ANNUAL REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF PATENTS FOR 1845
29th Congress, 1st Session, House of Reps., Doc. No. 140
Annual Report of the Commissioner of Patents
Report of the Commissioner of Patents for the Year 1845
February 24, 1846
Read, and referred to the Committee on Patents
Patent Office, January, 1846
Sir: In compliance with the act of Congress, entitled "An act in addition to the act to promote the progress of science and the useful arts," approved March 3, 1837, the undersigned has the honor to submit his annual report, exhibiting the operations of the Patent Office during the year ending December 31, 1845.
The whole number of applications for patents received during the year 1845, is twelve hundred and forty-six. The whole number of caveats filed during the same time is four hundred and fifty-two.
The number of patents issued in 1845 is five hundred and two, including six re-issues, six additional improvements, and seventeen designs; classified and alphabetical lists of which, with the names of the patentees, are annexed, marked K and L.
During the same period four hundred and seventy patents have expired, a list of which is annexed, marked M.
There have also been eighteen applications for extensions, three of which only have been granted.
The claims embraced in the respective patents issued during the year 1845 are also hereto annexed, marked N.
The receipts of the office for the year 1845, including duties and fees paid in on applications for patents, caveats, re-issues, additional improvements, extensions, and for copies, amount in the whole to $51,076.14; of which sum $8,223.33 have been repaid on applications withdrawn; and for money paid in by mistake, as per statement marked A.
The expenses of the office during the year 1845 have been, for salaries $15,545.20; temporary clerks, $4,097.09; contingent expenses, including postage, $8,224.58; compensation of district judge, $100; library, $813.04; agricultural statistics, $2,392.41; amounting in the whole to $31,172.32; leaving a net balance of $11,680.49, to be credited to the Patent Fund, as per statement marked B.
There has also been expended during the year past, under the act of March 3, 1837, the sum of $2,938.75 for the restoration of records and drawings, and the sum of $593.58 for duplicate models, as per statement marked C.
The whole number of patents issued by the United States for inventions, up to January, 1846, is fourteen thousand five hundred and twenty-six.
The general business of the office, as well as its receipts, has, during the year past, greatly increased over that of any former year. The excess of applications over the number received in 1844, is two hundred and one; the excess of caveats filed during the same period, compared with the former year, is seventy two, and the excess of receipts, $9,850.08. The statement hereto appended, marked D, will exhibit the progress of the business of the office from January 1, 1840, to December 31, 1845, inclusive, and will be interesting, inasmuch as it furnishes abundant proof that the march of improvement in the sciences and arts in this country continues to be rapidly onward.
The balance in the treasury to the credit of the Patent Fund on the 1st January, 1846, was $182,459.69, as will appear from the statement of the Register of the Treasury, and the note appended, marked E.
In accordance with the usage adopted by my predecessor, I have required of the two principal examiners, reports showing the progress of invention in this country during the past year, as they have been brought under the view of the Patent Office, which are hereto annexed, marked G and H. They are referred to as very favorable proofs of the talents and industry of those two officers, and as furnishing interesting reviews of the progressive march of the arts. It will be seen, by reference to those reports, that the past year has not been barren of valuable and important inventions and improvements; and that the inventive genius of our countrymen has suffered no abatement in the intensity of its activity, nor in the value and utility of its products.
In connection with the scientific operations of the Patent Office, I will embrace the opportunity to state, that I have received from Professor Morse an interesting account of the different magnetic telegraphs now in operation in Europe, made up from materials obtained by personal examination, and which will be found in paper marked I. I am happy to add, that Professor M.'s own brilliant invention, by which thought is conveyed with the rapidity of the lightning's flash, is still pre-eminent over all others of a similar character now in use in Europe.
By the act of Congress of June 17, 1844, making appropriations for the civil and diplomatic expenses of the government, etc., the sum of $700 was appropriated for covering the coping of the Patent Office, and the further sum of $600 was appropriated for an iron railing on the portico and for lamp posts. The whole of the last mentioned sum was expended in the latter part of the year 1844, by my predecessor, and the work faithfully and substantially executed.
The sum appropriated for covering the coping was, after the work was commenced and nearly finished, found to be insufficient to complete it. Deeming it imprudent to leave it in an unfinished state, I directed the balance required to complete it, amounting to $59.07, to be charged to the contingent account of the office.
The Patent Office building is now in thorough repair, and will require no appropriation for the present year, to keep it in a state of preservation.
My predecessor, in his last annual report, deemed it his duty, in consequence of the great inconvenience arising from the increase of models, rendering classification almost impossible, and the transaction of the daily business of the office very difficult, to recommend the construction of one of the wings contemplated in the original plan of the building. The experience of the short time during which I have filled the office of Commissioner has convinced me of the necessity of an enlargement of the Patent Office building. The increase of the business of the office is not only rapidly multiplying the models of both patented and rejected inventions, but it imperiously calls for an addition to the examining and clerical force of the office. And, as the rooms at the present appropriated to the receptions and classification of the models, and the use of the clerks, are fully occupied, provision will have to be made for the latter, (if Congress shall authorize an increase of their number) as well as for the former. I would, therefore, respectfully submit, in view of the constantly and rapidly increasing business of the office, that provision should be made for the construction of both wings, agreeably to the original plan. One wing would be immediately occupied by the classified models, and the other would, in a few years, be necessary for the accommodation of the official corps of the office.
An estimate of the expense of erecting the two additional wings, made at my request, by a distinguished architect, is herewith submitted, marked F.
In connection with the subject of the enlargement of the Patent Office building, I would respectively call the attention of Congress to the necessity of an increase of the examining force of the office. The present board of examiners consists of two principal examiners, and two assistants. The last addition to the examining force was authorized by the act of March 3, 1839. By reference to the statement marked D, exhibiting the progress of the business of the office from January 1, 1840, to December 31, 1845, inclusive, it will be seen that the whole number of applications for patents during the first mentioned year was 765, and during the year 1845 they amounted to 1,246; thus nearly doubling in number since 1840, and since the last addition to the examining force was authorized. During the last year the number of applications has exceeded that of any former year, except 1844, three hundred and ninety-nine, and the number of caveats filed one hundred and thirty-seven.
The increase in the number of applications does not exhibit the actual increase of the business of the office. Each application adds to the labors of the examiners and clerks in nearly a quadruple ratio, as almost every case requires two or three examinations before it is decided, leading to more or less correspondence in relation to it.
The great addition to the number of new applications, during the two last years, has rendered it physically impossible for the examiners to keep up with the business of the office, even with the most arduous and persevering efforts, aided by the experience of years on the part of both of them.
