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Bugenhagen Swing Pal


North Dakotan architect and inventor George Bugenhagen died in 1953. Originally from New York, he came to North Dakota via Saskatchewan in 1916, beginning an architectural practice in Minot. He planned and built numerous buildings in Minot and in neighboring towns, but he was also busy with new inventions.

His patents were many, including improved air rifles, parcel receivers for apartment buildings, and frost-proof rain spouts. Among his other creations … a device for anchoring wood flooring to concrete, a windmill to produce electricity, a plastic soap dish, a machine for making mattresses, an inner spring mattress, a ventilator for glass-block windows … and a swing.

On this date in 1919, the architect-inventor was looking to establish a factory for the manufacture of his swing. The “pal” swing had been a hit exhibition among children at the Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul, where he had “spent the entire week giving the youngsters rides and handing out literature pertaining to his invention.”

The seat of the swing was made so that it did not incline as the swing went back and forth. It could be built in different sizes, and it was easy for the children to move the swing on their own. The Ward County Independent lauded it, stating: “the ‘Pal’ swing takes like wildfire and …has any other form of lawn swing beaten forty ways. … It glides so smoothly that there is no danger of falling out. There are no side pieces to injure the hands. It’s durable and cheap, and very attractive.”

It was a hit among businessmen, as well, and the paper also noted that “a number of dealers have asked for the exclusive sales rights in their cities.”

The swing may not have been the standout invention of Bugenhagen’s career, but for a span of time in 1919, it was enough to make many people very happy.

Dakota Datebook written by Sarah Walker


The Ward County Independent, September 18, 1919, p1

Minot Daily News: July 24, 1953, p2