Scientific American, v 65 (ns) no 5, p 69, 1 August 1891
Early History of Reissues of Patents
To the Editor of the Scientific American
I herewith submit copies of a correspondence on file in the Department of State, relating to the early history and practice of granting reissues of patents. The correspondence has never been published, and involves, so far as I can ascertain, the first issue ever raised between the Patent Office and an applicant for reissue of patents. The correspondence can not but be deemed interesting, if not instructive, as adding an item to the history of that unique feature of the American patent system -- the reissue of patents. A brief explanation of the circumstances attending the correspondence will, perhaps, tend to its better understanding. The patent law of 1793 provided that upon application made to the Secretary of State for a patent for any new and useful invention or improvement thereof, he should cause a patent to be made out for the same for a term of fourteen years, but that before the patent should issue, the patentee should deliver, to be filed in the Department of State, a description of his invention. The decision of the courts were that a patent was void if the description was defective or insufficient. In 1802, one William Thornton was appointed to have charge of the matter of issuing patents. He held that the object of the law, being to promote the progress of useful arts by rewarding inventors, was not accomplished when the public refused to correct a defective or insufficient description, innocently made, and that if the patent did not secure the invention to the patentee, by reason of such defect or insufficiency, it was within the spirit of the law to issue another and corrected patent therefor, for the unexpired part of the term of the original patent. This practice of Thornton's was first called in question in one phase in the subjoined correspondence; other phases affecting its correct administration subsequently formed the subjects of several opinions of the Attorney-General of the United States. The legality of the practice itself was not controverted until the notable case of Grant v. Raymond, U.S.S.C., January Term, 1832, and it was thereby confirmed. On July 3, following, the first statutory provision was made for reissues of patents.
Levin H. Campbell, Asst. Exam.
U.S. Pat. Office
Washington, D.C., June, 1891
Department of State
Patent Office Nov 27, 1817
I have received from George Sullivan, Esq of Boston, an application for a renewal of your patent, under a declaration that the former one is deemed by the Hon. Judge Story insufficiently described in the specification, and therefore void. If I were to admit this it might lead to dangerous consequences, for I must aver that the specification contains the principles in a manner sufficiently clear to enable any shoe maker to make a shoe or boot containing the principle, though it may perhaps deviate in some particulars from any specific mode, but if the principle be not new, then indeed the Hon. Judge is right and you will be held to a specific mode of performing what is only an improvement or a variation in the execution. Your patent therefore will be issued as an improvement on the mode formerly described.
To John Bedford
Boston Dec 30, 1817
By advices from Mr. Bedford, it appears that the patent he applies for is considered as disallowable; because his specification shows an improvement only and his patent should be only for this. The fact is that at a recent trial for an infringement of Bedford's former patent for making shoes without metal nails, it was considered by Judge Story that the specification thereof described nothing which from the evidence it appeared was Bedford's invention. It was too general, insufficient and therefore void. Now Bedford applies for a patent for the thing he did invent, which is now sufficiently described in the specification I had the honor to transmit, and the thing described therein is in Judge Story's opinion distinctly and legally different from the invention attempted to be described in the former specification. Then as his invention has never been protected by the former patent, that is utterly void and his application for a patent on the specification now presented is therefore to be regarded as if none had ever before been granted. The Hon. Mr. Webster who is of counsel with me in this case and I have consulted upon your suggestion; and having the opinion of Judge Story with us on the subject, we feel no hesitancy in taking the risk of a patent in the form proposed. We think it will be sustained by the court and presume therefore that you will have no objection to issue it accordingly, the more especially as your suggestion was advisatory and given probably without a full knowledge of all the circumstances, of which however I take to myself the blame of not more fully informing you.
To Wm. Thornton, Esq.
Mr. Thornton still declining to issue the patent as requested, an appeal was taken to the Secretary of State, who directed Mr. Thornton to explain to him why the reissue was denied.
