prolific inventor, dies
Developer Chris Hemmeter
is among his children
OBITUARIESBy Leila Fujimori
George Thiemeyer Hemmeter, the father of developer Chris Hemmeter, was also the father of a host of inventions.
The prolific inventor came up with the idea for the newspaper vending machine in 1947, a self-balancing washing machine in 1950 and a food dehydrator developed during World War II. The list goes on and on.
Hemmeter died Saturday at his Black Point home at the age of 94.
Hemmeter, a mechanical engineer with a degree from Johns Hopkins University, headed Hemmeter Corp. in California. There he devised a wheel balancer that did not necessitate removing the tires.
Inventor Robert Yonover called Hemmeter brilliant. "His mind worked so fast," he said. "He inspired me, networked me, brought me under his wing. We were pretty close."
Hemmeter believed in doing things himself and encouraged Yonover to write his own patent.
Yonover was an aspiring inventor when he met Hemmeter. He recalled visiting Hemmeter one day while he was working on an invention. One of Hemmeter's forearms was smooth. He had been testing a lady's razor.
Despite his success, Hemmeter was down to earth. He drove a modest car and often wore a T-shirt and slippers.
He enjoyed sailing and loved being with people.
Born in Maryland, Hemmeter moved to California. He worked for the predecessor to NASA, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. He lived in Berkeley and Los Altos before moving to Hawaii in 1964, where he lived the remainder of his life.
Hemmeter is survived by sons Dr. George Mead Hemmeter, Christopher Bagwell Hemmeter, Sally Hemmeter Younge, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Private services will be held.