Annual Report of the Commissioner of Patents to Congress for the year ending December 31, 1882

Laid before the House of Representatives by the Speaker February 3, referred to the Committee on Patents, and ordered to be printed

Department of the Interior
United States Patent Office
Washington, D.C., January 31, 1883

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

In compliance with the requirements of section 494 of the Revised Statutes, I have the honor to submit the following report of this Office for the year ending December 31, 1882.


Detailed statement of all moneys received for patents, for
copies of records or drawings, or from any source whatever.

Applications (including caveats, trade marks, and disclaimers
Cash received $842,148.00
Cash refunded 2,020.00
Net Cash 840,128.00
Certificates of deposit 55,622.00
Total cash and certificates 895,750.00

Cash received 73,420.60
Cash refunded 1,814.45
Net Cash 71,606.15
Certificates of deposit 1,814.45
Total cash and certificates 72,523.60

Recording assignments
Cash received 26,334.85
Cash refunded 1,319.30
Net Cash 25,015.55
Certificates of deposit 421.75
Total cash and certificates 25,437.30

Subscriptions to Official Gazette
Cash received 12,973.50
Cash refunded 112.15
Net Cash 12,861.35
Certificates of deposit 204.20
Total cash and certificates 13,065.55

Registration of labels
Cash received 3,061.00
Cash refunded 750.00
Net Cash 2,311.00
Certificates of deposit 132.00
Total cash and certificates 2,443.00


Cash received $957,937.95
Cash refunded 6,015.90
Net Cash 951,922.05
Certificates of deposit 57,297.40
Total cash and certificates 1,009,219.45

Amount expended under the several appropriations from
January 1, 1882, to January 1, 1883

Salaries $520,948.94
Contingent expenses 29,739.40
Official Gazette 28,213.90
Photolithographing 54,453.91
Copies of drawings 45,461.72
Scientific library 5,049.80
Total 683,867.67

Statement of contingent expenses in detail
Stationery and books $854.25
File holders 1,502.85
Cardboard, etc. 2,960.00
Furniture 1,108.54
Hardware 722.06
Painting 402.00
Carpets 2,605.46
Services 5,069.24
Ice 685.19
Engraving and printing 902.88
Desks, cases, and repairing 6,765.30
Tin shelves 334.95
Washing towels, horse livery, paste,
lumber, telephone, winding clocks,
carriage and harness, and sundries 5,826.68
Total 29,739.40

Receipts over expenditures
Total receipts $1,009,219.45
Total expenditures 683,867.67
Receipts over expenditures 325,351.78

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, 1882 $1,880,119.32
Amount of receipts during the year 1882 1,009,219.45
Total 2,889,338.77
Deduct expenditures for year 1882 683,867.67
Balance January 1, 1883 2,205,471.10

Summary of the business of the office
Number of applications for patents for inventions 30,270
Number of applications for patents for designs 948
Number of applications for reissues of patents 304
Total number of applications relating to patents 31,522
Number of caveats filed 2,553
Number of applications for registration of trade marks 796
Number of applications for registration of labels 532
Number of disclaimers filed 20
Number of appeals on the merits 691
Total 4,592 ______
Total number of applications requiring investigation
and action 36,114
Number of patents issued, including designs 18,996
Number of patents reissued 271
Number of trade marks registered 947
Number of labels registered 304
Total number of patents granted & certificates issued 20,518
Number of patents expired during the year 6,099
Number of patents withheld for non-payment of final fee 1,791

Patents issued

Patents issued to citizens of the United States, with the ratio
of population to each patent granted

States and Territories Patents One to
and every

Alabama 46 27,445
Arizona Territory 7 5,777
Arkansas 53 15,141
California 486 1,758
Colorado 90 2,159
Connecticut 794 782
Dakota Territory 26 5,199
Delaware 34 4,310
District of Columbia 170 1,014
Florida 18 14,977
Georgia 124 12,430
Idaho Territory 4 8,152
Illinois 1,422 2,164
Indiana 613 3,064
Indian Territory 3 --
Iowa 348 4,668
Kansas 173 5,757
Kentucky 196 8,462
Louisiana 86 10,929
Maine 157 4,133
Maryland 272 3,433
Massachusetts 1,815 982
Michigan 637 2,569
Minnesota 187 4,175
Mississippi 56 20,207
Missouri 485 4,470
Montana Territory 20 1,957
Nebraska 73 6,119
Nevada 14 4,447
New Hampshire 94 3,691
New Jersey 835 1,354
New Mexico Territory 8 14,945
New York 3,779 1,345
North Carolina 72 19,440
Ohio 1,466 2,113
Oregon 51 3,426
Pennsylvania 1,843 2,323
Rhode Island 282 980
South Carolina 45 22,123
Tennessee 109 14,140
Texas 190 8,377
Utah Territory 18 7,997
Vermont 100 3,322
Virginia 117 12,928
Washington Territory 17 4,418
West Virginia 59 10,428
Wisconsin 356 3,695
Wyoming Territory 4 5,014
United States Army 7 --
Total 17,861