Department of State
Patent Office Jan. 6, 1818
A patent was issued on the 16th July 1806 to John Bedford of Philadelphia in the usual form, containing the specification of his invention in his own words. After enjoying the benefit of his patent for these 12 years past nearly, Judge Story, one of the supreme judges, acting in this case as a circuit judge, pronounces that the specification is not sufficiently specific, and that there ought to be a new patent issued. This was made known to me by George Sullivan, of Boston, counsel of Mr. Bedford. I sent to Mr. Bedford an answer, a copy of which is enclosed (letter ante, Nov 27, 1817) and have since received the letter from Mr. Sullivan, who still urges a patent upon the general principle, which I must in duty, decline to issue, upon this plea: If a patent were really imperfectly issued by an official irregularity, or for the want of legal forms, dependent on the Office, even then the demand of the patent would be a doubtful one, provided the patent had run for some years, and the patentee had obtained the full benefit of the patent till arrested by a determination against him in law, from a want of validity in his patent. But it would be proper in this case to correct the patent, from the time of such legal arrest, to give validity for the remainder of the term, which I am even willing to do in this case, without a new treasury fee, though the incorrectness was not the fault of the Office, but of the patentee himself. But to give a new patent for the general principle, when the patent has nearly expired, and the patentee has till now enjoyed the profit thereof, would be to rob the public of the benefit acquired by the fulfillment of the engagement virtually entered into by them and the patentee, which would open a door to increasing deception and fraud, and would really be a stultitiam premium. If therefore, Mr. Bedford wish a patent upon the general principle of his invention (which, however, I firmly believe is not his, having been in use in Ireland for many years, and the Army of England has long been furnished with boots and shoes on this principle) I will grant it till the expiration of the first term of 14 years, without any additional fee, as a correction of his erroneous specification, though this is not an official duty, nor could he of right demand it. Or if he wish a patent for any specific mode, as an improvement on the general principle I will grant him a patent for fourteen years, according to the second section of the patent law, in the usual terms, and on his paying the treasury fee, as a mere improvement but not on the general principle, unless directed to do so by the honorable the Secretary of State, who will please to decide on this, or submit it to the Hon. the Attorney General, for it is a case that may hereafter be considered as a precedent.
To the Hon. John Q. Adams
Secretary of State
Washington February 3rd 1818
In relation to the patent claimed for John Bedford for the full term of fourteen years, I am of opinion, on the statement of the case as made by Dr. Thornton, that the claim is not warranted by our law.
To the Hon. J.Q. Adams
Secretary of State
Washington, Aug. 26, 1818
I have reconsidered very deliberately the opinion which I had the honor to give you formerly on the construction of the patent law, and I see no cause to change it. Dr. Thornton's answer to Mr. Sullivan is, I think, a very proper one, and his exposition of the law a very sound one. If the former defective patent had been a nullity ab initio, I should concur with Mr. Sullivan; but, so far from having been a nullity, I understand from the facts that it has completely protected the invention of the patentees for half the legal term; and having derived this practical benefit from it, they ought not, I think, to be permitted by a legal fiction, to regard it as a nullity. The power to issue a patent for a less term than fourteen years, has, I also think been placed on its true ground by Dr. Thornton -- the restriction is on the maximum only, not on the minimum.
I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant
To Hon. J.Q. Adams
Secretary of State
By T. Graham Gribble
The origin of patents was a royal grant conveying a monopoly. The word patent or open now exactly expresses the stipulation on the part of the government in guaranteeing protection to an inventor, but it did not originally convey that idea. Now the inventor discloses all his secret, even to the most minute detail, so that "any one skilled in the art" may be able to manufacture or operate the same from the model, drawing and specification. If he can be proved to have designedly withheld any essential feature, his patent is void.
In the first patents, on the other hand, we find no detailed specification, and for a long while after specifications were made there were no drawings. The inventor was at first protected as fully as now, but was also able to preserve to a great extent his secret. The patents were monopolies bestowed upon royal favorites for a consideration, and sometimes were possessed of scarcely any original features.
The term letters patent is more ancient than the patent system. Letters of nobility were also granted under letters patent. These open letters were in contradistinction to "lettres de cachet" or "lettres closes." Both were royal mandates, but the latter were usually given to ambassadors, generals, governors, and such like, to convey instructions for their guidance when arriving at their destination. Letters patent, on the contrary, were capable of being produced at any time and exhibited anywhere as royal authority for the enforcement of claims, the protection of rights, and so forth. There was always in olden times an element of uncertainty about "lettres de cachet" from the fickleness of princes. Despite the high honor of receiving them, there were many cases on record of the bearers of the secret letters finding on arrival at their destination that they contained subject matter of an unexpected nature, such as the curtailment of their stature at its most effective extremity. Consequently letters patent were more popular under despotic governments. It is a curious survival of ancient customs that letters of introduction are still left open in order that the bearer may assure himself of fair play.
