November 30, 1875 – Alexander P. Ashbourne of Oakland, California received patent number 170,460 for an improved biscuit-cutter. Prior to his invention, cooks would roll and shape their biscuits by hand. His invention consisted of a board to roll the biscuit dough out which was hinged to a metal plate with various biscuit cutter shapes mounted to it. The plate was brought down on the dough creating many biscuit shapes at once. The cutters were spring-loaded, allowing the biscuit shapes to be easily released. Additionally, Ashbourne received patent number 163,962 for a process for refining coconut oil on June 1, 1875, patent number 194,287 for a process for treating coconut on August 21, 1877, and patent number 230,518 for a process for preparing coconut on July 27, 1880. Not much else is known of Ashbourne’s life except that he was a successful dry goods grocer.
article found @http://sisterthunderradio.com/2013/12/02/alexander-p-ashbourne/