27th Congress, 3d Session, Senate [129]
Report from the Commissioner of Patents showing
The operations of the Patent Office during the year 1842
February 1, 1843
Read and referred to the Committee on Patents and the Patent Office
February 3, 1843
Motion to print, referred to the Committee on Printing
February 7, 1843
Ordered to be printed, with a portion of the documents, and that 1,000 additional copies be furnished for the use of the Senate

Patent Office, January, 1843

Sir: In compliance with the law of Congress, the Commissioner of Patents has the honor to submit his annual report.

Five hundred and seventeen patents have been issued during the year 1842, including 13 re-issues, 15 additional improvements to former patents, and 2 disclaimers, of which classified and alphabetical lists are annexed, marked A and B.

During the same period, 352 patents have expired, as per list marked C. The applications for patents during the year past, amount to 761, and the number of caveats filed, was 291.

The receipts of the office for 1842, amount to $35,790.96; from which may be deducted $8,086.95 repaid on applications withdrawn, as per statement D.

The ordinary expenses of the Patent Office for the past year, including payments for the library, and for agricultural statistics, have been $23,154.48; leaving a net balance of $5,264.20 to be credited to the patent fund, as per statement marked E.

The above expenditures do not include those incurred within the last year for the recovery of the stolen jewels.

For the restoration of models, records, and drawings, under the act of March 3, 1837, $14,062.02 have been expended, as per statement marked F.

The whole number of patents issued by the United States previous to January 1843, was 12,992. The continuance of the depression of the money market, and the almost universal prostration of all business, operate very disadvantageously on the receipts of this office, as many hundred applications are delayed solely from the want of funds, or difficulty of remittance. The patents granted for the year, however, exceed those of the year previous, by 20, though there have been less applications by 86.

The digest of patents continued and brought down to January, 1842, has been printed, and 700 copies distributed to the respective States, and 200 copies deposited in the library, in compliance with the resolution of Congress, directing the same.

The accommodations granted during the last year for the reception of the articles received through the exploring expedition entrusted to the National Institute, must seriously thwart, if not suspend, the design of Congress in the re-organization of the Patent office, which enacts section 20, act of July 4, 1836, "That it shall be the duty of the commissioner to cause to be classified and arranged, in such rooms and galleries as may be provided for that purpose, in suitable cases, when necessary for their preservation, and in such a manner as shall be conducive to a beneficial and favorable display thereof, the models and specimens of composition, and fabrics, and other manufactures and work of art, patented or unpatented, which have been, or shall hereafter be, deposited in the said office." While the annual receipts of the Patent Office above the expenditures are sufficient to carry out fully the benevolent objects of the National Legislature, the want of room of which it is thus deprived will be for a time an insurmountable obstacle, as all the room in the gallery could be advantageously used by either the Patent Office or the National Institute. No remedy therefore remains but an extension of the building, which might be done by the erection of a wing sufficiently large to accommodate the Patent Office on the first story. The building can also afford room for lectures by professors, should they be appointed under the Smithsonian bequest: and may I be permitted here to observe that a gratuitous course of lectures in the different branches of science would certainly do much to diffuse knowledge among men. I can confidently say, that the agricultural class look forward with bright anticipations to some benefit from the Smithsonian bequest, and to the time when the sons of agriculturists, after years of toil at the plough, can attend a course of lectures at the seat of government, and there learn not only the forms of legislation, but acquire such a knowledge of chemistry and the arts as will enable them to analyze the different soils, and apply agricultural chemistry to the greatest effect. Such encouragement will indeed stimulate them to excel in their profession, while others, deemed by many more favorable, are indulged with a collegiate course of education. Little indeed has been done for husbandry by the General Government, and since 80 per cent of the population are more or less engaged in this pursuit, the claim on this most beneficial bequest will not, it is hoped, be disregarded. The National Agricultural Society, in connection with the Institute, will most cheerfully aid Congress in carrying out their designs for the great benefit of national industry.