Patents themselves originated in royal perquisites, but patent law arose out of a parliamentary protest to the abuse of the prerogative. King James the First was remarkable for initiating many things which turned out of much greater value than he had any idea of. He was the first to grant patents, and he did it as a kind of very mild boodle. He carried on the first patent bureau to the mutual satisfaction of his royal self and his ingenious lieges until the people were so squeezed by it that they forced a law out of him, declaring all such patents as were "grievous and inconvenient to the subject to be void," with the exception of those granted for the "sole working or making of any manner of new manufactures," and which were not "contrary to law or mischievous to the state." This is the pith and marrow of patent law.
The first patent of which there is any record bears date "the eleaventh daie of March, 1617." It is granted by "James, by the grace of God, Kinge of Englande, Scotland, France and Irelande, Defender of the Faith, etc., to his lovinge subiecte, Aron Rathbone, gentleman, practicioner in the mathematiques," and conveyed to him the exclusive right to make "a perfecte survaie as well of the said cittie of London as of divers other places within this our Kingdome of England hereafter mentioned, and to make such exacte plotte, mappes, and descripcions thereof as hath not hitherto performed by anie." The royal mind had been stirred to emulation by the rumor that "amongste forraine nations there are faire curious and artificiall descriptions, plotte and mappes made and sett forth of their principall citties and townes of greatest noat, which beinge exactlie drawne out in metall and printed of, are disperesed and sent abroad into all partes to the greate honor and renowne of those princes in whose domynions they are, whereas in our cittie of London, being the chiefe and principall in this our Kingdome of England, there hath never been made or taken any true or perfecte description, but false and meane draughts cutt out in wood and soe disperesed abroade to the greate disparagement and disgrace of soe famous and worthie a state."
This "royall licence and priviledge" granted to Rathbone power to forcibly restrain any other person "duringe the terme of twentie and one years from presuminge, attemptinge, or takeinge in hande to make, grave, carve, describe, imprinte, sett forthe or counterfeite or sell, utter, or dispose of within this our realme anie other the like mappes, plottes, descripcions, or bookes or anie of them, other than such as shall be made, graven, printed, perfected and set forthe by the saide Aron Rathbone and Roger Burges, their executors, administrators, deputies or assignees or some of them; nor shall make, erecte, sett upp, or frame anie engines or devises or counterfeicte, or vse anie tooles or instruments for the making, gravinge or imprintinge thereof vpon paine of forfeiture of the same, and further vpon paine or our heavy indignation and displeasure, and of suche paines, penalties and imprisonments as by the lawes or statutes of this realme can or maie bee inflicted vpon the offenders for their contempt or disobedience in breakinge and contemninge our commandment and prerogative royall."
The royal benefit from this transaction was not in cash, but in kind. Half the proceeds of the loot upon the illicit mapmakers was to go to majesty and the other half to the "lovinge subiecte."
Rathbone's survey is not extant with his name attached, though in all probability it is represented by the map in the illustration. The oldest description, termed a survey, but unaccompanied by a map, is a large work entitled "The Survey of London, contayning the originall increase, modern estate and government of that city, methodically set down, begonne first by the paines and industry of Johnson in the year 1598. Afterwards inlarged by the care and diligence of A.M. in the year 1618. And now completely finished by the study and labour of A.M.H.D. and others, this present year 1633.
It is nothing more than a detailed description or guide to the city. The labors of Rathbone and Burgess protected by royal decree doubtless produced the first survey of London, although rough perspectives of much more ancient date exist. It is a strange commentary on the schemes of princes that this first patent of King James should be the means of producing a map by which 25 years afterward a revolted parliament should make fortifications to keep his son Charles out of London.
These fortifications were ordered by Act of Parliament of 7th March, 1642, and were very rapidly constructed by means of a general tax.
Besides paying a lump sum of sixpence if their house rent reached the yearly rental of five pounds, the whole city -- men, women, and children -- turned out with pick and shovel to make earthen ramparts, and did so in an amazingly short time.
The second patent granted by King James was a protection of his royal dignity against caricaturists. It was granted to his "well-beloved servaunt, Nicholas Hilyard, Gent.," for the modest "yearely rent or some of thirteene shillings and fower pence of lawfull (?) money to be paid to Vs, our heires and successors att the Exchequer, at the Feast of Saint Michael the Archangell, or within forty days after." Whether the picture of the king, when padded out dagger-proof to go hunting, was a production of Mr. Hillyard's or one of those caricatures which the patent was meant to discourage, we are unfortunately unable now to ascertain.
The description of the exclusive right to portray the royal presence, and the pains and penalties to be visited upon lawless limners, is extremely lengthy, verbose, and tedious.