An addition to this branch of the force of the office has, therefore, become imperatively necessary; and if it should not be made, the inventor must be subjected to long and unreasonable delay before his claims can be examined. The crowded state of business during the last year has already occasioned complaints and censures against the office, on the part of impatient applicants, who were not apprised of the causes which prevented the seasonable examination of their cases. These causes were not to be found in the want of industry on the part of the examining force, but in the fertility of invention so creditable to our countrymen, which outstripped the physical capacity of the examiners to perform all the labors which were thus accumulated upon them.
When it is borne in mind that the Patent Office is wholly sustained by duties paid in by inventors -- having, since its reorganization in 1836, not only carried on its operations without aid from the treasury, but having each year contributed a surplus to the Patent Fund, a part of which is yearly appropriated for the collection of agricultural statistics and the purchase and distribution of seeds -- it cannot be deemed unreasonable on their part that Congress will, with the money thus furnished by themselves, make every necessary provision for its continued efficacy and usefulness.
It is believed that the addition of one principal examiner and one assistant will be sufficient to enable the office, in the present state of its business, to perform its duties without unreasonable delay. But, if its business should continue to increase in the same proportion in which it has during the past two years, which is very probable, the addition to its force above recommended will not be long adequate to the performance of its duties.
Whether or not provision shall be made for any thing more than the present necessities of the office, is respectfully submitted to the wisdom of Congress.
In connection with this subject, I feel bound to reiterate the recommendation of my predecessor, made in his last report, in relation to an increase of the salaries of the scientific corps of the office. The office of examiner of patents is one of the most difficult and responsible offices under the government. It requires the highest attainments in the sciences, and a soundly discriminating mind, to which may be added the most unquestionable integrity of character. An examiner should be a living encyclopedia of science, if the expression may be used. His multifarious duties require an intimate and thorough knowledge of the whole circle of science and art, together with a knowledge of modern languages -- particularly of the French and German -- and the most attentive and incessant mental labor. Yet, for all these high qualifications, and for labors scarcely second in intensity to those required by any officer in the government, the principal examiner is allowed only a salary of $1,500 per annum, and his assistant but $1,250. That it is wholly inadequate, as a compensation for such qualifications, must be evident to every one capable of appreciating the value of the talent and capacity equal to the duties required of an examiner of patents.
That it is not sufficient to retain the services of those capable of filling that place, this office has had proof in more than one instance. During the present year the office has lost the services of one of the most capable and efficient persons who was ever in its employment, and who was induced to resign by the inadequacy of the compensation which he received, and the more alluring prospects held out to him in other pursuits; and in filling the vacancies which have occurred by resignation and promotion in the examining department, since the undersigned has been at the head of the office, he has had to encounter the difficulty of securing the services of persons of the requisite talents and attainments, in consequence of the total inadequacy of the compensation. He has had the mortification of being defeated, in his efforts to procure the services of suitably qualified persons, by a railroad corporation, which was able to pay more for such services than he was authorized by law to pay.
In urging an increase of the salaries of the examiners, the undersigned is happy to find himself sustained by the great body of the enlightened inventors of this country, who desire earnestly that the men who are to pass upon their valuable rights shall be not only men of integrity, but of the highest order of talents and scientific qualifications. They desire that the class of officers to whom the law commits their interests shall be capable of comprehending the many intricate and difficult questions submitted to them; and, as the Patent Office is sustained by a heavy tax on their ingenuity, they feel that it is due to them that a sufficient sum should be appropriated, in the form of salaries, to induce men to the requisite capacity to undertake the various and ungrateful duties of examiners.
For additional reasons in favor of an increase of the salaries of the scientific corps, I would respectfully refer to the last report of my predecessor, in whose views and recommendations on this point I concur.
The experience of this office, and the construction given to it by the courts have proved that the existing laws are defective in many particulars; some of the most prominent defects in which I will proceed to point out.
1. In relation to the power of the chief clerk to act in the place of the Commissioner during his absence.
Under the second section of the act of July 4, 1836, it was believed that the chief clerk is clothed with the power to perform all the functions of the Commissioner, as well during his absence as when a vacancy existed in the office. Such, I understand, was the construction of the law by my predecessor, whose practice was in conformity with it. And, finding such construction and practice to exist when I entered upon its duties, I made no change in that respect. Recently, however, the correctness of that construction has been questioned by the United States district court in Massachusetts, and the authority of the chief clerk to perform the functions of the Commissioner during his absence denied. I also understand that this opinion of the court in Massachusetts is sustained by other eminent legal authorities. The practice may, therefore, be regarded as doubtful, if not wholly unauthorized by law.
If the construction and practice in relation to this matter be not correct, this office is placed in a situation of great inconvenience, inasmuch as in case of the sickness or necessary legal absence of its official head, its functions must, for the time being, cease.
The framers of the patent law, as the practice of my predecessor shows, contemplated no such result; and if they failed to provide for such a contingency, it was evidently because they did not duly weigh the meaning of the language which they used in the section of the law above referred to. To provide against the inconvenience and the evils which may result from such a defect in the law, some legislation will be necessary.
And, as the chief clerk has, since the reorganization of the office in 1836, officiated more or less as the acting Commissioner, and has signed many patents and other papers upon which important and valuable rights depend, it is respectfully submitted if it is not expedient to make those acts valid by a declaratory law on the subject.
2. Some doubt has arisen in relation to the construction of the 13th section of the act of July 4, 1836, in relation to the power of the Commissioner to enlarge the claim of the patentee who surrenders his patent for correction and re-issue.
The 13th section provides "that, whenever any patent which has heretofore been granted, or which shall be inoperative or invalid by reason of a defective or insufficient description or specification, or by reason of the patentee claiming in his specification, as his own invention, more than he had, or shall have, a right to claim as new, if the error has been or shall have arisen by inadvertency, accident, or mistake, and without any fraudulent or deceptive intention, it shall be lawful for the Commissioner, upon surrender," etc., to cause a new and complete patent to be issued.
On the part of many able jurists, who are thoroughly acquainted with the patent law, it is believed and contended that, under the section above quoted, the Commissioner has power to cause the issue of a patent only in cases where the patentee has claimed as his invention more than he was justly entitled to.
Such a construction of the provision in question would authorize the Commissioner to limit the claim of the patentee when he had claimed too much, but not to enlarge it when he had claimed too little; notwithstanding the new matter claimed, and to secure which the patent was surrendered for re-issue, was particularly set forth and described in the specification and drawings, and represented in the model.
