Patent History Materials Index - Directory of the Model Room by Cassius M. Buck (1890)

Extracts from An Authentic Directory of the Model Room with Brief History of the Patent Office and other information valuable to Visitors

Compiled by Cassius M. Buck, Washington, D.C.

Entered according to act of Congress in the year 1890 by Cassius M. Buck, in the office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington


The Halls, North, South, East and West, are designated by the letters N., S., E., W.

Classes Alphabetically Arranged

Classes and Articles          Hall     No. of Cases

Accouterments and Baggage       E        22 to 24

Acoustics                       S        44

[Intervening classes omitted here   KWD]

Wood-working Machines           N        118 to 122

Wood-working Tools              N        118, 119, 121

There are no patents on perpetual motion. Applicants are always requested to furnish working models. They fail at that point.

Model cases will be opened for examination of models, when required.

Drawings can be seen in Room 82.


History in Brief

Prior to the year 1790, some of the States or provincial governments granted to inventors patents or exclusive privileges for their inventions.

By Act of Congress Approved April 10th, 1790, the first American patent system was founded. Under this Act the Secretary of State, the Secretary of War and the Attorney General, or any two of them constituted a tribunal to pass upon the patentability of the invention for which a patent was solicited. This Act was repealed February 1st, 1793; under this new Act the Secretary of State received the petition and caused the letters patent to be made out, which letters patent were examined by the Attorney General and signed by the President.

The Patent Office was established by Act of Congress, approved July 4, 1836, and attached to the State Department.

The Interior Department was created March 3, 1849, at which date the Patent Office was transferred from the State Department to it.

On the 28th day of April 1810, Congress made an appropriation of $20,000 for the erection or purchase of a suitable building for the accommodation of the General Post Office, and the "Office of the Keeper of the Patents". A building for the purposes named in the Act was purchased; the building was originally intended for a hotel, and situated on the Northwest Corner of 7th, and E Sts., N.W., site now occupied by the Post Office Department.

On March 7th, 1812, a further appropriation of $9,500 was made for the repair of said building; and during that year the Patent Office which was located in the War Department building, was removed to this building, where it remained until destroyed by fire, December 25th [sic], 1836.

The Patent Office then took rooms in the City Hall, and continued there until the spring of 1840.

The foundation of the south wing of the present Patent Office building was laid in the fall of 1836, was completed and occupied, in the spring of 1840, and cost $442,011.65. The east wing was commenced in 1849, and finished in 1852, and cost $600,000. The west wing was begun in 1852, and completed in 1856, at a cost of $750,000. The north wing, which completed this grand structure, was commenced in 1856, and finished in 1867, and cost $575,000.

Up to the year 1877, there had been expended upon the construction, repair and furniture of the Patent Office, the sum of $3,000,000. The North and West Halls of Model Room with 166 Model Cases and 124,000 Models were destroyed by fire September 24th, 1877

The North Hall, as it now is, was finished and re-occupied in 1881. The South Hall of Model Room was not damaged by the fire, but was re-modeled, which work was commenced May 1883, and the Hall re-occupied May 1885.

The system of numbering patents commenced July 28th, 1836; prior to that date, 9,957, patents were granted.

The whole number of patents issued from July 28th, 1836, to October 14th, 1890, inclusive, are as follows: --

    Patents                 438,596

    Designs                  20,207  (First in 1843)

    Trade Marks              18,537  (First in 1870)

    Labels                    6,347  (First in 1874)

    Reissues                 11,117  (First in 1838)

    Prior to July 28, 1836    9,957



About 2,700 of these patents were granted to women; the first bearing the date of May 5th, 1809.


Patents in Brief

A patent is granted for 17 years, to any person (citizen or alien, or even a minor) who is the first inventor of any new and useful art, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter. Cost: Government application fee, $15. A second Government fee of $20 has to be paid within six months of allowance. Models are very seldom required. Application must be made within two years of first sale or public use.

Caveats entitle the caveator for one year to notice of any interfering application, but are of little use otherwise. Cost: Government fee, $10.

Design patents are granted for 3 1/2, 7 or 14 years, at a cost of $10, $15, or $30 according to term.

A reissue of a defective patent may be obtained, if applied for within a reasonable time after the issue of the original patent. Cost: Government fee, $30. A reissue expires with the original patent.

