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Additional Images
Primary Object
Raincross Patent
Artist/Maker
Unknown
Title/Object Name
Raincross Patent
Date

Feb. 25, 1908 (application filed June 24, 1907)

Medium
paper
Dimensions

H – 11 ¾” W – 8”

Artifact Descriptions

Original patent for the Raincross emblem (or design) with red seal and blue ribbon signed by C. C. Billings, Acting Commissioner of Patents.  

Artifact Origin Map
Historic Context/Relationship to Mission Inn/Significance to Local and Regional History
Raincross Patent

Updated: October 14, 2006

he Raincross design was registered by the U.S. Patent Office in 1908. Several people, including Mission Inn owner Frank Miller and architect Arthur Benton, are credited with the design. The Raincross has two elements; the lower portion, consisting of a bell suspended in a trapezoidal wooden frame, directly copies one from the bell tower of Mission San Gabriel.  The origin of the upper portion is not so clear. The Handbook of the Mission Inn, published by the hotel (1951), refers to the double cross as a symbol used by Native Americans of the Southwest to represent a rain god or dragonfly, the latter being a symbol of water and rain. 

With the coming of the missionaries, the double cross became incorporated into Christian symbolism (including the Cross of Lorraine). Since mission padres put up crosses wherever they went, it was appropriate for the Mission Inn to honor both the Spanish and the Native Americans by using a cross that held significance for both. 

Double or two-tiered crosses were also included in the designs of the Roycroft Community in New York State, founded by Frank Miller’s friend, Elbert Hubbard. Examples of the Arts and Crafts furniture made by Hubbard’s community can be found in the Mission Inn collections. The National Biscuit Company and the American Lung Association also used double crosses. 

The Raincross symbol is seen throughout Riverside. Soon after Frank Miller’s patent was approved, the City of Riverside adopted it as the city’s symbol and incorporated it into the design of the city’s streetlights and other fixtures. Since then, the Raincross has been reproduced in a variety of ways – in jewelry, murals, and even as part of the design of the 91 Freeway. 

The patent reads as follows:

United States Patent Office.
Frank A. Miller, of Riverside, California.
Design for an Emblem
No. 39,155.                                 Specification for Design              Patented Feb. 25, 1908.

Application field June 27, 1907.  Serial No. 380,628.  Term of patent 14 years.

To all whom it may concern:
            Be in known that I, Frank A. Miller, a citizen of the United States, residing at Riverside, in the county of Riverside and State of California, have invented a new original, and ornamental Design for an Emblem, of which the following is a specification, reference being had to the accompanying drawing, forming a part thereof. 
            The figure is a plan view of the emblem, showing my new design.
            I claim:
            The ornamental design for an emblem, as shown.
                        Frank A. Miller

         Witnesses:
                        C. W. Barton
                        J. M. Vosburgh

 

Bibliography
  • Hutchings, DeWitt, ed. (1951). Handbook of the Mission Inn Riverside California. Riverside, CA: Mission Inn.
  • Hodgen, Maurice. "The Romance of the Rain Cross" Journal of the Riverside County Historical Society No. 9 (February 2005): 17-31.
  • Klotz, Esther. (1982). The Mission Inn: Its History and Artifacts. Riverside, CA: Rubidoux Printing.
 
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