History of the United States Patent Office
The Patent Office Pony
A History of the Early Patent Office
Introductory material, table of contents, acknowledgements

[Title Page illustration: Pony Head in patented bridle]

Kenneth W. Dobyns

Your Guide

This book honors all of those employees of the U.S. Patent Office, who, over the past two hundred and some years, have in their own respective ways ridden the Patent Office Pony, and especially Pasquale J. "Pat" Federico, who would not let us forget.

Copyright © 1994
Kenneth W. Dobyns


Many people and organizations assisted in the preparation of this book. The vast majority of the information came from the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and the collections of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Copies of many of the illustrations used herein were provided by James Davie of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Additional information has been provided by (in no particular order) the Library of the Historical Society of Washington, DC; the Libraries of the Smithsonian Institution in the National Portrait Gallery and the National Museum of American History; the Washingtoniana Room of the Martin Luther King Library (DC); the Library of the British Patent Office; the Maryland Historical Society Library; the Library of the Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond, VA; the Virginia State Library; the Arlington (VA) Public Library; the New Bern (NC) Public Library; the New York Public Library; the New Orleans Public Library; the Bristol (CT) Public Library; the Pratt Library, Baltimore, MD; the DAR Library; the Scientific American Library; the Court Clerk of Montgomery Co. MD; Brian and Jenny Morse of Medford, OR; the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County; Cincinnati Historical Society; Archives of the University of Cincinnati; the Constantine (MI) Township Library; Patricia Sluby, Norma Rose, and Ken Dood, all of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; Mrs. Noble G. Marshall of Roanoke, VA; the Ellsworth Homestead, Windsor, CT; Donna Siemiatkoski of Windsor, CT; Stephen Loewentheil of Baltimore, MD; Edward G. Fenwick Jr. of Arlington, VA; San Jose (CA) Public Library; Archives of the George Washington University; Archives of Howard University; Clarksville-Montgomery Co (TN) Public Library; the Maine State Library; Library of the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, MA; John S. Howkins of Baton Rouge, LA; Mrs. William B. Huger of Asheville, NC; and John Smith of no fixed address.

Special thanks are due to my panel of reviewers for their thorough readings of various versions of this book in an attempt to minimize my mistakes. They are, in alphabetical order, Louis Allahut, William T. Bryant, Edward J. Connors Jr., Kenneth W. Hairston, and William Cecil Townsend.


Prologue -- The Centennial Celebration [original page 1]

One -- Protection of Inventors Before America Was Involved [original page 5]

Two -- Invention Comes to British Colonial America [original page 11]

Three -- Independent America Explores Invention [original page 14]

Four -- To Promote the Progress of the Useful Arts [original page 17]

Five -- The First U.S. Patent Statute [original page 21]

Musical Interlude -- When Art and Genius Are Combined [original page 30]

Six -- The Patent Law of 1793 [original page 35]

Seven -- The Government Moves to Washington [original page 39]

Eight -- Dr. Thornton Takes Charge [original page 42]

Nine -- The Feud between Dr. Thornton and Robert Fulton [original page 50]

Ten -- The Patent Office Finds a Home of Its Own [original page 58]

Eleven -- Dr. Thornton Saves Blodgett's Hotel from British [original page 64]

Twelve -- The Rest of Dr. Thornton's Tenure [original page 68]

Thirteen -- Superintendent Thomas P. Jones, M.D. [original page 80]

Fourteen -- Superintendent John D. Craig Inspires Protest [original page 84]

Fifteen -- The Old Order Prepares To Change [original page 91]

Sixteen -- 1836 at the Patent Office -- The Best of Years [original page 95]

Seventeen -- . . . And Also the Worst of Years [original page 105]

Eighteen -- The New Order in Charge at the Patent Office [original page 110]

Nineteen -- What Hath God Wrought [original page 118]

Twenty -- Last Years under the State Department [original page 121]

Twenty-One -- The Great Patent Office Jewel Robbery [original page 125]

Twenty-Two -- The Most Successful Patent Law Firm Ever [original page 129]

Twenty-Three -- Commissioner Thomas Ewbank, Historian [original page 132]

Interlude for Fiction -- A Scene in the Patent Office [original page 135]

Twenty-Four -- Judge Charles Mason's Patent Office [original page 142]

Twenty-Five -- Antebellum [original page 150]

Twenty-Six -- The Union Patent Office [original page 156]

Twenty-Seven -- The Confederate Patent Office [original page 167]

Twenty-Eight -- Last of the Little Patent Office [original page 171]

Twenty-Nine -- The Patent Office Begins To Look Modern [original page 178]

Thirty -- The Second Patent Office Fire [original page 184]

Thirty-One -- The End of the First Century of the Patent Office [original page 193]

Epilogue -- Fast Forward to the Start of the Third Century [original page 200]

Appendix -- Some Civil War Era Patents [original page 207]

Sources and Annotations [original page 227]

Index [original page 244]

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