Report of the Commissioner of Patents to Congress for the Year ending December 31, 1892
Laid before the Senate by the Vice President January 31, 1893, referred to the Committee on Patents, and ordered to be printed
Department of the Interior
United States Patent Office
Washington, D.C., January 31, 1893
To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled:
This report is rendered in compliance with the following section of the Revised Statutes
The Commissioner of Patents shall lay before Congress in the month of January, annually, a report giving a detailed statement of all moneys received for patents, for copies of records or drawings, or for any other source whatever, a detailed statement of all expenditures for contingent and miscellaneous expenses; a list of all patents which were granted during the preceding year, designating under proper heads the subjects of such patents; an alphabetical list of all the patentees, with their places of residence; a list of all patents which have been extended during the year, and such other information of the condition of the Patent Office as may be useful to Congress or the public.
The detailed statements and lists of patents and patentees above specified will be found at the end of this report, following what is intended to be such "information of the condition of the Patent Office as may be useful to Congress or the public."
More Room Needed
Secretaries of the Interior and Commissioners of Patents again and again have given voice to the crying need for more breathing space for the men and women who work in the Patent Office, and however much of sameness it may entail, an ever-present menace to the health and safety of these people makes it the imperative duty of this report to present this matter again and first of all. On high authority an office occupant needs four thousand cubic feet of air space in a room having "ordinary ventilation," which he occupies two successive hours. Two hundred and seventy people in the examining force of this Bureau have but nine hundred feet of air space each, in rooms which they occupy for seven consecutive hours, and one hundred and ten persons in the assignment and draftsman's divisions have less than five hundred feet of air space each, in rooms which they occupy for the same length of time, and the ventilation is not "ordinary"; it does not rise to that dignity.
Originally the corridors in the Patent Office building ran to the exterior walls, where there are windows admitting light and air; but supposed necessity has since located a room at each extremity, converting the corridors into dead-air spaces, needing artificial light at noonday. The corridors walls are lined on both sides with unsightly wooden closets and file cases filled with record papers,. A great number of the force work in basement and sub-basement rooms, intended simply for storage purposes in the original planning of the building.
There are stored more than a thousand tons of copies of patents on five different floors, tucked into every nook and corner where an eager eye can discover a few feet of available space, so disconnected in order and arrangement that it not infrequently happens that to select two copies standing next each other in number one must travel from the sub-basement to the galleries, four stories above. These copies are stored upon the galleries beyond the limit of safety, the worst overloading being directly over the Commissioner's room, and in that near vicinity the cracking of the room supports gives daily evidence of the danger which constantly threatens all below.
This situation is serious. It is one which in reason demands immediate relief. The present Secretary of the Interior, commenting in appreciative and generous phrase upon this matter in his letter to the President of the Senate, dated March 18, 1892, says:
It is imperatively necessary that the Department of the Interior should be granted a public building in which to do its work and preserve its archives commensurate with the important service demanded and the great national services devolved upon it. As it is, burdens of material are not only heaped upon the buildings, the Department occupies beyond their strength, but burdens of labor are imposed upon the officials without regard to human endurance.
It would seem that no reasonable question can be made but that the permanent solution of the difficulty is thus correctly stated; but the Patent Office ought to have relief meanwhile. The immediate relief, which is possible, and which Congress has apparently approved in the past, is the present and entire removal of the General Land Office from the structure commonly known as "the Patent Office building."
By the act approved March 3, 1887, it was enacted:
That as soon as practicable after the completion as provided for the sundry civil act approved August fourth, eighteen hundred and eighty-six, and not later than December first, eighteen hundred and eighty-eight, the Secretary of the Interior shall cause to be removed to the Pension Building the General Land Office, Bureau of Education, Office of Commissioner of Railroads, and Bureau of Labor, and vacate the buildings rented for and now occupied by said offices and Bureaus, or portions thereof.
But under the act approved October 2, 1888, it was --
Provided, further, That so much of the act approved March third, eighteen hundred and eighty-seven, as requires the removal of the General Land Office and the Bureau of Education to said Pension Building be, and the same is hereby repealed.
Congress, however, said this, by act approved March 3, 1891:
For rent of buildings for the Department of the Interior, namely: For the Bureau of Education, four thousand dollars; Geological Survey, ten thousand dollars; Indian Office, six thousand dollars; General Land Office, sixteen thousand dollars.
It is understood that less than $5,000 of the $16,000 thus appropriated for the rent of the General Land Office was used.
Now that the business of the Land Office is radically diminishing, and in the nature of things must soon become a small matter and so remain, while the business of the Patent Office steadily increases and must continue to do so, the attention of Congress is earnestly called to this mode of relieving the Patent Office from its great trouble. In this connection it is fair to say that the entire structure now occupied in part by the Patent Office was planned as a Patent Office, and its construction begun under an act approved July 4, 1836. Hundreds of thousands of dollars of patent fees have been incorporated into that building, and inventors have now lying in the United States Treasury more than four millions of dollars, not raised under the taxing power of Congress, but realized under that clause of the Constitution which says that --
Congress shall have power ... to promote the progress of science and useful arts by securing for limited times to .... inventors the exclusive right to their ... discoveries.
More Force Needed
The number of applications for patents on hand and awaiting action July 1, 1890, was 6,585; the number July 1, 1891, was 8,911. During that year the work fell behind 2,326 cases. At the latter date ten persons were added to the examining corps and four persons to the clerical force. The present Commissioner began his duties August 1, 1891. His last annual report, that for the year ending December 31, 1891, said:
Within the latter half of the year just passed ten persons have been added to the examining corps and four persons to the clerical force of the Patent Office, under provision made for that purpose by the last Congress, and that addition is a most grateful one. But it is not all that is needed. The experience of the last few months shows that the present examining corps may possibly be able to keep the work from falling behind to a greater degree than it is at present, although that is by no means sure.
The number of applications on hand and awaiting action January 1, 1893, was 9,011, showing an increase as compared with July 1, 1891, of 100 cases -- that is, the Office had fallen behind to that degree in a year and a half. This comparison seems to show that the present examining force in the Patent Office is about adequate to the performance of the work as it comes in. It really lacks adequacy in a more substantial degree, for a large part of the examining corps has been worked over time since October 1, 1892, by special order. It ought not to be necessary to force the examining corps to work over time. It is believed that no like number of men in the world, assembled in one body, has to perform duties as delicate and difficult as those which are performed by the examining corps of the Patent Office.