There are no patents by Cromwell, but during the Commonwealth the New England colonists availed themselves of the temporarily free institutions to grant protection to inventors without, however, extorting "a consideration." The first American patent is almost synchronous with the Commonwealth. A much later but very quaint patent is that of Dame Sybilla Masters, of Philadelphia, for corn shelling and preserving. She writes in German text, hard to decipher and very antiquated for that period.
It is granted by King George the 1st, and the official entry in Roman text is as follows: "Letters patent to Thomas Masters, of Pennsylvania, Planter, his Execrs., Amrs. and Assignees, of the sole Vse and Benefit of 'A new Invention found out by Sybilla, his wife, for cleaning and curing the Indian Corn, growing in the several Colonies of America, within England, Wales, and Town of Berwick upon Tweed, and the Colonies of America.'"
The accompanying drawing was enrolled instead of a specification, so that it is difficult to fully do justice to the lady's scheme. Her inscription is as follows: "Phila., the 2nd mo., called August, 1716, Pursuant to his Majesty's grant for cleaning, curing, and preparing the indian train [a clerical error for grain] fit for transportation, the which was never before done, these the draughts of part of the engine I carry on my projection with the witness my hand and seal.
"Certio die Novem. Annon. Georg ii"
[Copy of three figures of a British patent, with legend "Royal Patent Granted Thomas Masters of Philadelphia in 1716, for cleaning and curing corn, labelled A.D. 1715, Nov 25, No. 401, Masters Specification, and a handwritten legend, mostly illegible, dated Philadelphia 1716, signed Sibilla Masters]
The two upper illustrations show the cleaning and the lower the curing. The top view represents the sheller, worked by animal power, probably a donkey (Asinus vulgaris). The gearing and shaft are of wood, and a reciprocating motion is produced by a series of detents upon a revolving cylinder something after the manner of a musical box.
In the middle view the reciprocating motion is also present, but the motive power is from a stream acting upon an undershot wheel.
The lower view represents the shelled corn laid out to bake upon wooden trays.
It is to be feared that Dame Sybilla's invention did not attain to as wide a field of application as was covered by the letters patent. It is more than probable that the obtuse agriculturist continued to shell corn sitting on a pine plank with a spade edge to scrape them off by, in spite of the "paines and industrie" of the dame.
Another patent of King George's, two years later than Mrs. Masters', is both amusing and highly suggestive. It is for the first breech-loading magazine machine gun, and is 173 years old. The drawing is self-explanatory, but a few words of comment may be added.
The magazine contained chambers which were loaded, in the usual manner of the period, with powder and ball, cartridges not being then invented. The magazine was detached from the gun for the purpose of loading, two or more being supplied with each gun. The inventor does not seem to have troubled his head much about the question of recoil, but, in view of the date, we must not be too critical.
[Copy of figures and text of a British Patent, with legend "Breech-Loading Magazine Gun Patented by Mr. James Puckle in 1718" with text "Whereas our Sovereign Lord King George by his Letters Patent bearing date the Fifteenth day of May in the Fourth Year of his Majesties Reign was Graciously pleased to Give & Grant unto James Puckle of London Gent my Exors, Admors & and Assigns the sole privilege & authority to Make Exercise Work & Use a Portable Gun or Machine by me lately invented called a Defence in that part of his Majesties Kingdom of Great Britain called England his Dominion of Wales, Town of Berwick upon Tweed and his Majesties Kingdom of Ireland in such manner & with such materials as should be ascertained to be the Sd new Invention by writing under my Hand & Seal and Inrolled in the high court of chancery within three calendar Months from the date of sd pattent in and by his Majesties Letters Patent Relacon [relation?] being thereunto had Doth & may amongst other things now fully & at large appear. Now I the said James Puckle Do hereby Declare that the Materials whereof the Sd Machine is Made are Steel Iron & Brass and that the tripod whereon it stands is Wood & Iron And that in the above print (to which I hereby Refer) the Said Gun or Machine by me Invented is Delineated & Described July the 25th 1718./.
No. 180 [?]
The name of "Defense" is suggestive in the extreme. Did Puckle foresee the peculiar advantage of his gun to defensive rather than aggressive warfare?
