Letter from the Commissioner of Patents
Transmitting his Annual Report for the Year 1866

United States Patent Office
Washington, D.C., January 30, 1867

Sir: I have the honor to transmit the annual report of this office for the year 1866, to be laid before Congress.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant.
T.C. Theaker
Commissioner of Patents

Hon. Schuyler Colfax
Speaker of the House of Representatives


United States Patent Office
January 30, 1867

Sir: I have the honor to submit the following report of the business of this office during the year 1866.

The receipts and expenditures of the office for the year, and the condition of the patent fund at its close, are shown by the following statements:

                          No. 1

Number of applications for patents during the year        15,269

Number of patents issued, including reissues and designs   9,450

Number of caveats filed                                    2,723

Number of applications for extensions of patents              67

Number of patents extended                                    58

Number of patents expired                                  1,042

    Of the patents granted, there were to --

Citizens of the United States                              9,210

Subjects of Great Britain                                    127

Subjects of French empire                                     48

Subjects of other foreign governments                         65

                           No. 2

Statement of money received during the year, namely

On applications for patents, reissues, etc.          $460,798.20

For copies and recording assignments, etc.             34,867.18


    Total amount                                      495,665.38


                            No. 3

Statement of expenditures

For salaries, including $29,107.48 additional pay, 

   as per act of June 18, 1866                       $149,623.17

For contingent expenses                                95,006.60

For temporary clerks                                  115,381.76

For withdrawals                                           540.00

For refunding money paid by mistake                       924.00

For fees to judges in appeal cases                        248.75


Total expended                                        361,724.28


                            No. 4

Statement of the condition of the patent fund

Amount to the credit of said fund, January 1, 1866   $130,184.78

Amount of receipts during the year                    495,665.38


   Total                                              625,850.16

From which deduct the amount of expenditures          361,724.28


Leaving to the credit of the patent fund, 

   January 1, 1867                                    264,125.88

Surplus of receipts over expenditures during the year 133,941.10


Table exhibiting the business of the office for thirty years 

ending December 31, 1866

Years Applications Caveats Patents     Cash          Cash

         Filed      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

The foregoing shows that the number of applications for patents received in 1866 exceeded that of 1865 by nearly fifty per cent, and that of 1864 by more than one hundred per cent, and the number of caveats filed exceeded that of 1865 by nearly two hundred per cent, while that of 1865 exceeded any previous year by more than thirty per cent.

The receipts into the patent fund exceeded that of 1865 by more than forty-two per cent, while the expenditures were increased less than thirty-three per cent, and 1865 exceeded that of any previous year in receipts by more than thirty-six per cent.

If the business of the office continues to increase as now, and as it has for several months last past, it is not unreasonable to suppose that the number of applications during the present year will amount to nearly, if not quite, twenty thousand. This very great increase of the business of the office renders it absolutely necessary that the clerical and examining force be correspondingly augmented, and this cannot be done without providing more room than we now have, as every room we have is filled far beyond its utmost reasonable capacity. In some of the rooms the clerks are so crowded that they cannot comfortably do their work, and of necessity they very often and very greatly interrupt each other, which seriously retards the business of the office, and which cannot be remedied in any other way than by furnishing us with additional rooms.

The examiners have suffered great inconvenience, and the public interests great detriment, from the necessity that has existed for several years past of conducting the examination of several classes of subjects in the same room -- for instance, steam-engines and all cognate subjects under one principal examiner with his several assistants, and hydraulics, pneumatics, and wearing apparel, under another with his several assistants, are all crowded into one room. The inconvenience named arises to a great extent from the limitation as to space, but in a far greater degree from the diverse character of the inventions under examination; the exposure to the many applicants of inventions that should be kept private; the discussions in the hearing of both the principal examiners, their several assistants, and of the various attorneys and applicants, of matters which should be known only to the parties in interest, often, doubtless, to the prejudice of justice, and always to the embarrassment of the business of those not engaged in the particular case in controversy.

The draughtsmen, who prepare the small drawings from which the engravings for the illustrations to accompany the Patent Office reports are made, are greatly in need of more room. Six are now employed, and they are at present located in one of the model saloons, between the model cases, with merely a temporary curtain suspended across from one case to another, to shut them out from the view of the many visitors who are daily traversing the saloons. They are thus located because there is no other place to put them, and this difficulty must very soon be increased, as it is absolutely necessary to double the number of the draughtsmen in order to keep up with the increasing business of the office.

In the room in which the drawings of inventions are kept, there are about 100,000 sheets of said drawings in a space originally designed for the reception of about 25,000, and the consequent damage resulting to these drawings from the crowded condition in which they are kept in this room, is a matter of very serious consideration.

Should the business of this office continue to increase -- and it doubtless will do so -- it will soon be entirely impossible to take proper care of the drawings unless more room be furnished for that purpose.

The library of this office has vastly grown in importance within the last few years. It is not only needed and used as an absolutely necessity by the examiners in the performance of their duties, but it is now so much consulted by inventors and those engaged in their interest, by whose money the office has been built up, and who exclusively sustain it, that the want of room and books is now signally felt. It is not an uncommon thing for persons to come from distant parts of the United States to consult books which can only be found here. A careful examination of the catalogues of other libraries shows that the Patent Office collection is now one of the best technical libraries in the world, if not the very best. The high price of gold and the limited means of the office during the war prevented the purchase of many volumes which are much needed. Gold has very much depreciated, and the means of the office are now ample, and there are needed many volumes of necessary works to complete series heretofore kept up, which must soon be purchased or be hereafter bought at a much greater cost, if they can be procured on any terms, and there is really no room for any additional volumes if such were now on hand. The works consulted in this library are, very many of them, of large size, and require corresponding space for their examination. It often happens that every table in the room now occupied by the library is more than covered with volumes for examination, and this, too, in places which should not be open to the public at large.

The want of rooms for the mere deposit of books is so great that many of them are of necessity stowed in the halls, in other rooms, and even piled on the floors. This is an every-day inconvenience; add to this the want of room for consulting the volumes above mentioned, and there will be found a very valuable public institution which is deprived of much of its real means of usefulness for want of proper space for the use of its advantages.

Deeming it to be my duty to call the attention of Congress to the matter of the indispensable necessity that exists for much more room in order to properly carry on the now great and rapidly increasing business of this office, I have, as briefly as I could, made the foregoing representations, in the confident hope that your honorable body will at no very distant day take measures to afford the relief which is so much needed.

All of which is most respectfully submitted.

T.C. Theaker
Commissioner of Patents


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