, Illinois)
15 Dec 1911, Fri • Page 1

Shamokin News-Dispatch (Shamokin, Pennsylvania)
12 Mar 1931, Thu • Page 2

Shamokin News-Dispatch (Shamokin, Pennsylvania)
18 Apr 1934, Wed • Page 5


In all, I found 9 patents filed by Samuel B. McHenry.  His obit says he held over 30.

1899 - Vehicle Hub
1905 - Brush
1909 - Propelling Mechanism for Aerodromes
1910 - Brush (different from the first)
1910 - Boat Propeller
1912 - Dust Mop
1913 - Astronomical Demonstrating Device
1917 - Astronomical Demonstrating Device (appears the same as the 1913 version, but I did not read or look carefully for differences)
1922- Wind Motor

The version  of the Astronomical Demonstrating Device on top of the monument appears to be missing the bottom ball.  You can see the entire patent for this device here:

The portion of the patent that describes what it is was not overly clear for me:

Application filed November 19, 1913.
To all whom it may concern Be it known that I, SAMUEL B. MGHENRY, a citizen of the United States, residing at Chicago, in the county of Cook and State of Illinois, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Astronomical Demonstrating Devices; and I do declare the following to be a full, clear, and exact desoription of the invention, such as will enable others skilled in the art to which it appertains to make and use the same, reference being had to the accompanying drawings, and to the letters and figures of reference marked thereon, which form a part of this specification.
This invention relates to a device for demonstrating the position of the earth with relation to the sun, and has for its object to provide a means for demonstrating in an ocular manner the several positions which the earth occupies in relation to the sun during the several seasons of the year; and the invention has for its further object to provide a device for demonstrating the position of the suns rays on the earth during the several seasons of the year and while the earth is traveling from one extreme position to the other, and for illustrating the manner in which the earth receives its light from the sun, it being of course understood that only a portion of the orbit is illustrated in this invention.
A further object of the invention is to provide a device for illustrating the manner in which the earth revolves on its axis in relation to the sun.
With this and other objects in view the invention consists in the arrangement of parts representing the sun and the earth, and the invention further consists'in certain features of construction and in combinations of parts, all of which will be first fully described and afterward specifically pointed out in the appended claims."

If you read the rest of the patent, it does tell you how it works, but it still wasn't abundantly clear to me what this is needed for.