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

Sec. 494.
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.

The Commissionership

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.


Detailed statement of all moneys received for patents, for copies 

of records or drawings, or from any source whatever.


    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



    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



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



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


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


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


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-


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

Respectfully submitted,

W.E. Simonds



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