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

Examining Corps

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.

Increased Accommodation

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 Centennial

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

Respectfully submitted.

R.H. Duell
Commissioner of Patents

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


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