Annual Report of the Commissioner of Patents for the Year 1875

To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled:

In compliance with section 494 Revised Statutes, I submit the following report for the year ending December 31, 1875.

1. Statement of moneys received
Amount received on applications for patents, reissues,
designs, extensions, caveats, disclaimers, appeals,
and trademarks $670,180.00
Amount received for copies of specifications,
drawings, and other papers 45,380.85
Amount received for recording assignments 18,912.18
Amount received for subscriptions to the Official
Gazette 6,646.33
Amount received for registration of labels 2,334.00
Total 743,453.36

2. Statement of moneys expended

Amount paid for salaries $430,218.00
Amount paid for photolithographing current issues 46,986.59
Amount paid for photolithographing back issues 67,322.91
Amount paid for illustrations for Gazette 49,428.34
Amount paid for tracings of drawings 34,972.90
Amount paid for contingent and miscellaneous
expenses, viz:
Stationery $16,599.27
Painting, glazing, varnishing, paper
hanging, etc. 1,067.21
Furniture, carpeting, etc. 8,593.96
Fitting up cases in model rooms,
carpenter's work, and repairing
furniture 20,073.33
Plumbing and gas fitting 1,054.17
English patents and foreign periodicals 1,793.44
Hardware 2,269.61
Pay of temporary employees 29,512.52
Miscellaneous items, viz: Books for
library, ice, subscriptions to journals,
freight, washing towels, withdrawals,
money refunded paid by mistake,
repairing carriage and harness, keeping
horse, advertising, etc. 11,765.46
_________ 92,728.97
Total 721,657.71

3. Statement of the balance in the Treasury of the
United States on account of the patent fund

Amount to the credit of the patent fund
January 1, 1875 $865,113.97
Amount of receipts during the year 1875 743,453.36
Total 1,608,567.33
From which deduct for the year 1875 721,657.71
Balance January 1, 1876 886,909.62

4. Statement of the business of the Office for the year 1875

Number of applications for patents during the year 1875 21,638
Number of patents issued, including reissues and designs 14,837
Number of applications for extension of patents 2
Number of patents extended 38
Number of caveats filed during the year 3,094
Number of patents expired during the year 1,323
Number of patents allowed but not issued for want of
final fee 3,518
Number of applications for registering of trademarks 1,055
Number of trademarks registered 1,138
Number of applications for registering of labels 566
Number of labels registered 313

Of the patents granted there were to
Citizens of the United States 14,274
Subjects of Great Britain 358
Subjects of France 83
Subjects of other foreign governments 122

5. Number of patents issued by the United States Patent Office
to residents of the different States, Territories, and Foreign
Countries, from January 1, 1875, to December 31, 1875

[The proportion of patents to population is shown in last column]

States, etc. No. of One to
patents every

Alabama 31 32,161
Arizona Territory 2 4,829
Arkansas 11 44,042
California 399 1,404
Colorado Territory 36 1,107
Dakota Territory 3 4,727
Delaware 44 2,841
District of Columbia 214 615
Florida 7 26,821
Georgia 63 18,795
Idaho Territory 1 14,999
Illinois 1,098 2,313
Indiana 378 4,462
Iowa 315 3,790
Kansas 66 5,521
Kentucky 142 9,303
Louisiana 103 7,057
Maine 158 3,964
Maryland 260 3,203
Massachusetts 1,846 787
Michigan 405 2,923
Minnesota 146 3,011
Mississippi 38 21,787
Missouri 362 4,754
Montana Territory 4 9,974
Nebraska 22 5,833
Nevada 16 3,669
New Hampshire 127 2,506
New Jersey 656 1,534
New Mexico Territory 3 37,101
New York 3,771 1,163
North Carolina 37 28,956
Ohio 1,091 2,443
Oregon 22 4,631
Pennsylvania 2,034 1,728
Rhode Island 229 943
South Carolina 46 17,513
Tennessee 117 10,765
Texas 118 6,939
Utah Territory 5 19,916
Vermont 122 2,709
Virginia 101 12,130
Washington Territory 3 12,710
West Virginia 48 9,209
Wisconsin 284 3,743
Wyoming Territory 2 5,739
Great Britain 371 --
France 91 --
Other foreign countries 128 --
United States Army 5 --
United States Navy 1 --
United States in general -- 2,412