Such a construction is in conflict with every sound principle of justice, and it should forthwith be remedied by an amendment of the law relating to this matter. It could not have been intended by the framers of the provision in question that the inventor should be deprived of the benefit of his invention, because, from inadvertence, mistake, or accident, he had failed to claim it all, notwithstanding he had set it forth in his specification, drawings and model.
And, as the phraseology of the section of the act above quoted admits of doubt, it is respectfully submitted whether or not it is expedient to remove this doubt by additional legislation.
3. The next provision of the law in respect to the construction of which doubt has arisen, is that which relates to the degree and extent of the use of an invention, before a patent is obtained for it, which shall constitute an abandonment of it to the public.
Under the second section of the act of March 3, 1839, it has been held by the Patent Office that the sale or prior use of a machine within two years from the date of its invention was no proof of the abandonment of the invention to the public; and by that construction of the provision of the law referred to, both the office and inventors have, until recently, been guided.
It was believed that, upon a fair and liberal construction of the section referred to, if not by its very terms, the inventor is entitled to two years during which he might make experiments with a view to perfect his invention, or sell to others machines which he had constructed during that period, without invalidating his right to a patent.
But, recently, some of the judicial tribunals have been inclined to take a different view of that provision in the seventh section of the act of 1839, and one of the circuit court judges, I have been informed, has, in one case, directly ruled, and so instructed the jury that the sale of a single machine is evidence of the abandonment of the invention to the public, and of course would destroy the validity of a patent issued under such circumstances.
It will be obvious that such a construction of the provision under consideration must greatly cripple the efforts, and, in many instances, the means of inventors. An invention does not, as did Minerva from the brain of Jove, spring from the inventor's brain perfect in form and action; on the contrary, it often requires years of painful thought and study, and numerous and varied experiments, to bring it to perfectibility. It also requires, oftentimes, a very considerable expenditure of money in constructing machines, and in making experiments. And as many, if not a large majority of that worthy class of men, are limited in their means, they find it a very great convenience, and sometimes absolutely necessary, to permit others to use publicly their machines, for the purpose of testing their perfectibility by experiment, and to sell them for the purpose of procuring the means to pursue their own experiment, and to sell them for the purpose of procuring the means to pursue their own experiments, and finally to obtain a patent.
In the judgment of the undersigned, nothing can be more just and reasonable than that the poor inventor should have the privilege of permitting others to use his machine by way of experiment, and of selling to others to use during the term of two years prior to his application for a patent, without invalidating his right to the same, supposed until recently to have been extended to him by the act of 1839. And it is, therefore, hoped that Congress will, by some further legislation upon the subject, clear the law of all doubt upon this point.
4. By the same section of the act of 1839, it is provided that every person or corporation who may have purchased any newly invented machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, prior to the application of the inventor for a patent, "shall be held to possess the right to use, and vend to others to be used, the specific machine," etc., so made or purchased, without liability therefor to the inventor, or any other person interested in the invention.
The Patent Office, believing that it was construing this provision according to its letter, as well as its spirit, has held that the right of the constructor or purchaser of a new machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, extended only to the specific and identical machine so purchased or constructed. By the judicial tribunals, however, it has been construed differently, and held that the constructor or purchaser, under such circumstances, not only acquired a right to use and vend the identical machine, or thing made or purchased by him, but also a right to the invention itself.
The effect of such construction of the provision referred to is, to give the constructor or purchaser of a machine, or other thing invented, a co-equal interest in the invention with the inventor himself. It is obvious that, however loose and unguarded the language of the statute in relation to this matter may be, such a construction as that which has been given to it by the judicial tribunals could not have been contemplated by its framers. They could have contemplated no such injustice to the inventor, and it is therefore respectfully submitted if this provision does not also need amendment.
5. By the 18th section of the act of July 4, 1836, by which the Patent Office was reorganized, provision is made for the extension of patents under certain circumstances for an additional term of seven years, and it is also expressly provided that "the benefit of the renewal shall extend to assignees and grantees of the right to use the thing patented, to the extent of their interests therein."
Under this provision, the board to whom the question of extension is submitted have heretofore held that the benefit extended as well to the assignees and grantees, as to the patentee. And this construction of the law has been sustained by some of the judicial tribunals, while it has been reversed by others.
In the eastern circuit, it was held by the late lamented Justice Story that the benefit of the extension did not extend to the assignees and grantees; and the distinguished Chief Justice of the United States has held just the contrary in the Maryland circuit, and sustained the construction given to this provision of the statute by the board of extension.
Already much litigation and consequent injury to both patentees and purchasers have grown out of this subject. A suit is now pending in the Supreme Court of the United States in relation to the well-known Woodworth's patent for a planing machine, involving very heavy pecuniary interests, in which this question is one of the points raised in the case. It is, therefore, a matter worthy of consideration if this conflict of opinion in the courts had not better be settled by the more speedy and less expensive process of legislation.
6. In all cases in which patents are refused by the Commissioner, the applicant, if he is dissatisfied with the decision of that officer, has two remedies, viz: one by appeal to the chief justice of the circuit court for the District of Columbia, and the other by a proceeding in equity against the Commissioner to compel him to issue a patent.
The 16th section of the act of July 4, 1836, and the 10th section of the act of March 3, 1839, which provide a remedy in equity for the aggrieved applicant, have failed to designate the place where these proceedings shall be had; and, consequently, the Commissioner may be harassed with suits in equity in every court of the United States having equity jurisdiction; at the same time subjecting him to the necessity of leaving his official duties at the seat of government at any time in order to attend personally to these proceedings. Suits may be pending at the same time in extreme parts of the Union, thus rendering it impossible for him to attend in person, if he should be required, as he is liable to be. No case has yet occurred in which the Commissioner has been compelled to attend in person, if he should be required, as he is liable to be. No case has yet occurred in which the Commissioner has been compelled to attend in person; yet it would be best to guard against such a contingency, particularly as it is now held that the chief clerk has no power to perform the duties of the Commissioner in his absence, and the office would be left, in such an event, without an official head.
Two suits in equity are now pending against the Commissioner in the circuit court for the district of Pennsylvania, in which, as it has not been necessary for me to attend, I have employed counsel, and in one of which I have had the question of jurisdiction raised.
In the course of the administration of the office many other defects and ambiguities have been observed in the acts now in force, which it is now unnecessary to refer to; but if Congress should conclude to revise the present patent acts, (which I will take this opportunity to recommend,) they will, if required, be particularly pointed out.
In connection with the revision and amendment of the present patent laws, I would remark that, in my judgment, some additions to the present enactments are necessary for the more effectual encouragement and protection of inventors and patentees.