There are one hundred and ninety-nine of these Examiners. They have before them, in round numbers, forty thousand applications for patents a year, on which are made something over one hundred and forty-five thousand separate actions, giving each Examiner an average of seven hundred and thirty actions on applications made yearly. In addition to this, they hear and decide a variety of motions, chief among them those for dissolution of interferences, which are argued by counsel, pro and con, and which require the same study, thought, and deliberation for proper decision as a case in a court of law. They make answers to interlocutory appeals and to appeals on the merits. The Principal Examiners keep the efficiency records of their divisions, and they keep the data for and render a number of reports. There is a variety of duties performed by the Examiners outside of the regular actions on the applications for patent. The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly spoken of the patent law as the "metaphysics of the law," and that it is. A competent Examiner musts possess a wide range of scientific and technical knowledge, a trained capacity for analysis and comparison of mechanism, a fair knowledge of that patent law which the Supreme Court says is the "metaphysics of the law." The code of procedure and practice in the Patent Office is more complicated than that of any court of law, and necessarily so. The necessity inheres in the nature of the work. It is a pleasure to be able to say that the great majority of the Examiners in the Office are competent, and to repeat the statement that it is believed that there is no similar number of men in the world, gathered into one body, performing duties as delicate and difficult as those performed by the examining corps of the Patent Office. Men who do work of this character ought not to be obliged to work over time. Experience in various fields of mental labor has shown that ninety per cent of all errors are made after five hours of continuous work. The Examiners ought to have ample opportunity for thought and deliberation, and the pace asked of them ought to be one that can be reasonably kept from day to day and year to year. Moreover, their salaries, fixed at their present figure a generation ago, should be properly increased.
Something important remains to be said. At the close of the calendar year 1891 the Patent Office had issued 476,271 mechanical patents, constituting a vast field, some particular lines in which have to be explored from first to last in connection with every one of the forty thousand applications for patent which are made each year. At the close of the calendar year 1892 the Patent Office had issued 498,932 patents. Twenty-three thousand new patents are added to this vast field of exploration yearly.
To make this exploration possible, the patents area divided into classes. But the classes necessarily so overlap each other that each class needs to be digested by itself, so that each Examiner in passing upon the novelty of an improvement presented for patent can examine all the classes where he is at all likely to find the improvement in question. Let this proposition be illustrated: One of the Examiners of the Office, as a matter of private enterprise, lately prepared and published a digest of cycles and velocipedes, making 1,503 pages, contained in two volumes. Under the classification of the Office all these improvements are supposed to be found in the sub-classes of Velocipedes and Tires, which are a part of the division of Carriages and Wagons. In order,however, to perfect the compilation, the Examiner found it necessary to read from one hundred and fifty thousand to two hundred thousand patents, comprised in one hundred and fifty other sub-classes, and in almost every one of these one hundred and fifty other subclasses he found devices which it was necessary to include in his digest. Only two or three such digests exist, and they are the product of private enterprise. If all the classes of invention were thus digested, the work of examination into novelty would be wonderfully facilitated, and at the same time made more thorough than is now possible. The situation is such as to demand the making of these digests. It is earnestly recommended that thirty-two additional Fourth Assistant Examiners (one for each division) be authorized by law expressly for this work; that sixteen additional Fourth Assistant Examiners be authorized for the purpose of bringing the current work up to date and keeping it there, and that $25,000 of annual appropriation be made to begin the publication of the digest.
For the Good of the Nation
It would almost seem as if there were a halt in the workings of that practical wisdom with which the nation has hitherto treated its inventors. The fathers who builded the Constitution with such rare foresight as to compel the admiration of the world in ever enlarging degree as we recede from the day in which they wrought, gave Congress the power to promote the progress of the useful arts by securing to inventors for limited times the exclusive rights to their discoveries. The Congress of 1790 promptly made a patent law in pursuance of their power. The Congress of 1793 revised it. The Congress of 1836 broadened the foundations of the system, created the Commissioner of Patents, and ordered the building of the Patent Office, substantially as it now exists. The Congresses of 1842, 1861, and 1870 added features of improvement.
The results have more than justified the constitutional provision and the legislation following in its wake. America has become known the world around as the home of invention. We march in the van of human progress. Now and then a great invention, like the telegraph or the telephone, leaps ahead of the line, but thousands upon thousands of busy inventive brains add each its mite of improvement, and before we know it the whole line has moved out to where the product of mighty genius but a little while ago stood alone. A vastly larger number of inventions are of real value than the great public dreams, and those which seem to fall dead contain within them the seeds of suggestion which later lives and grows to rich fruition. There is a sad procession of martyrs mingled with the great inventive host; but the country and the world profit by their sacrifice.
Our inventors are the true national builders, the true promoters of civilization. They take nothing from the public; they ask nothing from the public; they simply add to the sum of human knowledge, to the sum of human possessions, and to the sum of human happiness. With the Ruler of the Universe they share in humble degree His high prerogative of creation, and they but ask to enjoy for a little time the use of the valuable thing they create. The Greeks reserved their highest honors for inventors, and we shall sometime attain to a civilization of like degree.
Into every department of industry and into every possible thing that can conduce to human comfort American inventive genius has entered, to cheapen and to beautify. The Western farmer may know it not, but the inventor of the compound marine engine is possibly the bests friend he ever had, and that farmer will find his reward in ascertaining for himself what its effect in cheapening transportation across the ocean has been upon his fortunes. Another example, -- a single generation ago our carpets were made for us by foreign hands and the prices were excessive. A great American inventor produced the Bigelow carpet loom; building upon the faith of an American patent a million dollars in one instance and a million and a half in another were risked upon the experiment. The result today is that our carpets cost about one-third what they did, and less than one-hundredth of them are made by foreign looms. Had there been no patent law, these millions would never have been risked in the experiment so rich in result to the American people. If today the sewing machine were produced for the first time and we had no patent law, the inventor would hawk it in vain up and down the land to find that foolish man who would risk a half-million dollars in its commercial development, with the certainty that success would but invite a ruinous competition.
