Connecticut Invention of the Day: It’s Pothole Season!


In case you haven’t noticed (or jarringly felt it) we’ve entered pothole season here in New England. The constant swings in temperature and precipitation have left many roads looking and feeling like something one reads about in a novel about traveling through a third world country. But it’s nothing new, it happens every year and has been happening every year for decades. Of course repairing an aluminum rim from a car today might be a bit more costly than repairing a wooden wheel from a buckboard a 150 years ago….

Keeping our roads in good order is a constant battle. There are a number of Connecticut inventions from years gone by that have sought the best way to build and or repair roads:

James Brooks of Stafford Springs devised this “Road Scraper” in 1862:


Another “Road Scraper”, this from Wallingford and Marcus Cook dates to 1884:


Then from Thomas Barber of Hampton, circa 1865, we have the “Road Device”. A sort of all in one machine that digs, scrapes and crowns a road:


Now all these fancy tools can make the best roads in the world. But sometimes a driver needs a bit more help keeping his or her car on the path so to speak. John Lawson of West Haven thought he solved that by offering up the “Road Guard” back in 1923. Funny thing is this reminds me of my kids slot car racing sets that have those plastic barriers on the corners to keep their mini cars traveling down the road… for them, maybe not a bad idea after all.


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