6. Comparative statement of the business of the Office from 1837
to 1875, inclusive

Years Applica- Caveats Patents Cash Cash
tions Filed Issued Received Expended

1837 435 $29,289.08 $33,506.98
1838 520 42,123.54 37,402.10
1839 425 37,260.00 34,543.51
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
1843 819 315 531 35,315.81 30,766.96
1844 1,045 380 502 42,509.26 36,244.73
1845 1,246 452 502 51,076.14 39,395.65
1846 1,272 448 619 50,264.16 46,158.71
1847 1,531 553 572 63,111.19 41,878.35
1848 1,628 607 660 67,576.69 58,905.84
1849 1,955 595 1,070 80,752.78 77,716.44
1850 2,193 602 995 86,927.05 80,100.95
1851 2,258 760 869 95,738.61 86,916.93
1852 2,639 996 1,020 112,656.34 95,916.91
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
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
1859 6,225 1,097 4,538 245,942.15 210,278.41
1860 7,653 1,084 4,819 256,352.59 252.820.80
1861 4,643 700 3,340 137,354.44 221,491.91
1862 5,038 824 3,521 215,754.99 182,810.39
1863 6,014 787 4,170 195,593.29 189,414.14
1864 6,972 1,063 5,020 240,919.98 229,868.00
1865 10,664 1,937 6,616 348,791.84 274,199.34
1866 15,269 2,723 9,450 495,665.38 361,724.28
1867 21,276 3,597 13,015 646,581.92 639,263.32
1868 20,420 3,705 13,378 684,565.86 628,679.77
1869 19,271 3,624 13,986 693,145.81 486,430.78
1870 19,171 3,273 13,321 669,476.76 557,149.19
1871 19,472 3,624 13,033 678,716.46 560.595.08
1872 18,246 3,090 13,590 699,726.39 665,591.36
1873 20,414 3,248 12,864 703,191.77 691,178.98
1874 21,602 3,181 13,599 728,278.17 679,288.41
1875 21,638 3,094 16,288 743,453.36 721,657.71

Examining Corps

The examining corps of the Patent Office consists of twenty-four Principal Examiners, each having a First, Second, and Third Assistant Examiner to aid him in the examination of applications for patents. Inventions of as nearly a homogeneous character as possible are grouped in classes and assigned to each Principal Examiner. The great increase in the number of applications for patents prevents as early action upon them as is desirable, and the delays occasion much annoyance, and frequently great loss to inventors. In order to relieve this burden upon the Office, it will be necessary from time to time to subdivide the present classification, and to assign the examination of some well-defined groups of a less complicated character to the charge of a First Assistant Examiner. To do this it will be proper, and I would recommend, an addition to the examining corps of the Office of six First Assistant and six Second Assistant Examiners, to be detailed by the Commissioner of Patents to such work as the best interests of the Office and the public require.

I also recommend that the clause in the act of March 3, 1875, United States Statutes at Large, vol. 18, page 365, abolishing the grade of Third Assistant Examiner be repealed, and have inserted a clause to that effect in a draft of a bill which I shall have the honor to present for your consideration.

I suggest that the abolition of the grade of Third Assistant is at the least premature, as the duplication of the back drawings, which was expected to so much facilitate the work, has not been completed, the appropriation and the time having both proved inadequate. I am of opinion that even when the back drawings are thus reproduced, although their importance can hardly be overestimated, it will not be advisable to reduce the examining corps as proposed, for with each year another 20,000 new applications for patents are presented, and the region of search is proportionately increased, while the constant production of books, disclosing new processes and machinery at home and abroad is another domain of accumulation, whose magnitude one much view with dismay unless the corps be maintained at an adequate strength.

The patent law has never defined the duties of Principal Examiners and their assistants, and as the duties assigned them are of a judicial character, involving great responsibility, and in most instances their action is, practically, final, and not subject to review by any higher authority, I beg leave to suggest an additional section to the patent law, which I have embodied in the draft of a bill referred to.

Official Gazette of the Patent Office

This publication is now in its fifth year, having been commenced in January, 1872. It was designed to take the place of the reports, which ceased with the year 1871; in fact, no illustrated reports had been published since June, 1869.

The Gazette is issued weekly, and consists of a letter-press and a heliographic portion stitched together.

The letter-press portion contains the text of the decisions of the United States courts in patent and trademark causes, and the decisions of the Commissioner of Patents; also alphabetical lists (patentee and subject matter) of the issues of the week, and lists of designs, trademarks, and labels.

The heliographic portion consists of the claims, brief description, and a portion of the drawing in each patent and reissue granted during the week.

The Gazette forms two volumes yearly of about one thousand pages each, and is accompanied by a yearly volume of four hundred pages, which contains inventor and subject-matter indexes of the patent and trademarks of the year.