Patents issued to citizens for foreign countries

Of patents issued to foreigners there were granted to
citizens of --

Argentine Republic 1
Australia 5
Austria 32
Barbadoes 1
Belgium 11
Brazil 1
Canada 228
Central America 1
Chili 2
Cuba 7
Denmark 10
England 309
France 129
Germany 219
Hayti 1
Holland 2
India 3
Italy 20
Mexico 3
New Zealand 1
Norway 1
Peru 1
Russia 10
Spain 1
Sweden 10
Switzerland 35
West Indies 1
Total 1,135

Comparative statement of the business of the Office from 1837
to 1882, inclusive

Years Applica- Caveats Patents Cash Cash Surplus
tions Filed Issued 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

It will be seen by the foregoing statement that the receipts of the Office during the year 1882 were $1,009,219.45, an increase of $155,553.56 over 1881; that the number of applications for patents, exclusive of trade marks and labels, was 31,522, an increase of 5,463 over same period; and that there was a general increase in the entire business of the Office.

An Increase of Force Necessary

The last appropriation provided for a considerable addition to the working force of the Office. Notwithstanding, however, this increase, which was made necessary in view of the growth of the business of the Office, some further addition should be provided for the next fiscal year, as the business so far during the present calendar year shows as great an increase over last year as that did over former years.

The addition to the examining corps necessarily brought in men unacquainted with the work of the Office. It was necessary to acquaint them with such work, and the Office is just beginning to feel the benefit of their service.

The increase in the number of cases received, as well as in the receipts of the Office, indicates a corresponding increase no only in the work of the examining corps, but in the clerical divisions. The records of the Office show that the work done by each of said divisions was largely in excess of that of any former year. The increase in the force must keep pace with the increase in the work; but I did not in my estimates for the next fiscal year deem it necessary to ask for an increase in the examining corps until it was shown that the present force was insufficient. While it is true that there are a large number of cases pending in the Office unconsidered, I am led to believe that, unless the increase of work is much greater in the next few months than it has been heretofore, it will be possible to bring the work up and keep it in proper condition.


While the increase in the force there should be an increase in the number of rooms for the use of the employees. At least thirty (30) more rooms should be provided for this bureau. Its work is now greatly retarded by the inconvenience to which its employees are subjected for want of proper room, and with the rapid accumulation of material and the necessity for its arrangement and storage, there must be an increase in room, or the inconvenience arising therefrom will continue to be very seriously felt.


No appropriation having been made for the abridgement of patents, that work was discontinued on the 1st of August last. The manuscripts prepared during the fiscal year 1881-1882 have been carefully arranged and stored. At some future time, I have no doubt, this work will be revived and completed. Under the appropriation made for this purpose I had nearly completed the abridgement of all patents relating to agricultural implements. Some provision should be made for the completion and publication of the work already done. I have so fully heretofore stated my views of the necessity of a classified abridgement of all the patents issued by this Office, that I deem it unnecessary to restate them or add thereto, further than to say that, where a bureau of Government is sustained by the receipts from particular classes of individuals, such classes should have furnished them all the information obtainable on the subjects in which they are interested. If this work were completed, not only would the Office be greatly benefited thereby, but the information, thus placed within the ready reach of every inventor, manufacturer, and user of articles, devices, and compositions of matter covered by patents, would be such as could not be obtained anywhere else. If the bureau were a burden to the Government because its receipts were less than its expenditures, such suggestions might be considered improper; but when its receipts are annually largely in excess of its expenditures, and its accumulations are more than two millions of dollars, it is difficult to understand why a work so much needed should be procrastinated.

Annual Reports

Section 494 of the Revised Statutes reads as follows:

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 from 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.

Section 481 of the Revised Statutes reads as follows:

The Commissioner of Patents, under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior, shall superintend or perform all duties respecting the granting and issuing of patents directed by law; and he shall have charge of all books, records, papers, models, machines, and other things belonging to the Patent Office.

It will be observed that under the latter section the Commissioner of Patents, under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior, performs all duties in relation to the granting and issuing of patents. Under the opinion of Attorney General Mac Veagh, dated August 20, 1881, which was adopted by the honorable Secretary of the Interior, the power thus conferred upon the Secretary of the Interior is held not only to relate to the ministerial duties of the Commissioner, but to his quasi judicial duties as well.