The year 1521 is generally accepted as the date of the introduction of Matchlocks into regular warfare, when they were used at the siege of Berwick. Fifty years previously Edward IV imported 300 Flemings armed with hand guns into England, but it was not until the middle of the 16th century that the small firearm became the recognized weapon of the foot soldier. The close of the 16th century also saw the first attempts at a magazine flintlock and a breechloading cannon, which we illustrate. They were crude attempts, and the smooth-bore muzzle loader remained the only weapon in regular use until the beginning of the present century. It is the extent to which the inventions were prophetic which makes them more or less interesting, and among them all Puckle's breech-loading machine gun, with removable magazine, is one of the most suggestive and entertaining. We are not aware whether Messrs. Gatling, Nordenfelte, Maxim & Co. have ever dipped their flag to Mr. Jacobus Puckle, but we offer them the opportunity by a very brief description of the "Defense."
The old idea of defense for warriors had recently changed when Puckle invented his weapon, and the defense of fortresses was on the eve of change. In the time of King James I, knights still clad themselves in coat of mail, but the disadvantages of it were naively stated by that pusillaniomous monarch when endeavoring to recommend it. He said that heavy armor afforded "a double protection, preventing the wearer at the same time from being injured and from injuring others." This was true, because, as projectiles were made heavier, armor was made thicker, until an unhorsed knight could not possibly regain his feet, but lay like a lobster that could only be got at for killing by breaking him up with a battle ax. Finally the armor became so weighty that the horses could not stand it, and it was entirely abandoned for the principle of quick firing and quick maneuvers.
Similarly as regards fortress defense, it is the perfection of the magazine rifle which has displaced the massive towers of masonry and wide moats, because it has rendered the most hastily constructed defenses impregnable when manned by a handful of steady troops. The "unprotected zone," which has always been the crux of the besieging force, is not now represented by moats or outworks. It is simply the range of the besieged combatant's rifle. The martello towers of England are all going to decay, even the more modern fortifications of America's seaboard are more or less antiquated. The highest modern authorities are raising the question, not of the class of the fortification, but as to whether to build or not to build. The machine gun has, however, gone on in its development until it is the acknowledged arbiter of the fate of nations.
The religious aspect of "The Defense" is one of its quaintest features. Brer. Puckle no doubt intended his square bullet as a holy terror to the Turk, but modern science would have told him that he was really harder on his fellow Christian than on the Moslem. The round bullet will travel much further under similar conditions than the square one. Sentiment no longer guides the designer of projectiles. First of all, electricity enables him to measure the velocity at any position of the flight by means of metallic screens which, when placed in an electric current, are successively pierced by the shot which breaks the circuit and stops the recorder. The interval of time is measured by the vibrations of a tuning fork, the fall of metallic rods, the movements of a pendulum, the rotation of a cylinder with a smoked surface and otherwise. Col. Noble, of Woolwich Arsenal, Messrs. Schultz, of Germany, Le Boulange, of France, and Vignettie, of Italy, have all produced chronoscopes of more or less efficiency, but some of them actually register to the one-millionth part of a second. Next comes photography and makes a picture, no only of the bullet in its flight, but, which is more important, of the minute cloud of condensed air created by atmospheric resistance. It is from the configuration of this cloud that the section of least resistance is determined and the relative effect of different methods of rifling. The resistance of the air to an elongated bullet from a smooth bore always causes it to travel irregularly, because the air pressure acts unequally upon it. Rifling a gun produces a rotation round the longer axis which steadies the bullet just as spinning does a top, and gives rise to its technical name of "polar projectile."
The ferocious intention of inflicting prolonged agony by the construction of the projectile is much older than Mr. Puckle. From the poisoned or barbed arrow head of the savage, or the cruciform arrow head of the Aztec, to the spreading or chain shot of more modern times, and so down to the present weapons of wholesale slaughter, the transition has been from the essentially cruel desire to produce suffering to the more humane object of putting an end to an inevitable struggle as rapidly as possible.
The loyalty and religious zeal displayed by Puckle in his weapon are quaint in the extreme, but it is even a more curious fact to record that one of the greatest modern designers of heavy artillery, himself a very devout man, always prays that he may get a sound casting when a monster gun is under construction.
Will the American of A.D. 2000 look upon the "Whitehead torpedo" or the "dynamite gun" and all other killing tools as objects of as much archaic interest as we now regard the "Defense" of Brother Puckle?
Ex-Commissioner Mitchell tells about the Patent Office
"Halloo! Is this Hon. Charles E. Mitchell, Commissioner of Patents?"
"Mitchell is my name, but I'm no longer Commissioner. I have resigned."
"I'm sorry to hear it. Why did you leave your post?"
"To attend to neglected private business, and because I am unwilling to do such an amount of judicial work that I cannot do justice to the office or myself."
"I have heard it whispered that you could not afford longer to accept so small a salary."