If there be one class of men above all others to whom the American nation and the American people are in debt, it is the American inventors. Why not grant them the poor boon of expending for their benefit the moneys they pay?
The Classified Service
The officials and employees of the Patent office are 605 in number, classified as follows:
Commissioner $5,000 Assistant Commissioner 3,000 Chief Clerk 2,250 Two law clerks 2,000 Three Examiners-in-Chief 3,000 Examiner of Interferences 2,500 Thirty two Primary Examiners 2,500 Thirty four First Assistant Examiners 1,800 Thirty eight Second Assistant Examiners 1,600 Forty three Third Assistant Examiners 1,400 Fifty two Fourth Assistant Examiners 1,200 Financial clerk 2,000 Librarian 2,000 Three chiefs of divisions 2,000 Three assistant chiefs of divisions 1,800 Five clerks of Class 4 (one application clerk) 1,800 Machinist 1,600 Six clerks of Class 3 (one translator) 1,600 Fourteen clerks of Class 2 1,400 Fifty clerks of Class 1 1,200 Skilled laborer 1,200 Three skilled draftsmen 1,200 Four draftsmen 1,000 Messenger and property clerk 1,000 Twenty five permanent clerks 1,000 Five model attendants 1,000 Ten model attendants 800 Sixty copyists (five of drawings) 900 Seventy six copyists 720 Three messengers 840 Twenty assistant messengers 720 Forty five laborers 600 Forty five laborers 480 Fifteen messenger boys 360 The following are appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, (S. 476, R.S.:) Commissioner $5,000 Assistant Commissioner 3,000 Three Examiners-in-Chief 3,000
All of the remainder are in the classified service, and appointed through the medium of the Civil Service Commissioner, except the following, 138 in number, who are appointed by the Secretary of the Interior upon the nomination of the Commissioner of Patents, (S.476, R.S.:)
Chief Clerk $2,250 Two law clerks 2,000 Examiner of Interferences 2,500 Financial clerk 2,000 Three chiefs of divisions 2,000 One clerks of Class 1 (Commissioner's secretary) 1,200 Messenger and property clerk 1,000 Three messengers 840 Twenty assistant messengers 720 Forty five laborers 600 Forty five laborers 480 Fifteen messenger boys 360
If any but good results have flowed from the establishment of the classified service in the Patent Office, they do not readily rise to mind. There is no proper place for politics in the Patent Office from top to bottom, and if, with the exception of the Chief Clerk, the law clerks, the financial clerk, and the personal clerk of the Commissioner, all who are now in the unclassified service were made a part of the classified service it would be a measure of great practical value. One thousand applications a year is a reasonable estimate of the number of those made to the Commissioner for appointment to the unclassified service. By making the change suggested this tax on the time and feelings of the Commissioner -- and it is the hardest thing he has to meet in a volume of work that is both great and severe -- would be eliminated, and a similar tax on the time and attention of persons whose "influence" with the Commissioner is sought would suffer the same fate.
As the present Commissioner will soon cease to be such, the situation affords an opportunity for some remarks about the Office, which it is believed, will find a decided and assenting echo in the minds of the great majority of inventors, of lawyers who practice before the Patent Office, of manufacturers, and of all Americans who take an intelligent interest in the Patent Office and in the advancement of the useful arts. The appointment of the Commissioner of Patents and the Assistant Commissioner ought at once and forever to cease to be political, their salaries should be increased, and they should hold office on the tenure of good behavior. These positions are, first of all judicial in their nature. During the calendar year 1892 the Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner heard or read arguments on and made written decisions in eight hundred and eight cases. Not infrequently there is an array of eminent counsel on both sides of these cases, and the hearing occupies the larger part of the day. If this volume of judicial work is surpassed in amount or importance by that of any other two persons in the land, it would not be easy to demonstrate the fact. Unless the persons who make these decisions have a previous training and education fitting them for these judicial duties, their performances are but a cruel travesty of true judicial action. Given fitness, it is still in the highest degree important that the lines upon which these judicial decisions are rendered should be stable and certain and not liable to change as the Office shifts from person to person at short intervals. There have been ten Commissioners since November 1, 1874, giving each an average term of a little less than two years. Again, the procedure of the Office is so intricate and peculiar that no Commissioner can master it at the moment he begins his duties. It requires an apprenticeship. Still again, the proper discipline and management of the Office force require stability in the tenure of the Commissioner. Under the present practice there must necessarily be a degree of demoralization in this regard for a period of time immediately preceding the retirement of a Commissioner and for a like period of time immediately succeeding the accession of a new one. The Patent Office is no more political in its nature than is a well-regulated court of law, and it would be just as reasonable to appoint and remove the judges of the Federal courts on a political basis as it is to do that same thing by the Commissioner of Patents. The fortunes of a political party cannot be advanced or retarded by what is done in the Patent Office. It is a business office, in close touch with the business interests of the country, and everything in and about it should proceed upon a business basis.
