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