26th Congress, 1st Session, Senate [111]
Report of the Commissioner of Patents showing the operations of his office during the year 1839
January 24, 1840
Referred to the Committee on Patents and the Patent Office, and ordered to be printed
Patent Office, January 1, 1840

Sir: The Commissioner of Patents has the honor to transmit his annual report.

Four hundred and twenty-five patents have been issued during 1839, (including eight additional improvements to former patents,) of which classified and alphabetical lists are annexed, marked A and B.

During the same period, three hundred and three patents have expired, as per list marked C.

The receipts of office for 1839 amount to $37,260, from which may be deducted $5,769, paid on applications withdrawn.

The ordinary expenses of the Patent Office the past year, including payments for the library and agricultural statistics, were $20,799.95, leaving a surplus of $11,450.43 to be credited to the patent fund, as per statement marked E.

For the restoration of models, records, and drawings, under the act of 3d March, 1837, $7,973.57 have been expended, as per statement marked F.

The receipts of the office would have been nearly $2,000 more, had not the late law permitted assignments to be recorded without charge, a gratuity, however, which has given much satisfaction.

In compliance with the act of 3d of March, 1839, I have published a digest of all patents granted by the United States, adding thereto an alphabetical index, and shall deposit in the Library of Congress nine hundred copies of the same.

The old digest was very defective. A new arrangement has been made, giving each invention its appropriate classification.

A distribution of the new digest, will materially lessen the correspondence of the office, and guard citizens against the impositions of vendors of spurious patents. The volume contained above seven hundred and fifty pages.

The work was deemed necessary for daily reference in the office, and, believing the appropriation adequate to cover expenses, I did not delay the publication.

A small additional appropriation from the patent fund will be required to complete payment for the same.

Eleven thousand five hundred and nine patents have been issued by the United States previous to January, 1840.

A large number of applications partially completed, are awaiting the reception of models and treasury fee.

The transmission of models through agents appointed by law in the several States affords much facility to inventors; and if permission were given to deposit with collectors of public revenue the fees required, such accommodations would obviate one cause of perplexity and delay, and be more especially convenient in consequence of their present agency in forwarding such models.

I am happy to say the Patent Office building is so far completed as to afford, within a few weeks, the necessary accommodation for the office, and to enable the Commissioner to receive the numerous specimens of American art as contemplated by the act of reorganization, and to carry out the wishes of Congress by collecting and distributing valuable seeds; exhibiting, also, under appropriate classifications, the most important varieties, both exotic and indigenous.

The inquiries propounded by the honorable Secretary of State, in taking the next census, rendered it necessary for the Commissioner to expend but a small part of the appropriation for procuring agricultural statistics. From data of so high a source, the Commissioner can safely predicate future calculations, and hopes to present to Congress such details of domestic products as will be of importance in financial estimates.

The diplomatic corps of the United States residing abroad, have been solicited to aid in procuring valuable seeds, and the officers of the navy, with the approbation of the honorable Secretary of that department, have been requested to convey to the Patent Office, for distribution, such seeds as may be offered. In many cases, no changes will be made for seeds. If small expenses do arise, they can be reimbursed by appropriations from the patent fund, daily accumulating, and consecrated specially to the promotion of the arts and science.

The cheerfulness with which the diplomatic corps and the officers of the navy have received the request of this office, justify sanguine anticipation from this new undertaking.

With the additional assistance granted last session, and correspondent exertions on the part of those connected with the bureau, the business in each branch is brought up. Less delay will, I trust, arise in future applications.

The number of caveats issued in 1839 was two hundred and twenty five.

The number of applications for patents the same year exceed eight hundred. One half of these have been rejected on examination. That the investigations of the office have not been conducted without care and attention, may perhaps be inferred from the fact that no appeal has been taken from the decision of the Commissioner on these cases. These rejections will show patentees, that they are protected from interference, to a great extent, and the public generally, how much they are guarded against useless or invalid patents.

I only add that a small appropriation will be required to continue present periodicals taken at the office, together with some additional standard works which are needed for daily reference.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Henry L. Ellsworth

Hon. R.M. Johnson
President of the Senate of the United States



Statement of receipts for patents, caveats, disclaimers, 

improvements, and certified copies of papers in the year 1839.

Amount received for patents, caveats, etc.  $37,260.00

Amount received for office fees                 759.97



Deduct paid on withdrawals                               5,769.99



Statement of expenditures and payments made from the patent fund, 

by Henry L. Ellsworth, Commissioner, from the 1st of January to 

the 31st of December, 1839, inclusive


Under the act of 3d March, 1839

For salaries                                $14,547.39

For contingent expenses                       4,142.31

For library                                     912.70

For temporary clerks                          1,071.15

For agricultural statistics and seeds           126.40




Leaving a net balance to the credit of the              11,450.03

   patent fund                                          =========



Under the act of 3d March, 1837

For restoring the records of patents            887.01

For draughtsmen                               3,947.22

For examiner and register                     2,000.00

For restored models                             572.00

For restored drawings                            28.00

For freight of models                           416.28

For stationery                                  123.06




Patent Office, January 1, 1840

Henry L. Ellsworth
Commissioner of Patents


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