The existing laws, while professing to give the inventor the exclusive enjoyment of his invention for the term of fourteen years, do, in fact, afford to him but very little protection. The fruits of his genius and his toils are constantly liable to be wrested from him by the unscrupulous and dishonest, who, too often countenanced by public opinion, are apt to regard the rights of the inventor as the fruits of a monopoly which it is a merit instead of a wrong to break down and destroy; and the more valuable the invention, the more liable is the patentee to this species of invasion and injury, as there is more inducement held out to it perpetuation. The stealthy thief and the midnight burglar are justly regarded as the pests and enemies of society, and are therefore seized and punished by penalties severe in proportion to the turpitudes of their crimes; yet their depredations are committed on things which are made by law the subjects of property, and which may be acquired by industry or by purchase. The right of the inventor to his invention, in the judgment of all enlightened minds, cannot but be viewed as far more sacred than mere things of property. It is a mental creation, or rather the discovery of a principle or thing never before known to the world, and may be, and very many inventions have been, often productive of countless blessings to the human family, affecting their destinies as individuals and as communities through all time. When the wonderful discoveries of a Watt, a Fulton, a Whitney, and an Arkwright, and the great results to individuals and to nations which have followed from them, are contemplated, it is not difficult to realize the value of the splendid gifts which science, through their instrumentality, has bestowed upon man, nor to estimate the claims which the true inventor has upon society. He may truly be called the pioneer of civilization, the explorer of the unknown world of science and art. And yet how many of those truly great benefactors to their race have fallen victims to ingratitude and wrong, and gone down to their graves in penury and sorrow. The case of Eli Whitney, our countryman, the inventor of the cotton gin, is but one among innumerable instances in which the fruits of splendid genius have been wrested from its possessor by the unprincipled depredator upon patent rights. It is familiar to all that that great inventor, whose name stands out like a bright and lustrous star in the constellation of genius, was compelled to expend all the profits of his invention in fruitless efforts to protect it from infringement, and finally died a victim to debt and disappointment.
Many valuable inventions are now used in secret and kept from the world, on account of the impunity with which patent rights can be infringed, secrecy being a better protection to the inventor than the law.
These reflections are indulged in with a view to awaken to the public mind a proper estimate of the value of the toils and labors of the inventor, and of his claims to full and effectual protection in the enjoyment of the fruits of his genius and skill, and to enforce with more emphasis the suggestions which I deem it my duty to submit in relation to such amendments of the law as may be necessary for the security of the rights of inventors. The principles difficulties which the patentee has to encounter, under the present laws, in enforcing his rights, arise from two circumstances; first, from the fact that the question of originality may be raised on every trial for infringement; and, secondly, the almost total inefficacy of the existing law to prevent infringement.
In every application, the question of the originality of the invention is thoroughly investigated by the Patent Office; and as it is decided affirmatively or negatively, the patent is issued or denied. If the patent is granted, it is very properly (as the office cannot claim infallibility) deemed by the law only prima facie evidence of the originality of the invention, and of the right of the patentee to recover damages for an infringement of his claim. Yet there should be some point at which this question should be deemed as conclusively settled, and the right of the patentee to recover made absolute, or the patent declared to be a nullity. Yet, under the existing laws, such is not the fact; and although the question of originality may have been decided by twenty juries, in as many different trials, it is just as much open to dispute in all subsequent trials.
This difficulty in the way of the patentee to recover for infringements, in cases in which the invention is a very valuable one, and the infringer a wealthy corporation, amounts almost to an insuperable one, as he is kept in the law, and harassed by litigation, until the term for which his patent runs, expires; and he is left without adequate remuneration for his invention, and sometimes made poorer than when he commenced the fruitless attempt to vindicate his rights by an appeal to the law for redress.
In view of the inefficiency of the existing enactments upon the subject, to protect the inventor, I have deemed it my duty to recommend that the law should be so amended as to provide some process for the repeal of a patent within a limited period of time after it shall have been issued, in which all matters tending to invalidate it should be considered and forever settled.
The validity of the patent should be called in question only in this proceeding against itself; but in all suits by the patentee for infringements, the patent should be deemed conclusive evidence of his right to recover damages. Were such a provision incorporated into the law, it would compel all persons contesting the validity of a patent, to proceed in the first instance against the patent itself, in order to set it aside. And the courts would be relieved from an immense mass of litigation growing out of the disputed claims of patentees, and the patentees would not be subjected to the tedious and costly process of vindicating their claims to the invention patented, in every suit which they might institute for its infringement.
This proceeding against the patent itself, with the view of procuring its repeal, is not new in the legislation of other nations. It has for many years been the law of France, and has been found to operate beneficially, as well to patentees as to parties interested in the repeal of patents.
If it should be deemed expedient to engraft upon the present system a provision for the repeal of patents which may be invalid for any cause, the wisdom of Congress will devise such amendments to the existing laws as may be deemed necessary to effect the purpose.
In connection with this subject, it may not be inappropriate to remark, that in all trials in which the validity of a patent may be involved the court should be aided by the counsel of persons learned and experienced in the art to which the patent relates. And particularly would this be expedient if Congress were to authorize a proceeding against the patent itself, for the purpose of effecting its repeal. The tribunal before which the question should come should be constituted in part of persons learned in the art or science to which the patent relates.
Another obstacle in the way of full enjoyment, by the patentee, of the benefits of his invention, and which I have before alluded to, is the almost total inadequacy of the existing provisions of the law to protect him against infringement upon his rights.
By the 14th section of the act of July 4, 1836, courts are authorized to treble the damages awarded to the plaintiff by the jury, in the discretion. If this provision could be administered according to its true spirit and intent, it would probably afford adequate protection to the patentee. But long experience has shown it to be practically inoperative.
In the first place, juries, aware that their verdicts may be trebled by the court, sometimes take that circumstance into consideration in making them up, and do not award so high an amount of damages as they would if they were not conscious that their decision could be revised by the court; and courts, too, are reluctant in taking the responsibility of increasing the damages awarded by the jury.
Again: irresponsible persons are employed by others, who have adequate means to respond, to depredate upon the rights of the patentee, who has no remedy except against the ostensible perpetrator of the wrong, and against whom a verdict would be utterly valueless. It is not an uncommon practice for one person possessing capital to furnish to another, who has none, the means to manufacture an article protected by a patent; thus screening himself from the consequence of a prosecution, while he enjoys all the profits resulting from the trespass.
Machines protected by a patent are also operated in secret; and as the patentee has no legal power to enter upon the premises of another to ascertain whether or not his rights are invaded, and courts, upon trials, have not the authority to cause a view to be had of the machine and manufacture thus carried out in secret, the patentee is left, in such cases, entirely without redress.