The Gazette is sold to subscribers at six dollars per annum unbound. One copy is furnished free to each member of Congress, and eight copies to as many public libraries designated by him.

I desire to draw attention to two facts in regard to the substitution of the Gazette for the former reports:

First. The reports issued from 1843 to 1869 were congressional documents, of which the Senate and House bore the expense; none of it, except the preparation of copy for the yearly index, being chargeable upon the force of the Patent Office, or upon the yearly appropriations therefor; and, further, all sums received from the sales ($6,646.33 in 1875) are covered into the Treasury of the United States, and do not swell the appropriation. These facts should be noticed in considering the official estimates of the coming year.

Secondly. The greater scope, fuller information, and the introduction of the new feature of reporting the decisions of the United States courts and of the Commissioner of Patents, indexes to and digests of which reports are prepared for and bound up in each half-yearly volume.

For the purpose of securing early and complete reports of the decisions of the United States courts in patent and trademark causes, I have addressed letters to the clerks of these courts requesting them to furnish copies of these decisions and decrees. Prompt replies have been made by some, and from others no communications have been received.

I would respectfully suggest that the clerks of said courts be required, by law, to furnish certified copies of such decisions and decrees to be published by the Patent Office in the manner described, and that when so published they may have the same force and effect as the reports of cases published by authority of said courts; and, further, that authority be given to the Commissioner of Patents to appoint or detail a suitable person to supervise such publication, and prepare proper digests of the same.

Such a publication can be furnished to inventors and the legal profession at a very moderate price, and the whole subject of patents and patent law decisions presented in a compact form for reference, and with a promptness never attempted in any country before the issue of the Official Gazette.

Publication of Patents

All circumstances have combined to prove the wisdom of the change made some years since in the mode of issuing patents, namely, by printing the specifications and reproducing in facsimile, by a heliographic method, the original drawings. The printing of the specifications was commenced November 20, 1866, and the reproduction of the drawings, at first by photography and then by photolithography, July 6, 1869.

Since July 1, 1869, one hundred and fifty copies of each specification and drawing of patents have been printed and stored for sale. Complete sets or single copies are now furnished at about one-twentieth of the former price, and at a profit to the Office. Complete copies of uniform size of the specifications and drawings since 1871, have been bound in issues of weeks and kept as records. These volumes, under regulation prescribed by Congress, were supplied to the United States courts and to other libraries, but the bulk soon became so onerous that a more compact form was devised.

Monthly Volumes of Patents

By omitting the displayed heads, running the specifications into ordinary book-form, and by reproducing the drawings on a scale of one-half linear, the work of a month is compacted into a volume the size of the weekly volumes previously issued. This has proved very satisfactory, and now complete copies with the period of four and a half years last past have been in the most important libraries of the country, where they can be consulted without expense to the searcher.

As stated in reference to the Official Gazette, all sums received for copies of patents, drawings, and volumes of issues and indexes are covered into the Treasury, ($45,380.85 in 1875, exclusive of sums received for Official Gazettes.)

Reproduction of Back Issues

The facility for examining patents granted between July 1, 1871, and the present time has proved so convenient to inventors and litigants, and has done so much to spread a knowledge of the scope and value of the Patent Office duties and work, that it was some time since determined by Congress that the issues for the period 1836-1871 should be placed in like condition, including a period of two years (July, 1869, to July, 1871) when the work of production was in a transition state, and several modes and sizes were adopted, which were discontinued by running a while.

The reproduction of the work back of July, 1871, so far as the drawings are concerned, has been in progress for several years under the specific yearly appropriations for that purpose.

Unusual progress under the impulse of a general appropriation has been made in this matter during the latter half of the past year, during which period alone the increased appropriation has been available.

During the past year 19,743 original drawings have been photolithographed, 154 copies of each being made. The total number of sheets thus obtained is 3,040,422. There are 16,250 sheets already traced ready for lithographing, and there remain 30,370 to be traced and photolithographed. The number not yet commenced is but one-fourth part of the whole number of issues back of July 1, 1871. The amount estimated for in the coming fiscal year will, it is believed, complete this work of reproducing the drawings.

I earnestly hope that Congress will see fit to authorize and provide for the reprinting of the back specifications to the year 1836, at which period the unfortunate fire destroyed the previous records beyond the possibility of reproduction. Until that is done the records of the patents of this country are only in manuscript, and of those manuscripts but two copies are in existence, while of the English patents all the specifications are in print from the earliest period, (A.D. 1609,) and, by the liberality of the English government, we procure better records of the English patents than of our own. The proceeds of the sale of such printed specifications would be largely reimbursed to the Government. At present all specifications back of November, 1866, are furnished in manuscript. Anything short of the proposed mode of establishing and publishing the records of the Office must be considered but a temporary expedient, and really unworthy of the dignity of the Government, the importance of the subject, and the security of the interests involved.

