Who was Herbert Iwerks?

Ub Iwerks

The abundance of information on-line has a curious way of creating more mysteries than solving them. For example, everybody knows who Ub Iwerks is (ok, at least everybody who reads this site…hopefully), but who was Herbert Iwerks?

Harry McCracken found this 1932 patent application on Google Patents in which Ub identifies himself as Herbert “Ub” Iwerks. It’s a name that he’s not known for using which begs the question, why was he submitting a patent application under an alias? Animation historian David Gerstein made a guess on Harry’s blog, “His full name was–I always thought–Ubbe Eert Iwerks. But ‘Ubbe Eert’ seems to Anglicize to ‘Hubert,’ not ‘Herbert.’ Very peculiar… the signature certainly looks like his lettering style (and matches that seen on some early Disney title cards).”

Anybody else have any theories? And as a sidenote, if you find any more vintage patents by animation artists, please share them in the comments.