To remedy these defects in the patent laws, and to afford to the inventor that full and complete protection which the law designed he should have, it is believed that the following additional provisions would be effectual, namely: that on all trials for the infringement of the patent, the question whether or not the infringement was knowingly and willfully committed should be left to the jury; and if they should find in the affirmative, in addition to the damages which they may award, the courts should order that all the goods protected by the patent, together with the machines by which they shall have been manufactured, shall be forfeited to the use of the patentee, and the defendant be mulcted in double costs. This remedy, it is believed, would be much more efficacious than the existing one. Perhaps it would be expedient to add, by way of penalty, imprisonment on refusal to respond damages.
And in all cases where it is believed that machines are operated in secret, courts should be authorized to cause an examination of the premises, in order to ascertain whether or not the use of the machine is an infringement on the rights of the patentee.
By the 11th section of the act of July 4, 1836, the Commissioner was directed to charge the sum of three dollars for each assignment recorded in the Patent Office. This provision of the act of 1836 was repealed by the 8th section of the act of March 3d, 1839, and now nothing is required for recording assignments. Since the passage of the last mentioned act, the number of assignments sent to the office to be recorded has multiplied so much as to require all the time of one clerk, and part of that of another, in recording and comparing them. During the year 1845, the office received 2,108 assignments, and for recording the same it paid out the sum of $1,018.95 for temporary clerks, besides appropriating more than one half of the time of one of the permanent clerks in reading and comparing the originals with the record.
As more than three-fourths of these assignments are sent to the office by speculators in patent rights, they should not subject the Patent Fund to be charged with the expense of recording them. This portion of the duties of the office is daily increasing; and it is believed that it would not be deemed unreasonable to require some return to the office, by way of a small duty, for each assignment sent to it for record.
The law now requires the payment of a duty of twenty dollars on the filing of each caveat. As this proceeding entitles the caveator merely to notice of all subsequent applications interfering with his invention, the duty is too high in proportion to the benefit derived from the caveat. Besides, there are many persons who have made valuable improvements in the arts which they are willing to bestow upon the world, but do not wish that other persons should obtain patents for things which they have not been the first to invent, or have not invented at all, and who would secure their use to the public by depositing in the Patent Office a caveat containing a description of the invention, if the duty were not so high. It is, therefore, suggested that a duty of ten dollars on the filing of each caveat, without permitting it to become, as now, a part of the patent fee, if it should be subsequently converted into an application, would be equally productive to the revenues of the office, and would also result in much benefit to the public.
The board provided by law to decide upon applications for the extension of patents is composed of the Secretary of State, the Solicitor of the Treasury, and the Commissioner of Patents. The very arduous duties required of the two officers first named, appertaining to their respective offices, render it very inconvenient for them to attend to the sometimes long and tedious examinations necessary in cases of applications for extensions. A board, composed of the Commissioner and the principal examiners, would, from the nature of their present duties, in the belief of the undersigned, be more appropriate; and it is suggested if it would not be expedient to abolish the present board, and transfer its duties to the Commissioner and examiners.
As an efficient performance of the duties of the Patent Office requires the extensive use of scientific works, many of which can only be obtained in foreign countries at considerable expense, the usual appropriation will be required for that branch of the office. I have found the library belonging to the office to be deficient in many valuable works, which the experience of the office has found to be very necessary, many of which are of a costly character, and cannot be obtained with the sum which may be left of the usual appropriation, after paying for the current periodical works and publications taken by the office.
As the office is now an unprecedentedly flourishing condition, its revenues greatly exceeding its expenditures, it may be deemed expedient by Congress to make a more liberal appropriation for the library than has been heretofore made.
An increase in the library, at present very incomplete, will contribute to the convenience of the scientific corps of the office, and give them increased facilities for the discharge of their duties, and is even more important to the inventors, to decide correctly upon whose interests it is very necessary that the office should know what has been done in foreign countries; a knowledge of which it can derive only by scientific works published abroad.
In most of the foreign countries in which rapid advancement is making in the arts, publications are from time to time made of new inventions, containing both descriptions and drawings, which area found not only to be of very great benefit to inventors and to the public, but which have been the means of rendering essential aid to the operations of this office. In this country there has been no such provision for the publication of patents; and consequently, for want of the information which such a work would give to inventors, machines and processes of manufacture are invented over and over again, to be as often rejected at the Patent Office, for want of novelty. In addition to the disappointment and mortification which applicants under such circumstances suffer, they often incur large expenditures in perfecting their inventions, and in their efforts to procure patents for them. Whereas, if descriptions of the new patents issued were once a year, or oftener, published, both the disappointment and expense of applicants would be avoided, and the office itself relieved of the labor and trouble of examining inventions which had long before been introduced into public use.
As this office is now in the possession of ample means, which are likely to be increased by its continually growing business, I would respectfully renew the recommendation made by my predecessor in his last report, that the Commissioner be authorized to subscribe for a thousand copies of some well-established scientific publication, on the condition that it should contain quarterly (or oftener) descriptions and drawings of all new inventions patented during the year, which the Commissioner might deem it expedient to cause to be published.
The report upon agriculture for the year 1845, hereto annexed, and marked J, will be found to contain a large mass of matter valuable and interesting to the scientific as well as the practical agriculturist.
It will be perceived, from the review of the season which it contains, that, as a general fact, the crops have not equalled in quantity those of the preceding year. While the wheat crop has exceeded in amount the product of former years, almost all other important crops of the country have fallen short. That is pre-eminently the case with the potato and hay crops of the northern and middle States, and of the corn crop in many of the southern States. The result is to be attributed to the cold and dry weather which prevailed in the northern and eastern States in the early part of the season, and in the middle and southern States in the summer. But, while some of the States have suffered from the causes just mentioned, others have been more favored than ever; and, on the whole, we have reason for gratitude to the Giver of all good, for the munificent abundance which he has bestowed upon our favored country during the last year.
The great range of latitude through which our country extends, commencing midway in the temperate zone and extending to the tropics, and embracing almost every variety of soil and climate, secures to us, for our own consumption, a sufficiency of nearly every description of product which can minister to necessity or luxury, besides furnishing a large surplus of many valuable products for exportation to foreign countries, the returns of which, in the productions of the labor and capital of other nations, add to our individual enjoyment and increase our national wealth.