General Indexes of Patents

A general alphabetical index of patents from 1790 to 1873, embracing about 171,000 patents and trademarks, arranged in separate sets under two heads (subject matter and inventors) has been some time in preparation. The completed subject matter index occupies 1,950 pages quarto, is electrotyped, and bound volumes have been for sale at $20 per copy for some time past. The index of inventors is in a forward condition, and will be a work of similar size and price.

The work has been done out of the current appropriations. The sums received on sales are covered into the Treasury, as stated above.


For many years the library has been supplied by occasional drafts upon the "contingent fund." The amount received from this source has been quite insufficient to furnish it with the books actually necessary, and, relatively to the largely-increased volume of technical literature, the library is constantly running behindhand.

The earliest legislation found on this subject is, I think, contained in the act of March 3, 1839, chap. 88, sec. 5, in which an appropriation of $1,000 was made from the patent fund, to be expended under the direction of the Commissioner for the purchase of books for the library of the Patent office, (5 Statutes at Large, 353.) This may be regarded, perhaps, as the organizing act for the library, although some books may have been procured earlier (under contingent expenses) in administration of the act of 1836, chap. 357, sec. 7, requiring in each application for letters patent "an examination of the alleged new invention or discovery" as to its originality and novelty.

The consolidated act of July 8, 1870, chap. 230, sec. 15, provides "that there shall be purchased, for the use of said Office, a library of such scientific works and periodicals, both foreign and American, as may aid the officers in the discharge of their duties, not exceeding the amount annually appropriated by Congress for that purpose." (16 Stat. at Large, 200.) This assumes that annual estimates and appropriations will be made specifically for the library.

In view of the fact that the growth of the library, by the continual accession of new and needful works, is, by law, as much a standing necessity of the present organization of the patent Office as the support of a corps of examiners required to investigate such works, it would seem inappropriate to class its interests with fluctuating contingencies not capable of special indication. A practical evil resulting from the failure of special recognition by Congress has been the lack of means to purchase many technical journals and representative works on the mechanic arts which should be found on the shelves of a library invested with such important functions.

The medical library of the Surgeon-General's Office, which, as a special-reference library, most nearly resembles that of the Patent Office, although a younger library and much less consulted, now numbers upward of 37,000 volumes, while the Patent Office library does not exceed 23,000 volumes. The annual appropriation for the former library is $5,000 out of the revenue of the Government.

An appropriation of $5,000 from the fund collected by the Patent Office from the inventors of our country would be a moderate provision for supplying the deficiencies of the library, and maintaining its character as an exposition of the most recent state of the constantly growing arts and manufactures.

Works of the character indicated are required to be examined in nearly every application that may be filed for an American patent. Inventors and counsel in patent causes come to this library from every portion of the United States, and have a right to expect that it shall be the best technical library in the country, and fully abreast with the most advanced thought in the world within the limits of its special domain.

Increased Accommodation

The increase in the business of this Bureau is so great that I am impelled to urge most earnestly, as have my predecessors, your aid in supplying more enlarged accommodations for the employees, and addition room for drawings, models, books, and papers that are required to be preserved for the use of the Office. From five to twelve persons are now obliged to occupy each of the twenty-four rooms assigned to the Principal Examiners, in size averaging twenty feet square. The necessary desks, tables, chairs, and cases for holding files and models so reduce the above area as to materially hinder and delay the work of the Office and impair the health of the employees.

The increasing demand for additional room for the arrangement and display of patented models, averaging over thirteen thousand yearly for the past eight years, has made it necessary to remove rejected models, to the number of about 10,000, to an open space under the roof of the west wing of the Patent Office building. The floor of this attic and the model-shelves are composed of rough boards, and the place itself is very difficult of access. The trouble increases yearly, and if no provision can be made for relief in this regard, it will be necessary to do away entirely with models. This would be very unfortunate, because they are in many cases absolutely necessary to the complete understanding of the inventions presented.

I am certain that an inspection by the Patent Committees of the Senate and House will assure them that the statements above made are not exaggerated.

The same remarks apply to the accommodations for drawings, printed records, books of reference, and patented files.

