26th Congress, 2d Session, Senate [152]
Report from the Commissioner of Patents showing the Operations of the Patent Office during the year 1840
February 3, 1841
Ordered to be printed

Patent Office, January, 1841
Sir: In obedience to the act to promote the useful arts, the Commissioner of Patents has the honor to submit his annual report.

Four hundred and sixty-three patents have been issued during the year 1840, including sixteen additional improvements to former patents, of which classified and alphabetical lists are annexed, marked A and B.

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

The applications for patents during the year past amount to seven hundred and sixty-five, and the number of caveats filed was two hundred and twenty-eight.

The receipts of the office for 1840 amount to $38,056.51; from which may be deducted $7,173.31, paid on applications withdrawn, as per statement D.

The ordinary expenses of the Patent Office for the past year, including payments for library and for agricultural statistics, were $23,982.45; leaving a surplus of $6,900.75 to be credited to the patent fund, as per statement marked E.

For the restoration of models, records, and drawings, under the act of March 3, 1837, $7,864.91 have been expended, as per statement marked F.

The whole number of patents issued by the United States, previous to January, 1841, is eleven thousand nine hundred and eighty-two.

During the past year, the Commissioner of Patents has removed into the new building, which is both commodious and secure against fire; and the patented models are classified and exhibited in suitable glass cases. The National Gallery is ready for the exhibition of models and specimens, and cases are being prepared to preserve the same against injury or loss by exposure. I am happy to say that the mechanics and manufacturers are improving the opportunity to present the choicest contributions; and, from the encouragement given, no doubt is entertained that the hall, considered by some so spacious, will, in a short time, be entirely filled; presenting a display of national skill and ingenuity not surpassed by any exhibition in the world.

The basement story affords equal room for the exhibition of agricultural implements and seeds.

By the felicitous advantage of the National Gallery, the Commissioner will be enabled to restore the models of the useful arts; and, without this assistance, other efforts would be unsuccessful.

It will readily be perceived that a patentee, whose patent has expired, has little interest to restore his model; and patriotic feeling and the compensation offered are not sufficient to induce him to comply with the wishes of the office. An appeal, however, to the mechanic and manufacturer to exhibit in the National Gallery such specimens as they may think useful, is cheerfully responded to; and a restoration of the most important models will thus be effected almost gratuitously, and the liberal appropriation made for this object be chiefly saved to the Treasury.

In my last report, the necessity of an appropriation for the library, and to defray the expenses incurred by order of Congress on publishing a digest of the patents issued by the United States, was mentioned. The bill for these objects passed one branch of the National Legislature, but was not reached in the regular order of business in the other. It is presumed that the present session will furnish the means so necessary to the successful discharge of the duties devolving on the Commissioner.

The small appropriation made in 1839, for statistics and other agricultural purposes, has limited the expenses of the Commissioner to the sum granted. Upwards of 30,000 packages of seeds have been distributed during the last year; and from the gratification expressed by those who have received them, the most favorable anticipations are indulged that the effort thus made has met the cordial and thankful acknowledgements of the agricultural community. When the seeds collected in the remote parts of the glove, together with those more easily procured, shall arrive, and be distributed, still further gratification and benefit may be expected.

In his last report, the Commissioner of Patents mentioned that the minute inquiries propounded by the honorable Secretary of State, in the taking of the census, would render much expenditure unnecessary on the part of this office to procure the data of accurate calculations for agricultural statistics. These statistics are in a state of forwardness, but cannot be completed within the time prescribed for the annual report from the Patent Office. I shall, therefore, beg leave to transmit the statistics as soon as the same can be got ready. In the mean time, I cannot omit to notice the surprising amount of agricultural products in the United States; nor the importance of an annual report of the state of the crops in different sections, as a preventative against monopoly, and a good criterion to calculate the state of exchange.

The occupation of the Patent Office has necessarily increased the contingent expenses the present year; and the ordinary protection of a watch for the building, and assistance in the care of the additional rooms, must somewhat increase the disbursements of this bureau. I am happy, however, to say that the earnings of the office will be fully adequate to meet not only present expenses, but all others contemplated in the reorganization of the Patent Office. And, while the cost of the new building has exceeded so much the estimate of the Commissioner, in consequence of a change of the material and manner of erecting it, it may be gratifying to know that, during the last five years, the receipts of the Patent office, after paying all ordinary expenses, is upwards of $75,000; which has been credited to the patent fund, and stands appropriated expressly for the promotion of the arts and sciences in the Untied States.

I have the honor to be, with the highest respect, your obedient servant,
Henry L. Ellsworth

Hon. R.M. Johnson
President of the Senate


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