The Patent Office at the World's Columbian Exposition
For more than a year past the preparation of a Patent Office exhibit for the World's Columbian Exposition at Chicago has been in progress. It has required the expenditure of a great amount of care, thought, and labor, which the Office could not afford to spare; but the result is gratifying. The exhibit comprises upward of twenty-five hundred models, nearly all of them working machines in all except size. They are divided into groups or classes as follows:
Plows (including Cultivators) .............. 41 Harrows and Diggers ........................ 34 Seeders and Planters ....................... 22 Harvesters ................................. 58 Fences and Gates ........................... 25 Excavating ................................. 44 Bridges ..................................... 8 Fire Escapes and Ladders .................... 4 Centrifugal Machines ....................... 15 Boot and Shoe Machinery ................... 111 Leather-Working Machinery .................. 18 Screw-Making Machines ..................... 106 Nail-Making Machines ....................... 27 Horseshoe Making ............................ 9 Chain Making ................................ 5 File Cutting and Gear Cutting .............. 17 Wire Working ............................... 26 Sheet-Metal Working and Soldering .......... 46 Punching and Shearing ...................... 13 Brick and Tile Making ...................... 96 Paper Making ............................... 61 Electric Dynamos and Motors ................ 93 Telegraphy ................................. 30 Electric Lighting .......................... 19 Telephony .................................. 40 Printing .................................. 106 Steam Engines (including Locomotives) ..... 206 Steam Steering .............................. 8 Injectors and Ejectors ..................... 57 Locks ...................................... 43 Carding and Combing ........................ 50 Spinning ................................... 23 Cordage .................................... 32 Weaving .................................... 50 Knitting and Netting ....................... 33 Cloth Finishing (including Cloth Measuring) .60 Felting and Fulling (including Hat Making) ..28 Marine Propulsion ......................... 283 Ships ...................................... 84 Ordnance .................................. 117 Firearms .................................. 160 Sewing Machines ........................... 103 Thrashing .................................. 35 Mills (including Grain Weighing) .......... 110 Laundry .................................... 43 Washing Apparatus .......................... 21 Refrigeration .............................. 13 Aeration and Bottling ....................... 7 Wood Turning ............................... 13 Woodworking Machines ....................... 21 Wood Sawing ................................. 6 Typewriting Machines ....................... 36 Tanning .................................... 32
The models in each group are arranged in chronological order, beginning with the first crude implement and ending with the latest improvement. While omitting many details in various lines of improvement, these models constitute as a whole a most valuable and, as it is believed, a hitherto unequaled representation of the development of invention. The models necessary to illustrate the development of a number of the arts have been selected with care from those on file in this Office, and these have been supplemented by building such models as were found necessary to represent early inventions not in the possession of the Office. They have been further supplemented by loans from inventors and manufacturers of models by later patented inventions not represented in the Office by models. The responses made by inventors and manufacturers to requests for loans of this sort have been remarkably generous, and the Commissioner takes this occasion to heartily thank each and all for those who have made these loans for their cordial co-operation. The entirety forms a collection of very great cost, value, and beauty.
In the lines of inventions which are distinctively American, those which had their inception and highest development in this country under the encouragement afforded by our patent laws, such as the harvester, the sewing machine, and the telephone, the exhibit has been made especially full.
In harvesters, an invention the value of which to the American farmer cannot be overestimated, the exhibit begins with a model representing a "header" used in Gaul in the first century, a model of Boyce's mowing machine, patented in England in 1799, and several models illustrating early unsuccessful attempts at a mowing machine made in this country. The stages through which the art advanced are shown by the Hussey mower of 1833, the McCormick reaper, patented in 1834, (two inventions which marked the beginning of the modern art,) the Mann harvester of 1850, the "New Yorker" reaper, manufactured and sold prior to 1850, the first knotter for self binders -- that patented by Behel in 1860 -- and many others of the pioneer inventions in this art. The growth of the art is traced through these inventions to its development in the latest complete machines which will be used in the harvesting the crops of 1893.In this history of the harvester it has been necessary, on account of the destruction of models by the fire of 1877, to build a number of earlier models and to ask the loan of others; but with these additions the history is believed to be full and accurate. To illustrate the growth of this art, there have been selected twenty seven models from those on file in the Office; four have been built, and twenty seven have been loaned for the purposes of this exhibit by inventors and manufacturers at their own very considerable expense especially for this exhibit.
The exhibit of the growth of the sewing machine begins with the earliest attempt at mechanical sewing devices of which there is a clear record, the Greenough machine of 1842, and the first machine of practical value as a sewing machine, the invention of Elias Howe, patented in 1846. The successive steps of improvement from this beginning are illustrated each by a working model to the final development in the perfected machines manufactured under existing patents. To show this history of the sewing machine, seventy seven models have been selected from those on file in the Office and twenty six, mostly modern machines now on the market, have been loaned by manufacturers and inventors. This is believed to be such a showing of the growth of the sewing machine as can be furnished by no other institution in this or any other country.
In telephones substantially the whole history of the art is presented in the exhibit, beginning with the Bell telephone of 1876 and showing the important improvements down to the latest telephone used today. In this exhibit of the models on file in this Office twenty have been selected, and nearly twenty more are to be loaned by manufacturers.
In agricultural implements other than harvesters -- such as plows, cultivators, and like implements -- forty three models, eleven of them loaned, illustrate the development from the primitive Egyptian and Assyrian plows down to the modern sulky plows and cultivators. Twenty two models of seeders and planters, three of them loaned, show the development of the latest practical devices in that line, and the development of the modern harrow is illustrated by twenty eight models, seven of them loaned. Farm fences and gates are shown in improved forms by twenty five models, two of which were loaned to the Office by inventors. A special effort in preparing this exhibit has been made to show the value of the patent system to the farmer, stimulating, as it has, the great improvements which give the American farmer of today the best implements to be found in the world. In harvesters, as well as in plows and cultivators, no substantial improvement took place from the beginning of the Christian era until the establishment of our patent system. Under this system the improvement has been continuous. This exhibit shows that fact, and it is a convincing proof of the value of the patent system to the farmer.
In ordnance a full history of the growth of the art to its development in the modern rapid-fire revolving cannon is shown, beginning with a model of the early Chinese wooden cannon used before gunpowder was known to Europeans. The successive stages of the growth of this art are illustrated in one hundred and fourteen models selected from those on file in this Office, supplemented by the models built expressly for the exhibit.
In firearms the inception of the art is shown by models of the early pyrotechnic hand weapon, fired like a Roman candle from the muzzle, and the hand culverin of the Middle Ages. The advance through the successive stages of the match-lock, the fire-lock, the flint-lock, the early percussion-lock, and the crude form of breech loader are fully shown. The final development in the modern repeating breech loader is shown by means of guns of the latest model, which have been furnished by the manufacturers. This history of the small arm is shown by one hundred and thirty eight models selected from those on file in the Office, and twenty two others, two of which have been built and twenty loaned from various sources.
In the art of spinning the exhibit begins with the models of the ancient distaff and spindle, the early East Indian spinning wheel, and English spinning wheel used in this country in Colonial times. Models of Hargreave's spinning jenny of 1763, the first practical spinning machine made, and Arkwright's water-frame of 1769, the first practical roller spinning machine, are shown. The growth of the art since the beginning of the American patent system down to the latest self-acting mules is shown by fourteen models selected from those on file in the Office. The earlier art is shown by nine models which have been built for this purpose.
