John Lee Love's invention was a very simple and portable pencil sharpener. The same kind of pencil sharpener that many artists use or that can be found in an office or school room.
In John Lee Love's invention the pencil is put into the opening of the sharpener and rotated by hand. It was designed so that the shavings would stay inside the sharpener. It is interesting to note that while the patent drawing depicts the Love Sharpener as being quite plain. John Lee Love wrote that it could also be designed in a very ornate fashion and that his pencil sharpener could also be used as a desk ornament or paperweight. Love's pencil sharpener was patented on November 23, 1897 (U.S. Patent # 594,114). 4 years earlier, Love created and patented his 1st invention, an improved plasterer's hawk. A plasterer's hawk is a flat square piece of board made of wood or metal, upon which plaster or mortar was placed and then spread by plasterers or masons. Love felt that other plasterer's hawks were too bulky to be portable so he designed one with a detachable handle and a foldable board all made from aluminum.
John Lee Love's improved plasterer's hawk was patented on July 9, 1895 (U.S. Patent # 542,419).