In truth, our agricultural products form the basis of our immense foreign commerce, thus constituting the strongest ligaments which unite us to the great brotherhood of nations; contributing not only to our national wealth, but to the cultivation of amity and peace in our foreign relations, and to the progress of civilization at home. In view of these beneficent influences, which have their origin in this great arm of our national industry, its flourishing condition cannot but be satisfactory and encouraging to the true patriot.
The report of this year will show that this great branch of national industry is not only extending with the rapidly increasing number of our population, but that agriculturists themselves are awakening to a consciousness of the importance of their noble avocation, and are calling science to their assistance in their efforts to improve.
In the analysis of soils, products, manures, and the food of cattle and other stock, chemistry has already conferred immense benefits upon the agriculturist. His genius adds its splendid gifts to the rich charities of science, as will be seen by the numerous and valuable machines which have been devised and constructed to relieve the toils and facilitate the labors of the husbandman. The names of Eli Whitney, the inventor of the cotton gin, and Jethro Wood, the inventor of the cast-plough, will be ranked among the greatest of benefactors while man is doomed to earn his daily bread by the sweat of his brow.
In this branch of my labors I have been aided by the contributions of many distinguished friends of agriculture, whose communications will be found in the appendix to the agricultural report. And, among others, I have received several valuable papers collected by my late predecessor, the Hon. H.L. Ellsworth, and one from his own pen, relating to prairie cultivation, which will be found very interesting, and to which I would particularly refer, as containing much valuable knowledge derived from experience upon a subject of great interest to the government as well as to individuals.
Among other valuable papers furnished by Mr. Ellsworth, is a translation of an abridged French treatise upon the cultivation of the colza plant, by J.W.P. Lewis, Esq., of Boston. The colza is a species of the cabbage, and is cultivated in France for its seed [rapeseed KWD], which contains extraordinary oleaginous properties, and from which large quantities of oil are manufactured, of a quality for lights nearly equal to the best sperm, and which is now used in the different light-houses of that kingdom. Through the aid of Mr. Lewis, Mr. Ellsworth has also favored the office with a small quantity of the seed of both the summer and winter colza, which has been distributed to members of Congress.
The potato disease, which has made such ravages in this country and in Europe during the last two years, has formed a prominent subject of careful investigation, the results of which will also be found in the agricultural report, together with many valuable papers relating to that subject.
Of the last appropriation for agricultural purposes, I have expended nearly $1,000 for seeds of various kinds, and for preparing them for distribution, samples of each of which have been distributed to members of Congress. The number of packages distributed this year will exceed 50,000.
When it is considered that only $3,000 is appropriated for agricultural purposes, and one-third of that sum is appropriated for seeds, and much of the remainder expended for the mere copying of the report, it may justly be deemed a matter of surprise that such a mass of interesting matter has been collected and embodied as will be found in the agricultural report of this year.
It has been accomplished only by the most rigidly careful expenditure of the fund placed at the disposal of the Commissioner. In discharging this part of my duty, I have severely felt the want of sufficient means to collect important information for the purpose. And I am compelled to acknowledge, that without the kind and generous contributions of intelligent citizens devoted to the interests of agriculture, it would be impossible for this office to collect and to lay before the country so many interesting facts, and so much valuable information, in relation to the interests of this great and paramount branch of national industry.
If the Commissioner were provided with more ample means, the theatre of his operations in this branch of his duty could be greatly extended. At present the office has no means for making inquiry into the improvements of agriculture in foreign countries, nor for collecting rare and valuable seeds abroad. I am gratified in having it in my power to state that our consuls and other agents residing in foreign countries, evince great willingness to aid this office in its efforts to advance our agricultural interests at home, by the collection of valuable information and seeds in the countries in which they reside; but I have not been able to avail myself of the services of gentlemen holding official stations abroad, proffered in numerous instances, for want of the necessary means to defray the expenses of the purchase of seeds and their conveyance to this country; and thus are our agriculturists not only deprived of an early knowledge of the advance of the science of agriculture in other countries, but also of seeds which, in our extended country, would find a soil and climate congenial to their nature and habits, and would add much to the elements of national wealth.
During the present year, I have availed myself of the services of a very intelligent gentleman, formerly connected with this office, and now travelling in Europe, in collecting agricultural information in the different countries which he may visit. Those services were voluntarily tendered. If compensation had been required, I of course could not have availed myself of the services of the gentleman referred to, because I have not the means to meet the demand. Two valuable communications have already been received from that gentleman, which will be found in the appendix to the agricultural report, and much more is expected, which may not arrive in season for the present report.
When it is considered that much of the legislation of Congress, and millions of the treasure of the nation, are devoted, in one form and another, for the protection of manufactures, commerce, and other interests, it would not seem unreasonable if a few thousands should be annually appropriated for the promotion and advancement of that greatest and most essential of all the interests of the country -- the agricultural. The farmers themselves, while they cheerfully pay the millions of taxes demanded of them for the support of other interests, would not complain a few thousands were added to their burdens for the promotion of their own.
If Congress should come to the conclusion to increase the means at the disposal of the Commissioner for the purpose above suggested, it would enable him not only to add much to the value and usefulness of the agricultural report, but to add new varieties to the different grain and vegetable crops now produced in the country.
In connection with this subject, I deem it proper to remark that the sum now annually appropriated for agricultural purposes is taken from the Patent Fund, all of which has been paid into the treasury by the inventors, and which has been set apart by law for the promotion of the useful arts; and for the benefit of that class of citizens from whom it has been collected. They justly complain of this misapplication of the Patent Fund, and demand that it shall be appropriated to the increase of the efficiency of the Patent Office. I concur entirely in the justice of their complaints, and respectfully submit if it would not be expedient to apply the revenues of the office to the increase of its force, and to the objects to which, in a preceding part of this report, I have called to the attention of Congress, and make the necessary appropriation for agriculture from other moneys in the treasury.
It was suggested in the last annual report of my predecessor that provision should be made for a permanent clerk, to aid in procuring the statistical information for the agricultural report. In the discharge of my duties in connection with the subject, I have found that the services of a competent clerk are greatly needed. The numerous other duties devolving upon the Commissioner render it physically impossible for him to attend entirely to this portion of the business of the office, and he is obliged to require the labors of the regularly employed clerks in that department. It requires nearly the entire time of one clerk to read the domestic and foreign publications on agriculture, in order to make the necessary selections of matter for the report; and those services, which require sound discrimination and judgment, are paid for out of the sum placed at the disposal of the Commissioner for agricultural purposes, in the expenditure of which he has a very general discretion. Translations from foreign publications and works are also required, which are paid for out of the general agricultural fund.
