I took me a long time to realise that this was the oldest patent I had for a functioning pelagic trawl – I had misfiled it under headline floats, for some silly reason. But the niggling feeling that I was missing a piece and my Dad’s recollection of the first pelagic pair trawl had been Swedish got me to searching my database again – and up popped Yngve Bernhardsson. According to his patent, filed September 20th 1945, he was a Swedish national living on Fotö, near Göteborg in Sweden.
His patent is a short affair, 3 pages, with less than 1 and a half given over to explanation. For your pleasure I include his diagrams. He describes his trawl as having a ‘substantially rectangular mouth’, ‘tow-lines fastened at each corner of the mouth’ and that the two towing vessels ‘should be at a distance form each other that the mouth will be strained in a horizontal direction’. There is a complex affair of float and weights, which are interlinked and depicted in the diagram – apparently with some adjustable features to vary the size of the mouth. where I fell down was the lack of specificity – he, or rather the agency no doubt translating and typing up – does not mention at what depth the gear is to be deployed, or even any measurements. No doubt this is why it got filed under floats and bottom trawls.
On the upside, now I get to go through every patent and double check their classification… And that Bernhardsson beats Larsen by two months with the patents that I have at hand.