The Missouri Department of Transportation is in charge of scraping the highways of snow and ice during the winter months. They’ll use the latest equipment — trucks equipped with plows, wing plows, salt brine and rock salt spreaders, and more.

But did you know that back in the summer of 1904, Sylvester R. Johnson of Winston, MO, patented his own version of a road scraper?

Johnson’s patent introduction reads thus:

Be it known that I, SYLVESTER R. JOHNSON, a citizen of the United States, residing at Winston, in the county of Daviess and State of Missouri, have invented certain new and useful improvements in Road-Scrapers; and I do hereby declare the following to be a full, clear, and exact description of the invention, such as will enable others skilled in the art to which it appertains to make and use the same.

Johnson claims his invention will be found useful for a great variety of purposes, as in road-building, excavating earth, etc. He also notes that his invention consists of certain novel features of combination and construction of parts.

Johnson says the main object of his invention, among others, is to provide a machine of the character specified which will be found reliably efficient in scraping up the earth and moving it to a point desired, as in road-building.
A further object of his invention is to place the scraper-blade under the complete control of the operator, whereby it may be elevated.
Draft horses would be attached in the usual manner, he says.

Johnson says the farmer can readily improvise a good part of the machine right at his own home. He adds that it can be made cheaply and expeditiously and made of any suitable material and any desired size.
His witnesses were Mamie Eads and Ouas (unreadable) S. Davis.

We don’t know what happened to Sylvester Johnson’s machine …or to Sylvester for that matter.

H. L. Johnson, was the postmaster at Winston at one time and established the newspaper, the Winston Sentinel. His parents were Sylvester and Celestia (DeMow) Johnson. Is that the same Sylvester?