An extension of a patent can only now be had by a special Act of Congress, which is very hard to obtain.

Trade-Marks are registered for 30 years. Cost: Government fee, $25.

Labels may be registered for 28 years. Cost: Government fee, $6.


Patent Fees of 1790

For receiving and filing the petition, fifty cents.

For filing specification, copy sheet containing one hundred words, ten cents.

For making out the Patent, two dollars.

For affixing the great seal, one dollar.

For endorsing the day of delivering the same to the patentee, including all intermediate services, twenty-five cents.

In 1836 there were seven persons employed in the Patent Office, including the Commissioner. Their combined salaries amounting to $11,550 per annum. During the year 1889 there were 562 employees in the office, the pay-roll amounting to $645,338.60 for the year.


Models of Special Interest

Morse's Original Telegraph. Patented April 11, 1846.
Case 7, North Hall

Howe's Original Sewing Machine. Patented Sept 10, 1846.
Case 30, North Hall

Model of Steam Boat, showing method of lifting Vessels over Shoals. Patented to Abraham Lincoln, May 22, 1849.
Case B, North Hall

Hitchcock and Bement, first pegged Shoe. Patented July 30, 1811.
Case 17, East Hall

Eli Whitney's Cotton Gin. Patented March 14, 1794.
Case 86, North Hall

Original Declaration of Independence transferred to State Department in 1876

All Relics of Washington, Franklin, Lincoln, and Grant including the Franklin Printing Press which were on deposit in Patent Office, were transferred to National Museum, in 1883.


Commissioners of Patents

Henry L. Ellsworth, Conn.              July 4, 1836

Edmund Burke, N.H.                      May 5, 1845

Thomas Ewbank, N.Y.                     May 9, 1849

Silas H. Hodges, Vt.                    Nov 1, 1852

Charles Mason, Iowa                  March 24, 1853

Joseph Holt, Ky                   September 9, 1857

William D. Bishop, Conn                 May 7, 1859

Philip F. Thomas, Md.             February 15, 1860

David P. Holloway, Ind.              March 28, 1861

Thomas C. Theaker, Ohio             August 15, 1865

Elisha Foote, N.Y.                    July 28, 1868

Samuel S. Fisher, Ohio                  May 1, 1869

Mortimer D. Leggett, Ohio          January 16, 1871

John M. Thatcher, Va.              November 1, 1874

R. H. Duell, N.Y.                   October 1, 1875

Ellis Spear, Maine                 January 30, 1877

H. E. Paine, Wis                   November 1, 1878

Edgar M. Marble, MIch                   May 7, 1880

Ben. Butterworth, Ohio             October 26, 1883

M. V. Montgomery, Michigan           March 21, 1885

Benton J. Hall, Iowa                  April 7, 1887

C. E. Mitchell, Conn                  April 1, 1889


What to See

The Capitol. Open at 9 a.m.

Corcoran Art Gallery, Seventeenth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest. Free days: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

State, War and Navy Departments, Seventeenth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest. Open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Executive Mansion, Pennsylvania Avenue between Fifteenth and Sixteenth Streets Northwest.

Treasury Department, Fifteenth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest

Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Fourteenth and B Street, Southwest.

Agricultural Department, the Mall, near Twelfth Street, Southwest.

Smithsonian Institute, } The Mall, between Seventh and
National Museum . . . .} Twelfth Streets, Southwest.

Patent Office, Seventh to Ninth, F to G Streets, Northwest.
Open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Post Office Department, Seventh to Eight, E to F Street,
Northwest. Open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Navy Yard. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Marine Barracks. Guard Mount, daily, 9 a.m.

Marine Band, every Monday, 10 a.m.

Soldiers Home. Arlington Heights. Mt. Vernon


Model Room
Dimensions in feet

Halls        Length         Width      No. of Cases

North         267            59 2/3       183

South         266            62 1/2        77

East          269 3/4        65 2/3        62

West          272            63 2/3

Total        1074 3/4       251 1/2       322

Note: -- Old Patent Office burned on 15th of December, 1836, with which many valuable records were destroyed.

North and West Halls of Model Room burned September 24, 1877. About 124,000 models were destroyed.


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