It is therefore submitted if it would not be expedient to establish a permanent clerkship connected with the agricultural duties of the office, the salary of which should be adequate to command the services of a person skilled in statistics, and acquainted with foreign languages. It might be taken from the general sum appropriated for agricultural purposes, and would not add to the expenses of that branch of the office.
The object of the report on agriculture is to show the general progress of that branch of national industry, and the particular amount of agricultural products, so far as it is possible for the Commissioner, with the limited means at his command, to approximate to exactness and precision in his estimate of the crops.
In procuring materials for the report, he is compelled to rely on agricultural publications, the voluntary contributions of intelligent and public spirited citizens, and the returns which he solicits from members of Congress. The means which he possesses for procuring accurate and reliable information are, therefore, very limited. With suitable legislation on the part of the several States of the Union, they might be made ample. If the legislature of each State were to require returns to be made annually of all its agricultural products, the results of which to be transmitted to the Patent Office, the Commissioner could furnish to the country, each year, a full and complete view of its agricultural products, and of the general progress of that branch of national industry. This information could be very readily obtained through the medium of the assessors of the taxes in the several towns and districts of a State.
Some of the States now require returns of the kind to be made by their assessors at certain periods. Much assistance in making up the agricultural report for the last year has been derived from the returns of the late census of the State of New York.
It is, therefore, hoped that the legislatures of the different States will turn their attention to this subject, and make provision for the collection of the statistics of all branches of industry, and direct the information thus obtained to be communicated to this office.
In addition to other useful matter, I have appended to the agricultural report the annual reports of the Liverpool cotton, corn, tobacco, provision and wool markets, for 1845, together with tables showing the importation, exportation, and consumption, and manufacture of cotton in Great Britain, for a series of years. The statistical information which the tables furnish will be interesting to one section of the agricultural interest, and useful to the statesman and legislator.
As the Patent Office is now regarded as the general head and representative of the useful arts and the industrial interests of the country, it might be employed in collecting the statistics of all the great branches of national industry -- agricultural, manufacturing, commercial, and mining.
Without knowledge of this character a nation knows but little of its capacity, its resources, or its power; nor without it can the legislator perform his duties, in relation to the great interests of his country, with that sound wisdom and judgment which the importance of his position and the consequences of his official action, good or evil, demand.
In almost every enlightened nation great attention is paid to the procuring of the most copious statistics in relation to all its interests. In this country, it must be confessed, they are comparatively very meager.
With suitable action on the part of Congress, aided by the co-operation of the several States, this desideratum might be supplied, and the mighty resources of our country become known as they are developed.
In the absence of the action of Congress and the State legislatures upon the subject, it is desirable that voluntary associations of citizens should be formed in the several States and districts of the Union, with a view to the collection of statistical knowledge of all kinds. Much might be gathered in this way, and embodied for public use in the annual reports of this office. Already numerous agricultural societies and clubs have been formed in different portions of the Union, from whose labors and efforts this office has derived much assistance. Their efficiency and usefulness would be increased in proportion to their numbers, and the judgment and energy with which they should pursue the purposes for which they may be instituted.
The great hall of the Patent Office, known as the national gallery, was designed for the exhibition of works of art, new and curious machines, unpatented as well as patented, and specimens of the manufactured fabrics and articles of this country. At present this design is partially frustrated, by the occupation of the room as a place of deposit for the valuable and interesting specimens of natural history brought home by the exploring expedition.
It is not recommended, nor desired, that those specimens should be removed. On the contrary, it is believed to be best that they should remain in the Patent Office, as they increase the interest of visitors to this noble institution of our government, and extort admiration from those coming from foreign countries. By the latter, the Patent Office, with its rich and varied contents, is justly deemed an honor to the republic.
But, if Congress should deem it expedient to increase the Patent Office building, by erecting one or both of the wings contemplated in the original plan, there would be sufficient room for the exhibition of valuable specimens of manufactured fabrics and mechanical ingenuity. And I cannot doubt that the ample room which would be provided for them would be speedily filled by the choicest specimens of the skill of our ingenious artisans. Such a collection would be as honorable to the nation, as it would be creditable to those who produced them.
All which is respectfully submitted.
Commissioner of Patents
Hon. John W. Davis
Speaker of the House of Representatives
Statement of receipts for patents, caveats, disclaimers,
improvements, and certified copies, in 1845
Amount received for patents, caveats,
disclaimers, and improvements $49,700.00
Amount received for copies 1,376.14
Deduct paid on withdrawals, and money
paid by mistake refunded 8,223.33
Statement of expenditures and payments made from the Patent Fund,
by the Commissioner of Patents, from January 1 to December 31,
1845, inclusive, under the act of March 3, 1829
For salaries $15,545.20
For temporary clerks 4,097.09
For contingent expenses 8,224.58
For compensation of district judge 100.00
For the library 813.04
For agricultural statistics 2,392.41
Leaving a net balance to the credit
of the Patent Fund of $11,680.49
Statement of expenditures on the restoration of the Patent
Office, under the act of March 3, 1837
For restoring the records and drawings $2,938.75
For duplicate models, etc. 593.58
Statement showing the operations of the Patent Office for the
years 1840, 1841, 1842, 1843, 1844, and 1845
Year No of No of No. of No of Amt recd for Amt recd for
applns caveats pats iss pats exp pat fees office copies
1840 765 228 475 321 $37,575.00 $481.51
1841 817 312 495 327 40,413.01 *
1842 761 291 545 352 35,790.96 714.67
1843 819 315 531 446 33,913.53 1,402.28
1844 1,045 380 502 539 41,220.06 1,289.20
1845 1,246 452 511 470 49,700.00 1,376.12
_____ _____ _____ _____ __________ ________
Totals 5,483 1,978 3,059 2,455 238,612.56 5,263.78
Year Amount paid Ordinary Amount paid Excess of receipts
on expenses on restored over the ordinary
withdrawals models and expenditures and
1840 $7,173.31 $29,982.54 $7,864.91 $900.75
1841 9,083.50 23,065.87 20,507.70 8,253.84
1842 8,068.95 23.154.48 14,060.02 5,292.20
1843 6,026.66 24,750.30 4,586.93 4,588.85
1844 10,040.04 26,304.04 2,822.66 6,164.79
1845 8,223.33 31.172.32 3,532.33 11,680.49
________ _________ ________ _________
48,625.79 158,429.95 53,374.55 36,880.92
* The fees for copies in 1841 are embraced in the amount received
for patent fees during that year.