An annual report is required of the Commissioner by the Secretary of the Interior on or before the last day of October of each year, covering not only the subjects mentioned in section 494, but all other business pertaining to the Office. Inasmuch as the Commissioner discharges his duties under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior, and is compelled to make report of his doings to him, I know of no reason why he, more than other heads of bureaus in this Department, should be required to make a report to Congress. It is true that the business of the Patent Office is different from the other bureaus of the Department, and is managed in a different way. Nevertheless, the Secretary of the Interior is equally responsible for its proper conduct, and has a right to hold, and does hold, the Commissioner responsible for the proper discharge of his duties in the same manner as other heads of bureaus.

The only difference between the report made to the Secretary and that rendered to Congress is, one covers the fiscal and the other the calendar year.

I recommend that so much of section 494 as requires the Commissioner of Patents to lay before Congress, in the month of January of each year, a report upon the matters therein mentioned, be repealed, and in lieu thereof it be provided that he shall make his report annually to the Secretary of the Interior, covering the same subjects, at such time as the Secretary may direct.

Appeals from the Commissioner of Patents

Sections 4911, 4912, 4913, and 4914 of the Revised Statutes read as follows:

Sec. 4911. If such party, except a party to an interference, is dissatisfied with the decision of the Commissioner, he may appeal to the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia, sitting in banc.

Sec. 4912. When an appeal is taken to the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia, the appellant shall give notice thereof to the Commissioner, and file in the Patent Office, within such time as the Commissioner shall appoint, his reasons of appeal, specifically set forth in writing.

Sec. 4913. The court shall, before hearing such appeal, give notice to the Commissioner of the time and place of the hearing, and on receiving such notice the Commissioner shall give notice of such time and place, in such manner as the court may prescribe, to all parties who appear to be interested therein. The party appealing shall lay before the court certified copies of all the original papers and evidence in the case, and the Commissioner shall furnish the court with the grounds of his decision, fully as set forth in writing, touching all the points involved by the reasons of appeal. And at the request of any party interested, or of the court, the Commissioner and the examiners may be examined under oath, in explanation of the principles of the thing for which a patent is demanded.

Sec. 4914. The court, on petition, shall hear and determine such appeal, and revise the decisions appealed from in a summary way, on the evidence produced before the Commissioner, at such early and convenient time as the court may appoint; and the revision shall be confined to the points set forth in the reasons of appeal. After hearing the case the court shall return to the Commissioner a certificate of its proceedings and decision, which shall be entered of record in the Patent Office, and shall govern the further proceedings in the case. But no opinion or decision of the court in any such case shall preclude any person interested from the right to contest the validity of such patent in any court wherein the same may be called in question.

Under the provisions of the foregoing sections, appeals are taken from the decision of the Commissioner of Patents to the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia. Section 481, (above quoted,) as construed by the Attorney General in the opinion referred to, authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to review upon appeal the decisions of the Commissioner of Patents on all questions. In other words, two independent tribunals are now held to have appellate jurisdiction over the decisions of the Commissioner of Patents on the same questions, and sometimes appeals are taken to one and sometimes to the other tribunal. It is manifest, I think, that no such inconsistency should long continue. Undoubtedly there should be an appellate tribunal, but there should be no uncertainty as to that tribunal. I think that the sections of law above quoted, providing for an appeal to the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia, should be repealed, and that it should be provided by statute that appeals from the Commissioner on all questions should lie directly to the Secretary of the Interior. Such is the practice in all the other bureaus of the Department, and there is no reason why an exception should be made of the Patent Office. More than this, the Secretary of the Interior is charged with the business of this Office, and patents are signed by him and countersigned by the Commissioner. The responsibility, therefore, in large part, is with the Secretary. In relation to the business of all other bureaus of the Department, it is contemplated that the same shall be commenced and completed under the supervision of the Secretary. The only exception to such rule is found in this Office, where appeals may be taken directly to the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia, and the decision of that court is binding upon the Secretary of the Interior and the Commissioner of Patents. That there should be a provision in the law that said court, as a court of equity, may review the acts of any officer of this Department I do not question, but that it should review the decisions of such officers before they become final is anomalous. Under the opinion of the Attorney General, above mentioned, no decision of the Commissioner of Patents becomes final until it is directly or tacitly approved by the Secretary of the Interior. If the law remains as it now is, questions may arise applicable alike to different cases on which the court may put one construction and the Secretary of the Interior another.

For these and other reasons I recommend that the law be changed as above indicated, so that appeals on all questions shall lie from the Commissioner of Patents to the Secretary of the Interior.