In the art of weaving the history is shown from the ancient Egyptian and Roman looms, the primitive East Indian loom, and the Navajo Indian loom, through the successive stages of advance to the final development in the power looms of recent date for weaving carpets and other figured fabrics of complicated structure and pattern. In this history are used forty two models from the Office and eight models constructed especially for the exhibit.
The growth of the art of printing under the stimulus afforded by the wise provisions of the patent laws is represented by models of the Gutenberg press, the Franklin, and other early presses, showing what the art was before the beginning of our patent system, and a series of models of patented improvements in printing presses, from the Adams press of 1830 down to the latest perfecting newspaper press of the present day. One hundred and one models from the Office files are used in this history, supplemented by five furnished by inventors or manufacturers.
In steam engines the exhibit shows the early forms of the engine, including Hero's aeropile of 150 B.C., the engines of Papin, Savery, Newcomen, and Watt, the early locomotive engines of Trevethick, Stephenson, and others, down to the modern steam engine and the modern locomotive. In this history of the steam engine two hundred and six models are used ten of which were built expressly for the exhibit and ten others loaned by inventors.
In the other important arts the same growth under the encouragement afforded by our patent laws could be shown were it not for necessary limitation in exhibition space.
In each art in which an exhibit is made the models have been selected with a view to showing the history of the art as correctly as possible. Those inventions only have been selected which have had a direct bearing on the advance of the art toward its final development. And while, on account of the destruction of the Office models by the fire of 1877, the history cannot in all cases be as full as could be desired, yet, taken as a whole, they present a grand historical exhibit of the progress of the useful arts, which will not only show what has been done by our patent system, but will, it is believed, be of great interest not only to inventors and manufacturers, but to the public generally. The total number of models selected from the Office for the exhibits in all the arts enumerated is two thousand four hundred and fifty; the number of models built is fifty, and the number of models loaned to the Office is two hundred and fifty.
The preparation of this exhibit has only been made possible by the unwearying and unselfish labor of the Patent Office committee with the Assistant Commissioner at their head, who have had it in their charge, and it is with pleasure that the great value of their services is hereby specially recognized.
Legislation Desired Concerning International Matters
In the year 1883 an International Union for the Protection of Industrial Property was concluded at Paris through the agreement of several nations. The United States of America became a member of that union in 1887 by virtue of proceedings in the nature of an international treaty. Thereupon the articles of this union became a part of the fundamental law of the land under that clause of the Constitution which says that --
all treaties made or which shall be made under the authority of the United States shall be the supreme law of the land.
But no statutes have been enacted in this country to enforce and carry out the provisions of this treaty. There is ground for difference of opinion as to just what laws ought to be made in the United States of America for this purpose; but there is no question but that some laws are needed, and at present the United States is open to the charge of non-fulfillment of its treaty obligations.
The condition is thought to be one that calls for careful and considerate inquiry as to the legislation which is necessary and desirable. Of course a committee of Congress can make that inquiry, or a commission might be created for that purpose, or the Commissioner of Patents might be called upon to report specifically in the matter, and possibly there are other modes of properly conducting such inquiry. Attention is thus called to the matter at this time for the purpose of earnestly urging that Congress prepare the way for early legislation by adoption of some measure adapted to elicit the desired information. If it shall thereby appear that our treaty obligations can be met without impairing the efficiency of our present laws, the way would seem to be clear for the enactment of appropriate legislation. If, on the contrary, the obligations which our Government has assumed are found so at variance with existing law that legislation to enforce them will materially impair our system, it may be found best to abandon the convention which imposes such obligations. The next conference of the international union will convene at Brussels in 1894, and it is to be hoped that then the American delegates may be able to show to the other nations which are members of the union that the Congress of the United States of America is fully sensible of the obligations assumed by the Government and is prepared to execute them, or else that, finding them inconsistent with our law, has determined to withdraw from the union.
There is another matter of an international character which ought to have instant attention. Our patent law is exceptionally liberal to foreigners. A foreign patent is no bar to a subsequent similar grant in the United States. Like liberality is not, as a rule, extended to American inventors by foreign countries. In the recent German patent law a provision exists apparently designed to ameliorate the present hard condition of American inventors by providing that an official publication of the specification of a patent shall not bar the grant of a subsequent patent in Germany if application is made in the latter country within three months from and after such publication, provided that the country in which the publication is made confers the reciprocal privilege on Germans. This privilege is conferred by our Government, and therefore our citizens are entitled to enjoy the benefit of this German statute. It happens, however, that the German law of [sic] contains the additional proviso that the existence of the required reciprocity shall be certified by proclamation of the Imperial Chancellor, and although the German law has been in force for a year and a half that official has hitherto neglected or refused to make the publication which is necessary in order to enable American citizens to enjoy its benefits. Such an amendment to our patent law should immediately be made as will restrict the enjoyment of its privileges in this regard to the citizens or subjects of such states as shall grant reciprocal privileges to American citizens.
The following bill for this purpose is now pending before the Senate, and it is hoped that it may at once become a law:
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That no patent shall be granted for an invention which has been patented or officially made public in any foreign country, unless such country shall grant the same privilege to citizens of the United States, or unless the application shall be made under a treaty or convention between the United States and such other country.
Other Desired Legislation
The following amendments to the patent law and the trademark law are recommended:
First. An amendment to the effect that no improvement shall be patentable which has been for more than two years before application for patent thereon disclosed in any patent or printed publication issued in this country. Under existing law two years of public use in this country creates such a bar, and on principle two years of disclosure in a patent or printed publication should be put upon the same footing.
Second. An amendment to the effect that a patent shall not expire with the expiration of a prior foreign patent for the same invention. The existing law upon this subject has been found to work confusion, uncertainty, and fraud.
Third, an amendment compelling an applicant to take action upon his application at least once every six months, in lieu of once in two years, as at present, and a further provision that a patent shall in no case live for more than twenty years from the date of first application therefor. The adoption of such amendments would put an end to keeping applications for patents pending many years prior to issue.