The Centennial

The Patent Office is to be represented at the Centennial Celebration, and a space of 10,000 square feet has been assigned for the exhibition of models of American inventions, illustrating the more important and useful industries. Models to the number of about 5,000 are being selected for this purpose, being about three per cent of the aggregate number in the possession of the Patent Office. These, while illustrating in part the progress of our country in "mechanical and manufacturing industries," and the development of American genius and skill, represent in one way only the results attained. Another mode of presentation of the facts and figures in the case is obtainable from the Census Report of 1870, and the general subject-matter indexes of the Patent Office reports since the year 1790.

In referring to the Census, under the head of "manufactories in operation in 1870 exclusively for agricultural implements," it is found that the --

Number of establishments in operation was 2,076
Number of steam engines at work 676
Horse power 15,873
Number of water wheels at work 426
Horse power 10,209
Number of hands employed 25,249
Capital invested $34,834,600
Wages paid $12,151,504
Material used, value $21,473.925

The Census shows an increase of $34,578,825 in the value of agricultural implements manufactured over the amount reported in 1860, and of $45,224,174 over the amount reported in 1850, while the total value for the year 1870 of the "mechanical and manufacturing industries" aggregates the sum of $4,232,335,442. The following are the products of agricultural implements of the manufactories first above referred to, being the articles manufactured and number made:

Cane mills 108
Clover hullers 5,206
Corn planters 21,709
Corn shellers 12,941
Cotton planters 2,000
Cultivators 88,740
Fanning mills 19,722
Grain cradles 103,646
Grain drills 32,033
Hand rakes 207,310
Harrows 9,150
Harvesters 3,566
Hay and straw cutters 30,879
Hay forks 1,298,260
Hoes 135,139
Horse powers 4,541
Horse rakes 80,919
Lawn mowers 2,536
Mowers 39,486
Plows 864,947
Reapers 60,388
Reapers and mowers combined 59,645
Rollers and scrapers 4,863
Seed sowers 6,900
Scythes 881,214
Scythe snaths 17,680
Separators 1,131
Shovels 25,756
Sickles 300
Stump pullers 124
Thrashers 22,934
Other products 5,206,789

For the articles above enumerated, there have been granted between the years 1790 and 1873, inclusive -- that is to say, since the organization of this Office, (1790) -- the following patents:

Cane mills 66
Clover hullers 100
Corn planters 647
Corn shellers 378
Cotton planters 173
Cultivators 1,617
Fanning mills 127
Grain cradles 18
Grain drills 186
Hand rakes 9
Harrows 329
Harvesters 2,244
Hay forks 382
Hoes 201
Horse powers 415
Horse rakes 373
Lawn mowers 38
Mowers 173
Plows 2,451
Reapers 69
Reapers and mowers combined 61
Rollers and scrapers 141
Seed sowers 579
Scythes 50
Scythe snaths 26
Separators 334
Shovels 58
Sickles 13
Stump pullers 191
Thrashers 732

I have further selected from the list of patents 1790-1873 the number of patents granted in some other classes or subjects of invention. These indicate the scope and versatility of the inventive genius of our country, and all enter more or less into the "mechanical and manufacturing industries" that have been referred to. They are as follows:

Beehives 645
Bending machines for wood and metal 144
Boots and shoes, manufacture of,
and articles used therein 817
Brick kilns and brick machines 808
Bridges 425
Brooms and brushes, and their attachments 750
Buckles 388
Burglar alarms 165
Burners, gas, lamp, and vapor 793
Car brakes 485
Car couplings 961
Car wheels 314
Carriages and their appendages 1,495
Churns and their appendages 1,391
Clothes driers and wringers 984
Curtain fixtures 364
Firearms 1,203
Gas and gas apparatus 1,399
Grain, cutting, binding, and drying 135
Grinding and grist mills 371
Lamps and appurtenances 1,483
Looms and appurtenances 1,210
Paper, manufacture of 269
Pavements 401
Photography 346
Planing machines, wood and metal 384
Propellers, and apparatus for 570
Printing presses, apparatus and material 756
Railway apparatus and connections 1,552
Roofs and roofing 566
Rotary engines 170
Saw mills and machines 1,981
Sewing machines and their attachments 2,295
Steam engines and apparatus 1,013
Stoves 2,400
Straw cutters and machines 401
Sugar mills and machinery 343
Telegraph and instruments 566
Toys 300
Tobacco presses and manufactures 197
Valves 1,497


Total number of patents issued since 1790 171,640
Total number of reissues 6,830
Total number of designs 8,883
Total number of trademarks 3,287
Total number of labels 464

Respectfully submitted.

R.H. Duell
Commissioner of Patents

Department of the Interior
U.S. Patent Office, January 19, 1876

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