As I went back into my files for another look after I researched the Kum-Pet Dog and Cat Feeder, I discovered that I owned two publicity photographs associated with another early automatic feeder, the Kenl-Master. I did a web search for the firm, expecting to find absolutely nothing on this object, when up popped a reference from the June 3, 1939, issue of The New Yorker (p. 64), which I have excerpted below:
“our native inventors have been as busy as little bees. At Bloomingdale…there is Kenl-Mastr, a covered food plate for dogs which pops its lid at feeding time if you remember to set its alarm-clock timer ($5.59).”
This reference was in one of the New York City shopping surveys that the magazine still occasionally publishes. Incredible!
Upon closer examination,the Kenl-Master feeder seems to be the “Time Controlled Feeding Device for Domestic Pets” illustrated in a 1939 patent drawing in my previous post on the Kum-Pet Dog and Cat Feeder of 1947. (Kenl-Mastr and Kum-Pet. Is anyone out there collecting gadget names? Someone needs to work on this!)
Notice the alarm clock in the second photo is set for a few minutes past six o’clock. The people who set up the shot are suggesting that six is the normal dinnertime for city dogs. Now go back and look at the first picture. The clock is set for ten minutes after five o’clock, and the handsome wire-haired fox terrier is shown already waiting at the feeder. This is apparently intended to suggest that dogs in the 1930s tried to push dinner time up a bit, just as every dog I have ever owned has tried to do.
The feeder does not turn up in any of the trade catalogs or magazines in my collection. The Kenl-Master Manufacturing Company is listed in a 1939 Los Angeles phone directory I found online — but here the trail ends for the time being.