Fourth. An amendment requiring patent licenses to be recorded the same as assignments and grants. Licenses are often so drawn as to convey away the whole substance of a patent, and yet under existing law they do not need to be recorded. The same reason that calls for the recording of assignments and grants calls equally for the recording of licenses.
Fifth. An amendment putting aliens upon the same footing as citizens as to the filing of caveats. In all other respects than this our patent law makes no distinction between citizens and aliens, and the retention of this distinction in the statute is clearly an oversight.
Sixth. An amendment abolishing interference contests in the Patent Office and relegating them to the courts. These interferences are, to all intents and purposes, lawsuits between two or more parties who are seeking to patent the same invention. The Patent Office has not the power to compel witnesses to behave properly in these matters. It has not the tribunals adequate for the trial of these causes, and they entail a grievous burden of work upon the Office, which, distributed among the different courts, would not be felt as a sensible addition to their labors. Moreover, a court adjudication of these cases would be of great practical value to an interference contestant, which value is wholly lacking in an adjudication given by the Patent Office, and the cost of the litigation in a court could not be greater than it is at present.
Seventh. An amendment providing that no damages or profits shall be recovered in a suit for infringement, except such as accrue within the six years last preceding the bringing of the suit. The reason for the enactment of this statute of limitations is apparent without detailed explanation.
Eighth. A statute providing that an injunction issued by a court against the transfer of a patent may be registered in the Patent Office and thereupon be constructive notice to all the world. It is believed that the propriety of such a provision is obvious.
Ninth. A statute giving courts of equitable jurisdiction power to pass the title to Letters Patent in a proper case without any action on the part of the defendant. Now courts must act in such a case by compelling the defendant to sign the necessary conveyance, and a defendant can readily defy the court by putting himself outside of its territorial jurisdiction.
Tenth. A provision in the law to the effect that the Commissioner of Patents may refund to the payer money paid into the Patent Office by mistake. This is the present practice of the Office -- a practice founded in equity; but it ought to have the express sanction of law.
Eleventh. A permanent provision in the statute defining the duties of the Assistant Commissioner of Patents.
Twelfth. An amendment to the trademark law permitting registry of trademarks which are used in commerce between the States, the permission now being restricted to trademarks used in foreign commerce or in commerce with the Indian tribes.
Receipts Detailed statement of all moneys received for patents, for copies of records or drawings, or from any source whatever. Applications Cash received $1,114,795.00 Cash refunded 3,740.00 ____________ Net cash 1,111,055.00 Certificates of deposit 42,368.95 ____________ Total cash and certificates 1,153,423.95 ============ Copies Cash received 102,355.01 Cash refunded 5,716.53 __________ Net cash 96,638.48 Certificates of deposit 869.35 __________ Total cash and certificates 97,507.83 ========= Recording assignments Cash received 22,479.20 Cash refunded 1,227.85 _________ Net cash 21,251.35 Certificates of deposit 203.00 _________ Total cash and certificates 21,454.35 ========= Subscription to Official Gazette Cash received 13,620.79 Cash refunded 79.79 _________ Net cash 13,541.00 Certificates of deposit 128.70 _________ Total cash and certificates 13,669.70 ========= Registration of labels Cash received 2,868.00 Cash refunded 2,610.00 ________ Net cash 258.00 Certificates of deposit 18.00 ________ Total cash and certificates 276.00 ======== Aggregates Cash received $1,256,118.00 Cash refunded 13,374.17 ____________ Net cash 1,242,743.83 Certificates of deposit 43,588.00 ____________ Total cash and certificates 1,286,331.83 ============ Expenditures Amount expended by this Office under the several appropriations from January 1, 1892, to December 31, 1892 Salaries $673,478.70 Official Gazette 55,668.80 Photolithographing 99,168.84 Scientific Library 2,376.56 Transportation of publications to foreign governments 319.27 International Union for Protection of Industrial Property 681.76 __________ Total 831,693.93 ==========
Approximate amount reported by the Department of the Interior as expended on account of this Office from January 1, 1892, to December 31, 1892. [fn.: A literal compliance with the provisions of the statute requiring a "detailed statement of all expenditures for contingent and miscellaneous expenses" is not possible, for the reason that the contingent fund for the several bureaus of this Department was consolidated by the act of March 3, 1883, and hence no part of that fund is disbursed by the Patent Office, and I am furnished only with an approximate sum expended on behalf of the Patent Office.]
