Philip K. Clover

From Ohio History Central
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Philip K. Clover was born in 1843 in Columbus, Ohio. After a childhood on the family farm, Clover became an artist and an inventor.

Perhaps Clover's most famous invention was the coffin-torpedo. During the 1800s, medical schools often stole recently buried persons to demonstrate medical procedures to their students. Cadavers from across Ohio were illegally exhumed for this purpose. Perhaps the most famous person illegally removed was John Scott Harrison from Congress Green Cemetery in North Bend, Ohio. Harrison was the son of President William Henry Harrison and the father of President Benjamin Harrison. Family members discovered Harrison's body at the Ohio Medical College in Cincinnati, Ohio, and later returned John Scott Harrison to the Harrison Tomb in North Bend.

To prevent grave-robbing, a number of people developed inventions to deter the robbers. Clover created a device that was to "prevent the unauthorized resurrection of dead bodies." Clover named his device the coffin-torpedo. Buried underground, the torpedo would fire several lead balls into the thief. Clover received a patent for this invention on October 8, 1878.

Philip Clover died in 1905.

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