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sense of the term, and a very laborious and responsible duty imposed upon this office. In aid of the solution of the question of novelty, thus raised on every application, the applicant was required to furnish a full and clear description of his invention, signed, witnessed, and verified by his oath, accompanied by a model and drawings of the same; all being deemed necessary in order to illustrate his claim to a patent. Furnished with these illustrations, the office was then required to go into a rigorous and extended examination, taking in the whole range of history on the given subject, whether its evidences were to be found in patents granted, caveats filed, or descriptions published, in this or in any foreign country, in any period of time.

In the conduct of these examinations, it is necessary to keep in constant and laborious employment a number of persons specially selected for their knowledge and skill in the arts; to refer with guarded care to caveats filed in the secret archives of the office, and which can only come into view on such occasions; to patents already granted, and to such works on the arts as have been published here or elsewhere; and also to keep pace with the current of invention throughout the world, by a constant and copious supply of such publications, in this country and in Europe, as are devoted to this object.

It will readily be seen that this office cannot undertake to respond to the numerous inquiries CONSTANTLY addressed to it, whether such or such an invention is new, and whether a patent can be obtained for it; because every such inquiry involves the whole question of novelty; and before the office could express, or even form, an opinion, the same range of rigorous examination now required by law on a regular application would be necessary, and this, too, without illustration. Such inquiries are based on very imperfect general descriptions; while, in applications for patents, the law requires that the office shall have the aid, not only of clear and full description, under oath, but also accurate drawings and models, before it shall decide the question whether, in any given case, the invention be new, &c. The attempt to answer such interrogatories would effectually interrupt the business of the office, and be a direct infringement on the rights of those who apply for patents, as the examinations of their applications must necessarily be suspended; moreover, it would be prejudging cases, and be a violation of law.

There is another class of inquiries which, for the reasons above enumerated, cannot meet with a response from this office, viz: inquiries founded upon brief and imperfect descriptions, propounded with a view to ascertain whether such alleged improvements have been patented, and, if so, to whom; nor can the office respond to inquiries touching pending or rejected applications (unless they have been withdrawn) without the consent of the applicants in writing.

The office is frequently called upon to explain certain principles of Patent law, to give information as to modes of procedure in the protection of patents, and suits for infringements, and also as to the value of a patented invention, and upon a variety of topics concerning the rights of patentees and others. The office cannot act as counsellor for individuals, nor as an expounder of law, except in reference to questions arising within the office; and the extent of information that can be given in these cases, is to forward a copy of Patent laws and the usual printed official circular.

It is hoped that this information will prove satisfactory. It will be distinctly understood that, in declining to respond to the class of inquiries above stated, this office acts under the necessity of the case, and not from any disposition to Iwithhold information.

In presenting an application for a patent, much disappointment and delay will be avoided by attending to the following directions: 1st. The petition should be made to the Commissioner, praying that a patent may be granted for the invention. 2d. The specification should be filed, describing, as clearly and concisely as possible, the improvement made. 3d. The oath or affirmation

should be made to the originality of the invention. 4th. Drawings, when the nature of the case admits of them, should accompany the application. 5th. The model or specimen, as the case may be, clearly representing the improvement, should be deposited; and, 6th. The fee required by law should be paid, and in manner pointed out in section XVIII.

Owing to the great increase of business in this office, and in order to prevent all possibility of mistake as to the fact whether an application is complete, it has become necessary to put an end to the practice of receiving cases in detached portions at various times. It is now often the case that the fee is paid at one time, the papers forwarded at another, the drawing at a third, and the model delivered at still a different period. Long intervals are often suffered to elapse between each stage of the procedure, and it is necessary at each step to search the books of the office to ascertain what the party has done before. In the multitude of applications, this state of things leads to the expenditure of much time, and, in case of similarity of names of parties, or of the character of inventions, is liable to be a cause of error. I have, therefore, deemed it necessary to adopt the following rule, which will be enforced on and after May 1, 1850:

All the papers and the fee in each application must be filed in this office at the same time, whether they be delivered by the applicant or his agent, or forwarded by mail; and in those cases where the party or his agent is in this city, then the model must be delivered at the same time. If the party or his agent is not on the spot, the model can be forwarded at their convenience.