Note -- The expenditures for the restoration of models,
specifications, etc., lost by the fire in December 1836 is
authorized by the 4th section of the act of March 3, 1837, which
limits the sum to be expended for that purpose to $100,000. The
expenditures under that provision of the act referred to are not,
therefore, included in the ordinary current expenditures of the
Statement showing the receipts from patent and other fees, and
the payments for salaries and the contingent expenses of the
Patent Office, from its commencement to June 30, 1845
For salaries Contingencies.
and recording books,fixtures
patents and repairs &
For patent fees to
Dec 31, 1828, as per
to the Secretary of
September 16 1829 $157,110.00 $62,654.73 *$17,808.10
For other fees 3,549.37
In 1829 12,990.00 4,130.55 3,000.00
In 1830 16,350.00 4,300.00 4,630.42
In 1831 17,280.00 5,388.85 1,890.00
In 1832 14,160.00 15,400.00 1,500.00
In 1833 17,730.00 6,850.02 2,175.00
In 1834 23,160.00 8,857.03 2,175.00
In 1835 28,320.00 5,375.13 1,500.00
To July 4, 1836 17,100.00 2,758.04 2,000.00
* Exclusive of contingent expenses prior to January 1, 1814; the
amount of which could not be ascertained, the accounts having
been lost when the public buildings were burned in 1814.
E -- Continued
Fund For salaries Contingencies.
and recording books,fixtures
patents and repairs &
Amount to July 4,
the patent fund, per
act of March 2, 1837 $307,749.37
Receipts from July
4 to Dec 31, 1836 14,579.58 $5,300.00 $2,300.00
In 1837 28,901.08 13,400.00 7,500.00
In 1838 41,490.45 12,500.00 8,100.00
In 1839 39,061.95 16,735.00 9,159.22
In 1840 38,405.39 18,163.51 2,500.00
In 1841 33,938.76 18,764.82 5,312.38
In 1842 35.670.40 19,359.00 6,800.00
To June 30, 1843 16,390.40 9,675.00 3,750.00
In the year ending
June 30, 1844 39,145.19 19,450.00 6,950.00
In the year ending
June 30, 1845 48.472.44 18,824.71 8,297.87
___________ __________ __________
643,805.57 152,163.04 60,969.47
Restoring models Withdrawing Total
and records, applications
drawings,etc. for patents
of money paid
Receipts from July
4 to Dec 31, 1836 --- $540.00 $8,440.00
In 1837 $17,950.00 3,180.00 42,030.00
In 1838 11,337.00 3,020.00 34,957.00
In 1839 8,100.00 6,409.99 40,404.21
In 1840 6,880.00 7,733.31 35,316.82
In 1841 18,019.59 10,753.33 52,850.12
In 1842 14,570.00 6,500.00 47,220.00
To June 30, 1843 3,000.00 3,500.00 19,925.00
In the year ending
June 30, 1844 4,250.00 8,703.28 39,353.28
In the year ending
June 30, 1845 4,680.47 7,995.02 39,798.07
___________ _________ __________
88,787.06 58,374.93 360.294.50
Balance to the credit of the patent fund
July 1, 1845 $175,511.07
Amount of the patent fund receipts to
June 30, 1845, as above stated $643,805.57
Appropriated out of this fund and paid
for the building $108,000.00
Total payments for salaries
contingencies, etc., as above 360,294.50
Balance to the credit of the fund
July 1, 1845 175,511.07
Treasury Department, Register's Office,
September 1, 1845
R.H. Gillet, Register
Note -- The receipts and payments on account of the Patent
Office, from June 30, 1845 to Dec 31, inclusive, not included in
the statement above, have been as follows, viz:
On applications for patents $26,420.00
For copies 858.67
For salaries $8,153.21
For temporary clerks 2,289.85
For contingent expenses 4,165.72
For agricultural statistics 747.55
For library 686.04
For records, drawings and models 257.68
For withdrawals and money paid by mistake 4,030.00
Amount of the patent fund unexpended June 30, 1845 175,511.07
Balance to the credit of the patent fund Jan 1, 1846 182,459.69
Estimate of the expense of constructing the two wings of the
Patent Office building, by Robert Mills, Esq.
Sir: Agreeable to your request, I have the honor to make the
following statement in relation to the plans submitted for your
consideration of the proposed additions to the Patent Office
1st. On the estimates -- the east and west wings, each 100
feet deep, and 70 feet front, made thoroughly fire-proof, and to
correspond in their architecture and material with the present
building, will cost $150,000
Or the west wing, which has an extra story $80,000
The east wing 70,000
The accommodations provided in the west wing will be --
1. A roomy cellar under the basement story;
2. A large room for a lecture hall, 94 feet long, 64 feet
wide, and 15 feet high;
3. A spacious model room above this, on a level with the
portico floor, of the same size;
4. A similar sized room above this, with a gallery running
all around the whole height of the roof, which will furnish an
uninterrupted surface of wall of equal extent, for the exhibition
of paintings, lighted from above.
The east wing will furnish the same accommodations, save the
Entrances are provided to each wing from 7th and 9th streets,
and stairways to ascend to the upper stories, without having to
use the main entrance and stairway.
If an early appropriation could be obtained for the execution
of either or both of these wings, one or both could be put under
roof before the working season closed.
Robert Mills, Architect
Hon. Ed. Burke
Commissioner of Patents
[At this point the annual report includes reports from the two examiners]
Report of Charles G. Page, examiner, etc.
Patent Office, January, 1846
Sir: In conformity with your requisition, I have the honor herewith to submit the following notice of inventions patented during the past year.
Since the commencement of the year 1845, the whole number of applications presented to the office is 1246. Of these, 729 have been apportioned to me for examination; 291 of the 729 have been patented; the remainder have either been rejected or are still pending, waiting final examination. ...
[An engraved facsimile is included of a typed letter (dated Norwich 8 February 1846) from Charles Thurber to his patent attorneys Keller & Greenough of Washington, D.C.]
A very elaborate machine for writing has been patented .... The object of the invention is to furnish to those who are unable to write, the means of writing, by sitting before a set of keys, the mere touching of which immediately causes the corresponding letter to be written upon a sheet of paper. ...
Report of W.P.N. Fitzgerald
Sir: In compliance with your directions, I submit the following report upon the progress of inventions during the last year, so far as they have come under my observation in classes committed to my charge. I should follow the example of my predecessor, and extend my report to important inventions made in foreign countries; but my duties have been so heavy and pressing during the year, that it has been impossible ....
In the first report made by my predecessor, a historical sketch was given of the progress of the arts from their infancy to the high degree of maturity and perfection when then characterized them .... This report emanated from one of the master minds in the arts, and it would be a work of supererogation to reoccupy the field so ably explored by him.,,,
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