It is a matter of sincere congratulation that the Patent Office has so far recovered from its great loss in 1836, by the conflagration of the building with all its contents. A continued correspondence with 11,000 patentees, and untiring efforts on the part of all concerned with this bureau, have accomplished much; indeed, to appearance, the models are better than previous to the fire. Although something yet remains to be done, enough has been accomplished to remove the past embarrassment, and afford applicants the means of examination as to the expediency of applying for a patent.

The loss to the library sustained by the fire, is not yet fully sustained, and since the law of 1836 makes it a duty to examine all applications for patents, with reference also to foreign inventions, it is absolutely necessary that the library should be extended. It is true that the library of Congress possesses some books on scientific subjects useful for reference in the labors of this bureau, but no permission is given to take out books from the library; and, if such liberty were granted, it would be bad economy to send an examiner to the capitol to look up similar cases. If applications are to be examined, it will promote the despatch of public business, protect against spurious patents, and give public satisfaction, if the Patent Office library is well supplied with necessary books. Already hundreds of applicants are satisfied by the comparatively imperfect examinations now made by referring to books on hand, not to take out a patent, and when, in the rejection of cases, reference is made to foreign patents, there is an impatient desire to see the description of the invention that is to cut off the hopes of so many years of toil and labor. I would, therefore, most earnestly recommend an appropriation of $1,200 from the surplus fund, to add to the Patent Office library.

The annual agricultural statistics, comprising the tabular estimate of the crops, for the past year, with accompanying remarks and appendix, will be found subjoined, marked G.

The value of this document to the whole country, from year to year, it is believed, would justify a much larger appropriation from the Patent Office fund for this purpose. The diffusion of such information may save millions to the laborious tiler of the soil, beside adding directly to his means of export many millions more. An examination of this subject, and the expediency of fixing it on a more permanent and advantageous basis of the constitution of an agricultural bureau, or at least an agricultural clerkship, at a moderate expense, to be drawn from the patent fund, is respectfully suggested. The additional benefit which might thus accrue to the population of our widely extended country would soon be seen. A sufficient appropriation to allow a personal examination of the various parts of the country by some one well qualified for such duty, similar to what has been attempted with so much success by some of the State Legislatures, would, it is believed, realize a vast amount of practical good, especially to the south and west, by furnishing the data on which they might direct their products to the best markets for domestic sale or foreign export.

Such, indeed, are the great benefits to result from personal observation and critical examination, not only of the crops but agricultural implements -- such the importance of explaining the new improvements, and collecting and distributing all the acclimated seeds which are proved to be so signally productive or beneficial, that the Commissioner of Patents has doubted whether a modification of his duties in connection with the Patent Office, would not be more useful to the community. During the last year he embraced the opportunity, while travelling, to examine the crops in ten States, and though the examination was of course imperfect, it enabled him the better to digest the somewhat discordant materials from which the agricultural statistics here incorporated were compiled. If millions can be saved to the public, if the agriculturist can be encouraged in his all-important pursuits, by the expenditure of a small sum from the annual surplus of the patent fund, what better destination could be given to this amount? Would not the people heartily approve and earnestly second such an undertaking?

All which is respectfully submitted.
H.L. Ellsworth

The President of the Senate



Statement of receipts for patents, caveats, disclaimers, 

improvements, and certified copies, in the year 1842

Amount received for patents, caveats, etc.  $35,799.96

Amount received for office fees                 714.67



Deduct repaid on withdrawals                             8,086.95





Statement of expenditures and payments made from the patent fund, 

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

31st of December, 1842, inclusive, under the act of March 3, 1839

For salaries                           16,350.00

For contingent expenses *               3,687.61

For library                               105.37

For temporary clerks                    2,830.75

For agricultural statistics, etc.         105.75

For compensation to the chief justice

    of the District of Columbia            75.00



Leaving a net balance to the credit of the

    patent fund                                       5,264.20



Statement of expenditures on the restoration of the Patent 

Office, under the act of March 3, 1837

For draughtsmen                          $2,400.00

For examiner and register                 1,000.00

For restoring the records of patents        174.08

For restored drawings                       103.00

For restored models and cases for models  9,763.54

For freight on models                       462.88

For stationery                              156.52



H.L. Ellsworth
Patent Office, January, 1843


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