This office cannot refuse to receive such papers and fees as may be forwarded to it at different intervals, but parties who persist in such a course are warned that this office will, hereafter, not acknowledge the receipt of the same, nor hold itself responsible for any errors that may arise from such irregular proceedings.

Not until these requirements are faithfully and minutely fulfilled, according to the instructions hereafter given, can any case receive the action of the of fice.

1st. Of the petition.-The inventor, having made a useful invention of discovery, must make application, in writing, to the Commissioner, signifying his desire of obtaining an exclusive property therein, and praying that a patent may be granted therefor. The usual form is annexed. The petition must be signed by the applicant.



The petition of John Fitch, of Philadelphia, in the county of Philadelphia, and State of Pennsylvania


That your petitioner has invented a new and improved mode of preventing steam-boilers from bursting, which he verily believes has not been known or used prior to the invention thereof by your petitioner. He therefore prays that letters patent of the United States may be granted to him therefor, vesting in him and his legal representatives the exclusive right to the same, upon the terms and conditions expressed in the act of Congress in that case made and provided; he having paid thirty dollars into the treasury, and complied with the other provisions of the said act.


2d. Of the specification. He must then deliver a written description of his invention or discovery, and of the manner and process of making, constructing, using, and compounding the same, in such full, clear, and exact terms, avoiding unnecessary prolixity, as to enable any person skilled in the art or science to which it appertains, or with which it is most clearly connected, to make, construct, compound, and use the same; and in case of any machine, he shall fully explain the principle, and the several modes in which he has contemplated the application of that principle or character by which it may be distinguished from other inventions; and shall particularly specify and point out the part, improvement, or combination which he claims as his own invention or discovery.

It is important, in all cases, to have the specification describe the sections of the drawings, and refer by letters to the parts The following is the form. adopted by the office:


To all whom it may concern :

Be it known that I, John Fitch, of Philadelphia, in the county of Philadelphia, the State of Pennsylvania, have invented a new and improved mode of preventing steam-boilers from bursting, and I do hereby declare that the following is a full and exact description thereof, reference being had to the accompanying drawings, and to the letters of reference marked thereon.

The nature of my invention consists in providing the upper part of a steamboiler with an aperture in addition to that for the safety-valve; which aperture is to be closed by a plug or disk of alloy, which will fuse at any given degree of heat, and permit the steam to escape, should the safety-valve fail to perform its functions.

To enable others skilled in the art to make and use my invention, I will proceed to describe its construction and operation: I construct my steam-boiler in any of the known forms, and apply thereto gauge-cocks, a safety-valve, and the other appendages of such boilers; but, in order to obviate the danger arising from the adhesion of the safety-valve, and from other causes, I make a second opening in the top of the boiler similar to that made for the safetyvalve, as shown at A, in the accompanying drawing; and in this opening I insert a plug or disk of fusible alloy, securing it in its place by a metal ring and screws, or otherwise. This fusible metal I, in general, compose of a mixture of lead, tin, and bismuth, in such proportions as will insure its melting at a given temperature, which must be that to which it is intended to limit the steam, and will, of course, vary with the pressure the boiler is intended to sustain. I surround the opening containing the fusible alloy by a tube, B, intended to conduct off any steam which may be discharged therefrom. When the temperature of the steam, in such a boiler, rises to its assigned limit, the fusible alloy will melt, and allow the steam to escape freely, thereby securing it from all danger of explosion.

What I claim as my invention, and desire to secure by letters patent, is the application to steam-boilers of a fusible alloy, which will melt at a given temperature, and allow the steam to escape, as herein described, using for that purpose the aforesaid metallic compound, or any other substantially the same, and which will produce the intended effect.




When the application is for a machine, the specification should commence thus:


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in the county of

Be it known, that I, and State of have invented a new and useful machine for[stating the use and title of the machine; and if the application is for an improvement, it should read thus: a new and useful improvement on a, or on the, machine, &c.]—and I do hereby declare that the following is a full, clear, and exact description of the construction and operation of the same: reference being had to the annexed drawings, making a part of this specification, in which figure 1 is a perspective view, figure 2 a longitudinal elevation, figure 3 a transverse section, &c., (thus describing all the sections of the drawings, and then referring to the parts by letters. Then follows the description of the construction and operation of the machine, and ending with the claim, which should express the nature and character of the invention, and identify the parts claimed separately or in combination. If the specification is for an improvement, the original invention should be disclaimed, and the claim confined to the improvement.) The specification must be signed by the inventor.

