Patent Materials from Scientific American, vol 7 new series (Jul 1862 - Dec 1862)

Scientific American, v 7 (ns) no 14, p 214, 4 October 1862

Business at the Patent Office

Messrs. Munn & Co.: -- I see by the papers that the Patent Office in Washington is being fitted up for a hospital. Is no business done now in that department?


Jefferson Co., N.Y., Sept 15, 1862

In reply to the above we would state that a portion of the Patent Office is fitted up for the reception of wounded soldiers, but the arrangements are such that the regular business of the department is not interfered with. Cots have been placed in the passage ways, between the cabinets, of two of the large model halls, and accommodations for nearly 800 patients are thus provided. The cots are however so arranged that access may be easily had to the glass cases containing the models, and the examination of inventions is not prevented. None of the examiners' rooms on the first floor are given up, nor are the regular operations of the bureau at all interrupted. Indeed, so far as facilities for doing business are concerned, the Patent Office was never in better condition. The amount of unfinished work now on hand is small, and in most of the classes the examiners are able to act promptly upon new applications.

In this connection, we would remind our readers that now is the time, above all others, when the mind can be most advantageously applied to the discovery of new inventions. Just in proportion as the population is drawn off for service in the war, is the necessity for labor-saving inventions increased.

-- Eds.


Scientific American, v 7 (ns) no 15, p 233, 11 October 1862

Inventors in New Orleans Thawing Out

The last two steamers from New Orleans bring us evidence that our old friends in New Orleans are not all dead or in the rebel army.

We are preparing several sets of papers for the Patent office on inventions made by persons from New Orleans who did business with us at a time when we were at peace with ourselves and the rest of the world. Wherever the old flag of the Union is re-instated we have observed that inventors soon spring forth to secure some invention which they have conceived since their isolation from us. We are more and more convinced from what is daily developing that there is no class of people North or South, so loyal to the Union as that most useful class of the community, the inventors.


Scientific American, v 7 (ns) no 15, p 233, 11 October 1862

Death of a Patent Office Examiner

A.B. Little, for a number of years connected with the Patent Office, and known to a great number of our readers, committed suicide on the evening of the 30th ult., at the National Hotel, Washington, while in a fit of temporary insanity. During the administration of James Buchanan, Mr. Little comprised one of the Board of Appeals in the Patent Office, which position he occupied with credit to himself and to the satisfaction of those who had business to transact in his department. For the last two years Mr. Little has acted as Solicitor of Patents and Attorney for Patentees, in Washington. We regret the loss of so good and useful a man from our profession.


Scientific American, v 7 (ns) no 21, p 329, 22 November 1862

Slackness at the Patent Office

Nothing is more true than that the lack of constant employment begets indolence. When the Patent Office was crowded with business we seldom had occasion to complain at any delay in the examination of cases or lack of promptness in disposing of business in this bureau. But during the last year, and especially the past six months, there has been a noticeable slackness in several departments of the office, for which there is no apparent reason, except upon the principle that "the less one has to do, the less inclined and apt is he to perform well what he has to do."

In 1860 more than twice as many applications were made for patents as are likely to be made this year (1862); and but little, if any, more "help" was then employed in the Patent Office than there is now; still cases are not as promptly acted upon, in some of the examiner's rooms, as they were in that year of great prosperity. The delay in examining and giving decisions upon cases discourages inventors and creates dissatisfaction, which the Commissioner should try to avoid. Some of the examiners, we are happy to say, keep their work well done up, and give a decision in a case within a few days after the application is filed; but there are others who are several months behind in their examinations.

Now, if some of the examiners have so much to do that they cannot get through with their work promptly, why are they not relieved and part of their cases sent to less crowded rooms? There is certainly a sufficiently large examining force in the Patent Office to keep all the work done up snug; and we trust the Commissioner will see to it that the labors of the office are so distributed that no examiner may excuse himself from not acting upon cases which have been before him for several months, on the ground that he has not yet had time to take the matter up for examination. Will the Commissioner infuse a little more vigor in some of the departments of the Patent Office?


Scientific American, v 7 (ns) no 21, p 331, 22 November 1862

Patent Business in 1860 and 1862

During the first nine months (from January to October) of 1860 there were three thousand nine hundred and thirteen patents issued from the United States Patent Office. For the same period this year there have been granted only eighteen hundred and eighty-five patents; thus showing a decrease in the number of patents issued up to October 1st of considerably more than one-half of the number issued in the same period in 1860. This falling-off does not augur well for the prosperity of the country. Labor saving machinery was never in greater demand than now, but where are the inventors. Certainly half of them cannot have gone to the war.


Scientific American, v 7 (ns) no 23, p 359, 6 December 1862

Elias Howe, Jr., the inventor of the sewing machine, carries the daily mail from Washington to the camp of the Seventeenth Connecticut Regiment, in which he is a private.

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