When I was a kid, my father owned an interior decorating shop. He would frequently go to people's homes to install drapes, blinds, curtains, and so on, and during my teen years I would sometimes accompany him and serve as his helper. We would often use molly anchor screws when installing things into drywall. I never thought to wonder who made those molly screws.
Now I know, thanks to our latest letter from the Hoge Brush Company files, a 1939 missive from Croessent Machine Works, "Machinists of Merit" and makers of mollies. The letter is signed by G. F. Croessant. And sure enough, the United States patent for an "anchoring socket for bolts" was issued in 1935 to one George Frederick Croessant. Here's the patent drawing (click to enlarge):
One thing that's never been clear to me: Where did the name "molly" come from? This Wikipedia entry sheds no light on that (although it mentions that "molly" used to be trademarked). Anyone know more?
Unfortunately, I can't call Croessent Machine Works to ask them, because they don't appear to exist anymore. Too bad.
(My continued thanks to Joanna and David Zwiep for sharing the Hoge Brush Company letters with me.)