3d. Of the oath or affirmation.—" Every inventor, before he can receive a patent, must make oath or affirmation that he does verily believe that he is the original and first inventor or discoverer of the art, machine, manufacture, composition, or improvement, for which he solicits a patent; and that he does not know or believe that the same was ever before known or used; and also of what country he is a citizen." In every case the oath or affidavit must be made before a person having general powers to administer oaths. Justices of the peace have not, in all cases, this general power.

The oath required from applicants for patents may be taken, when the applicant is not, for the time being, residing in the United States, before any minister plenipotentiary, chargé d'affairs, consul, or commercial agent holding commission under the government of the United States, or before any notary public of the foreign country in which such applicant may be.

If the applicant be an alien, and have resided one year in the United States next preceding the application, and have given legal notice of his intention to become a citizen of the United States, he must make oath to these facts before he can apply for a patent for the same fee as that paid by a citizen.

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185, before me, the subscriber, a

State of Pennsylvania,

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personally appeared the within named John Fitch, and made solemn oath [or affirmation] that he verily believes himself to be the original and first inventor of the mode herein described for preventing steam-boilers from bursting; and that he does not know or believe the same was ever before known or used; and that he is a citizen of the United States.


A. B.

An alien

A foreigner should make oath of what country he is a citizen. resident should make oath that he has resided in the United States one year next preceding his application for letters patent, and has made oath of his intention to become a citizen thereof.

4th. Of the Drawings.-The law requires that "the applicant for a patent shall accompany his application with drawings and written references, when

the nature of the case admits of drawings." These drawings should, in general, be in perspective, and neatly executed on sheets of drawing-paper; and such parts as cannot be shown in perspective must, if described, be represented in plans, sections, or details. Duplicates are required if a patent issues -one being attached to the patent, and the other placed on file in the office. An examination, as to originality of invention, may be made on a single drawing, when no agent is employed; but in all cases presented by agents or attorneys, duplicate drawings must be filed before any examination can be had. They must be signed by the patentee, and attested by two witnesses, except when the specification describes the sections or figures, and refers to the parts by letters; in which case they are neither required to be signed nor accompanied by written references, the whole making one instrument. Drawings are absolutely necessary when the case admits of them. They must be on separate sheets, distinct from the specification, and one at least must be made on stiff drawing-paper, in fast colors.

The Patent Office does not make original drawings to accompany applications for patent. It furnishes copies of the same only after the patent is completed. Draughtsmen in the city of Washington are always ready to make drawings at the expense of the patentees.

5th. Of the Model or Specimen.-Every application must be accompanied by a model when the invention admits of one. It must be neatly and substantially made, of durable material, and, if possible, not over one cubic foot in contents. In case models are made of pine, or other soft wood, they should be painted, stained, or varnished. The name of the inventor (and assignee, if assigned) must be printed or engraved upon or fixed to it in a durable


When the invention is of a "" composition of matter," the law requires that the application be accompanied with specimens of the ingredients, and of the composition of matter, sufficient in quantity for the purpose of experiment. Models and specimens forwarded without a name cannot be entered on record, and are therefore liable to be lost or mislaid.

Models, if deposited with any of the following agents, will be forwarded to the Patent Office free of expense:

The Collector of the port of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
The Collector of the port of Portland, Maine.

The Collector of the port of Burlington, Vermont.

The Collector of the port of Providence, Rhode Island.
The Collector of the port of Boston, Massachusetts.
The Collector of the port of Hartford, Connecticut.
The Collector of the port of New York.

The Collector of the port of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The Collector of the port of Baltimore, Maryland
The Collector of the port of Richmond, Virginia.
The Collector of the port of Charleston, South Carolina.
The Collector of the port of Savannah, Georgia.
The Collector of the port of New Orleans, Louisiana.
The Collector of the port of Detroit, Michigan.
The Collector of the port of Buffalo, New York.
The Surveyor at St. Louis, Missouri.

The Collector of the port of Cleveland, Ohio.

The Surveyor at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.

The Surveyor at Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Surveyor at Louisville, Kentucky.

Agents must send models received by them by packet, when the same are forwarded at the expense of the office

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