Limitation of Patents

Section 4887 of the Revised Statutes reads as follows:

No person shall be debarred from receiving a patent for his invention or discovery, nor shall any patent be declared invalid, by reason of its having been first patented or caused to be patented in an foreign country, unless the same has been introduced into public use in the United States for more than two years prior to the application. But every patent granted for an invention which has been previous patented in a foreign country shall be so limited to expire at the same time with the foreign patent, or, if there be more than one, at the same time with the one having the shortest term, and in no case shall it be in force more than seventeen years.

The limitation of the terms of patents where the invention has first been patented in a foreign country has been a fruitful subject of discussion during the past year. Many ways have been suggested looking to the removal of the difficulties experienced under the limitation clause of the above section. The real difficulty in the case arises from the fact that while patents under our laws are issued for a definite term, under the laws of foreign governments they are issued for terms of different duration -- generally for a short term -- with the privilege of prolongation upon the payment of certain duties and proof of the use of the invention. I think that a patent issued by this Office should be for a definite term, no matter whether it be long or short, and should not be contingent upon the operation of the laws of any foreign government, nor the acts of any person. It is the theory of the present law, as it has been of the provisions of laws anterior to it, to provide that when a patent is issued for an invention which has first been patented in a foreign country it shall expire at the same time as the foreign patent having the shortest term to run. In other words, if an inventor has first patented his invention in a foreign country, he can only take a grant here for such length of time as his patent has to run there. This necessarily means that the term of his patent here is to be shorter than when the patent is first issued here. If this theory is still maintained, and I have no doubt that it will be, then I think a different term of less duration than where application is first filed here, should be prescribed. In England patents may be issued for fourteen years; in France, Germany, Austria-Hungary, fifteen years; and in other foreign countries for different terms. In either of the latter-named countries the patent may be for a short term and prolonged by the payment of duties, etc. Where the patent is issued for a short term and is prolonged the courts of the United States hold that the patent expires with the expiration of the short term, and does not continue for the prolonged term. These decisions of our courts, recently made, have brought special attention to this provision of the statute.

In October last Baron von Schaeffer, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of Austria-Hungary, through the Department of State, called to the attention of this Department the fact that Austro-Hungarian patent holders, under the decisions of our courts, were liable to suffer great loss on account of the conditions upon which their patents were issued, and asked the equitable interference of the officers of this Government in their behalf. the executive officers of this Government are powerless to render any aid or assistance to such patent holders, except as they act under the provisions of law, and, as there is no law at present which gives them any authority to grant relief, they must necessarily wait until Congress shall take action upon the subject. These views were expressed to Baron von Schaeffer personally, and also in a communication for transmission to him. There is no way in which the difficulties can be remedied, except by legislation. Applicants who first file their applications for patents in this Office are sometimes put to great inconvenience because their patents issue under the laws of a foreign government before they issue here, and hence are necessarily limited so as to expire with the foreign patent.

It is impossible to fix a term which shall conform to the terms of patents issued by foreign governments, because the terms for which patents may issue under such governments are not the same.

On the supposition that the theory which has thus far controlled in matters of this character in the legislation of this country, that a short term should be allowed for a patent where the invention has first been patented abroad, would still be adhered to, in my annual report of October last to the Secretary of the Interior I recommended that a term of twelve years be prescribed for such patents, and that the applicant be permitted to file his application for patent at any time within two years after the date of his foreign patent. The reason for this recommendation was that in England a patent may issue for fourteen years, that being the shortest full term for which any foreign government issues a patent. If the patent is issued in England, and in other foreign countries, applicant may have two years in which to demonstrate its utility and practicability, and after it has been proved to be useful and practical, may file his application here and receive a patent for the term of twelve years, unless he has been anticipated by other inventions.

If the law be so amended so as to provide either a term of twelve, or any number of years for a patent for an invention first patented abroad, I think all the difficulties experienced will be removed, and greater certainty will be felt not only with the holders of patents, but with capitalists who invest their money in patent property.


Permit me again to call attention to the necessity of the publication of the illustrated portion of the reports of this Office for the year 1870. Without said illustrations the reports of the Office are incomplete; with them they would be complete. It is estimated that these illustrations can be reproduced by the photolithographic process at a cost not to exceed six thousand dollars. It is important, as I think all must concede, that the reports of the Office should be complete, and hence I recommend an appropriation of the sum of six thousand dollars for that purpose, to be immediately available.

I submit herewith a list of patents granted during the year 1882, arranged under proper heads, and alphabetical list of the patentees, with their places of residence.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant

E.M. Marble
Commissioner of Patents

Hon. J.W. Keifer
Speaker of the House of Representatives

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