Stationery $10,623.10 Postage on foreign matter 2,415.00 Printing and binding 240,171.97 Watch force 2,800.66 Carpets 2,013.90 Ice 275.12 Telephones 468.00 Washing towels 132.00 Sundries 3,545.56 __________ Total 279,045.31 ========== Aggregate amount of expenditures 1,110,739.24 ============ Receipts over Expenditures Total receipts $1,286.331.83 Total expenditures 1,110,739.24 ____________ Receipts over expenditures 175,592.59 ============ Statement of balance in the Treasury of the United States on account of the patent fund Amount to the credit of the fund January 1, 1892 $4,004,317.67 Amount of receipts during the year 1892 1,286,331.83 ____________ Total 5,290,649.50 Deduct expenditures for the year 1892 1,110,739.24 ____________ Balance January 1, 1893 4,179,910.26 ============ Summary of the Business of the Patent Office Number of applications for patents for inventions 39,514 Number of applications for patents for designs 1,130 Number of applications for reissues of patents 109 ______ Total number of applications 40,753 ====== Number of caveats filed 2,290 Number of applications for registration of trademarks 2,179 Number of applications for registration of labels 458 Number of disclaimers filed 7 Number of appeals on the merits 1,025 ______ Total 5,959 ====== Total number of applications, etc., requiring investigation and action 46,712 ====== Number of patents issued, including designs 23,478 Number of patents reissued 81 ______ Total 23,559 ====== Number of trademarks registered 1,737 Number of labels registered 6 ______ Total 1,743 ====== Number of patents expired during the year 13,291 Number of patents withheld for non-payment of final fees 3,836 ====== Patents Issued Patents to citizens of the United States, with the ratio of population to each patent granted States and Territories Patents One to and every designs Alabama 104 14,548 Arizona Territory 16 3,726 Arkansas 102 11,060 California 652 1,852 Colorado 225 1,831 Connecticut 781 955 Delaware 33 5,705 District of Columbia 185 1,245 Florida 65 6,021 Georgia 95 19,340 Idaho 18 4,688 Illinois 2,170 1,763 Indian Territory 7 -- Indiana 653 3,357 Iowa 417 4,584 Kansas 287 4,972 Kentucky 240 7,744 Louisiana 122 9,168 Maine 146 4,527 Maryland 287 3,362 Massachusetts 1,8788 1,192 Michigan 794 2,637 Minnesota 385 3,381 Mississippi 55 23,447 Missouri 753 3,558 Montana 67 1,972 Nebraska 209 5,066 Nevada 13 3,520 New Hampshire 112 3,361 New Jersey 1,001 1,443 New Mexico Territory 17 9,034 New York 3,781 1,586 North Carolina 85 19,034 North Dakota 26 7,027 Ohio 1,533 2,395 Oklahoma Territory 3 20,611 Oregon 80 3,922 Pennsylvania 2,130 2,468 Rhode Island 252 1,371 South Carolina 69 16,683 South Dakota 64 5,137 Tennessee 133 13,289 Texas 359 6,227 Utah Territory 50 4,158 Vermont 76 4,373 Virginia 151 10,966 Washington 84 9,080 Wisconsin 507 3,327 Wyoming Territory 11 5,518 United States Army 10 -- United States Navy 17 -- Total 21,427 Patents granted to citizens of foreign countries Argentine Republic 2 Austria-Hungary 66 Belgium 15 Brazil 3 British Guiana 2 Canada 296 Cape Colony 2 Colombia 1 Costa Rica 2 Cuba 9 Denmark 5 Egypt 1 England 653 France 197 Germany 507 Guatemala 1 Hawaii 4 Honduras 1 India 6 Ireland 16 Italy 12 Japan 2 Luxemburg 1 Mexico 20 Netherlands 5 Newfoundland 1 New South Wales 16 New Zealand 6 Norway 12 Peru 1 Porto Rico 1 Portugal 2 Queensland 2 Reunion Island, Indian Ocean 1 Roumania 2 Russia 23 Scotland 41 South Australia 3 Spain 5 Sweden 34 Switzerland 42 Venezuela 3 Victoria 25 West Australia 1 West Indies 1 Total 2,051
The following tables present a comparative statement of the business of the Patent Office since the enactment of the statute of 1836 and exhibit in detail the business of the Office during the last calendar year:
Comparative statement of the business of the Office from 1837 to 1892, inclusive Years Applica- Caveats Patents Cash Cash Surplus tions Filed and Received Expended Reissues 1837 435 $29,289.08 $33,506.98 1838 520 42,123.54 37,402.10 $4,721.44 1839 425 37,260.00 34,543.51 2,716.49 1840 765 228 473 38,056.51 39,020.67 1841 847 312 495 40,413.01 52,666.87 1842 761 391 517 36,505.68 31,241.48 5,264.20 1843 819 315 531 35,315.81 30,766.96 4,538.85 1844 1,045 380 502 42,509.26 36,244.73 6,264.53 1845 1,246 452 502 51,076.14 39,395.65 11,680.49 1846 1,272 448 619 50,264.16 46,158.71 4,105.45 1847 1,531 553 572 63,111.19 41,878.35 21,232.84 1848 1,628 607 660 67,576.69 58,905.84 8,670.85 1849 1,955 595 1,070 80,752.78 77,716.44 3,036.54 1850 2,193 602 995 86,927.05 80,100.95 6,816.10 1851 2,258 760 869 95,738.61 86,916.93 8,821.68 1852 2,639 996 1,020 112,656.34 95,916.91 16,739.43 1853 2,673 901 958 121,527.45 132,869.83 1854 3,324 868 1,902 163,789.84 167,146.32 1855 4,435 906 2,024 216,459.35 179,540.33 36,919.02 1856 4,960 1,024 2,502 192,588.02 199,931.02 1857 4,771 1,010 2,910 196,132.01 211,582.09 1858 5,364 943 3,710 203,716.16 193,193.74 10,592.42 1859 6,225 1,097 4,538 245,942.15 210,278.41 35,663.74 1860 7,653 1,084 4,819 256,352.59 252.820.80 3,531.79 1861 4,643 700 3,340 137,354.44 221,491.91 1862 5,038 824 3,521 215,754.99 182,810.39 32,944.60 1863 6,014 787 4,170 195,593.29 189,414.14 6,179.15 1864 6,972 1,063 5,020 240,919.98 229,868.00 11,051.98 1865 10,664 1,937 6,616 348,791.84 274,199.34 74,593.50 1866 15,269 2,723 9,450 495,665.38 361,724.28 133,941.10 1867 21,276 3,597 13,015 646,581.92 639,263.32 7,318.60 1868 