"That is not quite true; nevertheless, the emolument is totally inadequate to the position."
"Will this deter first-rate men from accepting the office?"
"Not from accepting it, but from remaining long in it. The Commissioner of Patents occupies a position of the greatest responsibility, and should be as permanent as a judge, with a salary equal to that of the higher courts."
"I see why you make this plea. On his decisions depends the validity of patents, and patents often involve millions."
"Sometimes they do. The Commissioner must judge between applicants and people, whether patents shall be granted. In interference cases, too, the value of the contested inventions is often large, not to say enormous."
"Is there no appeal from the Commissioner?"
"None whatever in interference cases. So you can readily understand the importance of his trust. Last year the Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner gave 900 written opinions.
"Are all the important officers turned out with every new administration?"
"Fortunately, no. The Patent Office demands a force of experts, many of whom have been in government employ 20 years or more. It would otherwise be impossible to get the work done satisfactorily. The three examiners-in-chief have a permanent tenure. One of them, Judge Clark, came in, I think, during Grant's first term."
"They, in their turn, have experts under them, I presume?"
"Yes. There are 32 principal examiners, each one at the head of an examining division; and the principal examiner, by nature of his employment as well as training, becomes the best informed person in the country on the science and art pertaining to his department."
"How many assistant examiners are there?"
"About 170. They are also accomplished. Many are graduates of polytechnic schools, and all pass a very rigid examination."
"Are these experts paid in proportion to their abilities?"
"No. The salary of a principal examiner was fixed at $2,500 more than 40 years ago, and has never been changed."
"What an outrage! How, then, can good men be secured?"
"The fact of permanent employment and an honorable position compensates, in a measure, for the absence of shekels; but human nature is human nature, and clever employees leave quickly enough to take better places; whereas, with adequate salaries, they would gladly remain."
"A nice state of things! But just like our Congress, ever penny-wise and pound-foolish, utterly reckless in wrong directions and as mean as a miser when money ought to be spent. How many patents were issued last year?"
"Twenty-five thousand. The number of applications for patents number nearly 45,000 a year. During the last two years there were 10,000 more applications than during the two years immediately preceding."
"Why are 20,000 rejected?"
"Because they either are not original or lack patentability."
"I suppose electrical patents predominate?"
"Two out of 32 examining divisions are devoted exclusively to passing on applications relating to electricity."
"How many models are exhibited at the Patent Office?"
"One hundred and fifty thousand. Fire destroyed a large proportion of the models deposited prior to 1877, and since 1880 models have not been required."
"Not required? How extraordinary? Why not?"
"I fancy on account of lack of accommodation. I am in favor of models, and think room should be made for them. If the government possessed suitable models of electrical land other great inventions of the last ten years, there would be a permanent exhibit at Washington, which would rival the World's Fair of '93, in one respect at least."
"What shameful ignorance on the part of our legislators! I should think, too, that models would be vastly better for inventors."
"Certainly. They come here with paper inventions, and often don't know whether they work or not."
"I've visited the Patent Office, and know how abominably crowded the rooms are and how foul the air is in consequence. To ask human beings to breath it is a crime. To abolish models is a blunder, so Congress is impaled on both horns."
"The quarters allotted to the Patent Office have for years been entirely inadequate. My predecessors, Commissioners Marble, Butterworth, Montgomery, and Hall, have protested in their reports. So have I. We have merely asked for suitable room in the noble building erected out of the money paid into the Treasury by inventors."
"When you reflect that inventors have actually paid for the Patent Office building, it is adding insult to injury to devote any part of it to other bureaus."
"Congress has appropriated $16,000 to pay rent elsewhere for the General Land Office, which, when removed, will leave room to meet the present need of the Patent Office. Secretary Noble is very friendly to the Patent Office, and I'm sure will do everything in his power to carry out the intent of Congress."
"I hope so. What do you think of your successor, ex-Congressman William E. Simonds, who comes from your State of Connecticut? Mr. Simonds did splendid work in the international copyright struggle."
"It affords me great pleasure to know that the Patent Office will be in such excellent hands. Mr. Simonds has had an extensive and successful practice in patent cases. Moreover, for years he has lectured on patents before the Yale law school, so he comes to Washington fully equipped for his office."
"Very glad of it. Do you think --"
"No, not another word. You'll be asking me next to map out a policy for Mr. Simonds. I must turn you over to him for anything more you want to know. Good by."
"Good by, and success to you."
-- By Grapevine Telephone to Kate Field's Washington