20,420 3,705 13,378 684,565.86 628,679.77 52,866.09 1869 19,271 3,624 13,986 693,145.81 486,430.78 206,715.03 1870 19,171 3,273 13,321 669,476.76 557,149.19 112,307.57 1871 19,472 3,624 13,033 678,716.46 560.595.08 118,121.38 1872 18,246 3,090 13,590 699,726.39 665,591.36 34,135.03 1873 20,414 3,248 12,864 703,191.77 691.178.98 12,012.79 1874 21,602 3,181 13,599 738,278.17 679,288.41 58,989.76 1875 21,638 3,094 16,288 743,453.36 721,657.71 21,795.65 1876 21,425 2,697 17,026 757,987.65 652,542.60 105,445.05 1877 20,308 2,869 13,619 732,342.85 613,152.62 119,190.23 1878 20,260 2,755 12,935 725,375.55 593,082.89 132,292.66 1879 20,059 2,620 12,725 703,931.47 529,638.97 174,292.50 1880 23,012 2,490 13,947 749,685.32 538,865.17 210,820.15 1881 26,059 2,406 16,584 853,665.89 605,173.28 238,492.61 1882 31,522 2,553 19,267 1,009,219.45 683,867.67 325,351.78 1833 34,576 2,741 22,383 1,146,240.00 675,234.86 471,005.14 1884 35,600 2,582 20,413 1,075,798.80 970,579.76 105,219.04 1885 35,717 2,552 24,233 1,188,098.15 1,024,378.85 163,710.30 1886 35,968 2,513 22,508 1,154,551.40 992,503.40 162,047.95 1887 35,613 2,622 21,477 1,144,509.60 994,472.22 150,037.38 1888 35,797 2,251 20,420 1,118,576.10 973,108.78 148,407.32 1889 40,575 2,481 24,158 1,281,728.05 1,052,955.96 228,772.09 1890 41,048 2,311 26,292 1,340,372.66 1,099,297.74 241,074.92 1891 40,522 2,408 23,244 1,271,285.78 1,139,713.35 131,572.43 1892 40,753 2,290 23,559 1,286,331.88 1,110,739.24 175,392.59
Statement showing the number of the first patent, design patent and reissued patent, and the number of the first certificate of registration of a trade mark and a label issued in each calendar year since July 28, 1836, when the present series of numbers of letters patent commenced, together with the total number of each issued during the year. The number of patents granted prior to the commencement of this series of numbering (July 28, 1836) was 9,957. [Divided for convenience of typing into two tables KWD]
Number of first patent and certificate issued in each calendar year Year Patents Designs Reissues Trade Labels Marks 1836 July 28 1 1837 110 1838 546 1 1839 1,061 7 1840 1,465 20 1841 1,923 30 1842 2,413 36 1843 2,901 1 49 1844 3,395 15 60 1845 3,872 27 67 1846 4,348 44 78 1847 4,914 103 91 1848 5,409 163 105 1849 5,992 209 128 1850 6,981 258 158 1851 7,865 341 184 1852 8,622 431 209 1853 9,512 540 229 1854 10,358 626 258 1855 12,117 683 286 1856 14,008 753 337 1857 16,324 860 420 1858 19,010 973 517 1859 22,477 1,075 643 1860 26,642 1,183 874 1861 31,005 1,366 1,106 1862 34,045 1,508 1,253 1863 37,266 1,703 1,369 1864 41,047 1,879 1,596 1865 45,685 2,018 1,844 1866 51,784 2,239 2,140 1867 60,658 2,533 2,430 1868 72,959 2,858 2,830 1869 85,503 3,304 3,250 1870 98,460 3,810 3,784 1 1871 110,617 4,547 4,223 122 1872 122,304 5,442 4,687 608 1873 134,504 6,336 5,216 1,099 1874 146,120 7,083 5,717 1,591 1 1875 158,350 7,969 6,299 2,150 233 1876 171,671 8,884 6,831 3,288 465 1877 185,813 9,686 7,452 4,247 937 1878 198,733 10,385 8,020 5,463 1,329 1879 211,078 10,975 8,529 6,918 1,821 1880 223,211 11,567 9,017 7,790 2,176 1881 236,137 12,082 9,523 8,139 2,379 1882 251,137 12,647 9,994 8,973 2,581 1883 269,820 13,508 10,265 9,920 2,885 1884 291,016 14,528 10,432 10,882 3,791 1885 310,163 15,678 10,548 11,843 4,304 1886 333,494 16,451 10,677 12,910 4,695 1887 355,291 17,046 10,793 13,939 5,073 1888 375,720 17,995 10,892 15,072 5,453 1889 395,305 18,830 10,978 16,131 5,780 1890 418,665 19,553 11,053 17,360 6,099 1891 443,987 20,439 11,173 18,775 6,403 1892 466,315 21,275 11,217 20,547 6,540 1893 488,976 22,092 11,298 22,274 6,546 Number of patents and certificates of registration issued during each calendar year Year Patents Designs Reissues Total Trade Labels Total Patents Marks Certi- ficates 1836 July 28 109 1837 436 1838 515 6 1839 404 13 1840 458 10 1841 490 6 1842 488 13 1843 494 14 11 510 1844 477 12 7 495 1845 476 17 11 504 1846 566 59 13 638 1847 495 60 14 569 1848 583 46 23 652 1849 989 49 30 1,068 1850 884 83 26 993 1851 757 90 25 872 1852 800 100 20 1,019 1853 846 86 29 961 1854 1,759 57 28 1,844 1855 1,891 70 51 2,012 1856 2,316 107 83 2,506 1857 2,686 113 97 2,896 1858 3,467 102 126 3,695 1859 4,165 108 231 4,504 1860 4,363 183 232 4,778 1861 3,040 142 147 3,329 1862 3,221 195 116 3,532 1863 3,781 176 227 4,184 1864 4,638 139 248 5,025 1865 6,099 221 296 6,616 1866 8,874 294 290 9,458 1867 12,301 325 400 13,026 1868 12,544 446 420 13,410 1869 12,957 596 534 13,997 1870 12,157 737 439 13,333 121 121 1871 11,687 905 464 13,056 486 486 1872 12,200 884 529 13,613 491 491 1873 11,616 747 501 12,864 492 492 1874 12,230 886 483 13,599 557 232 791 1875 13,291 915 631 14,837 1,138 232 1,370 1876 14,172 802 621 15,595 959 472 1,431 1877 12,920 699 568 14,187 1,216 392 1,608 1878 12,345 590 509 13,444 1,455 492 1,947 1879 12,133 592 488 13,213 872 355 1,227 1880 12,926 515 506 13,947 349 203 522 1881 15,548 565 471 16,584 836 202 1,038 1882 18,135 861 271 19,267 947 304 1,251 1883 21,196 1,020 167 22,383 902 906 1,808 1884 19,147 1,150 116 20,413 1,021 513 1,534 1885 23,331 773 129 24,233 1,067 391 1,458 1886 21,797 595 116 22,508 1,029 378 1,407 1887 20,429 949 99 21,477 1,133 380 1,513 1888 19,585 835 86 20,506 1,059 327 1,386 1889 23,360 723 75 24,158 1,229 319 1,548 1890 25,322 886 84 26,292 1,415 304 1,719 1891 22,328 836 80 25,244 1,762 137 1,899 1892 22,661 817 81 23,559 1,737 6 1,743