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ing value. A greater boon to inventors, to science, and to the world at large, could hardly be named. It would be consulted as long as the arts are cherished, and would rather increase than diminish in interest as time rolls on.
If the cost of printing it be deemed an objection, a fair manuscript copy would be of great value to the examiners, and above all price to inventors and others, who should have access to it in person, or through their agents.
8. Chemical apparatus for the use of the office.-In the chemical branch of the examining department the furniture of a small laboratory is much needed, to enable the examiner to verify or disprove alleged ingredients and results of applicants for patents for materials, processes and compounds. Section sixth of the act of 1836 provides that every applicant for a chemical patent shall accompany his application with specimens of ingredients and of the composition of matter, sufficient in quantity for the purpose of experiment." Hitherto no means of testing such specimens have been provided, although obviously within the meaning of the law. The increasing number of applications belonging to this class and their alleged importance render it highly desirable, and indeed indispensable, that the examiner should have at hand the means of arriving at correct and definite decisions. It is therefore proposed to have a room fitted up as a laboratory, and that the Commissioner be authorized. to procure the requisite apparatus, at an expense not exceeding $800.
9. Reports of the office illustrated.—It is very desirable that these documents should be rendered more practically useful to inventors, and to others interested in the progress of the arts. They are essentially defective in descriptions of devices patented, such descriptions being confined to the claims, the full meaning of which can seldom be understood for want of details and drawings. To publish the specifications in extenso would swell the annual exposition into several large volumes; but if simple and neat engraved illustrations were introduced along with the claims, a moderate addition only would be made to the volume now devoted to inventions. Let a small but clear outline engraving be given of each patented invention—that is, of the peculiar portion covered by the claim-and every person consulting the reports would understand the precise nature of the inventions at once, and consequently be prevented from repeating them. As long, therefore, as the specifications and drawings are not published in full, it would be a decided improvement, and in a majority of cases all that is wanted to convey a correct idea of the devices patented, to accompany each "claim" with a neat and lucid wood-cut illustration. Nearly every inventor would be glad to supply one, and few would object to a provision made by law, requir ing one, or an electrotype cast of one, to be furnished by each patentee. They might be, and in general ought to be, confined to the features patented, so that seldom more than half a page would be taken up, while in a majority of cases one third of a page, or even less, would suffice.
The insertion of such illustrations would make the reports much more popular and useful. They would impart greatly increased and more definite information. a nd would save many an inventor an inconvenient outlay of time and money in travelling to Washington to examine the models in the Patent Office. The reports would be more care.
fully preserved, both in public and private libraries, and more frequently consulted by inventors and others.
As regards the style.or workmanship in which the office reports are got up, I beg to suggest that a much smaller number than what is usu ally printed would be preferable, in nearly every point of view, provided they were issued in respectable and enduring volumes. As permanent records, ten thousand copies, got up in a style creditable to the office and to the country, would be more valuable and do more service than ten times the number of the usual character. Instead of being rapidly consumed as waste-paper, they would be preserved in both private and public libraries. A complete set is not now to be had; and it is doubtful if a dozen sets are in existence; (there are none in the office of a date prior to 1845) This is believed to be chiefly, if not wholly, due to the inferior quality of the paper and printing-to the unattractive and unsubstantial dress in which they have been sent forth.
If inventions are fraught with consequences of the highest import to the well being of society and honorable to the people that originate them, descriptions of them are worthy of preservation; and the more so since every new application of science and every addition to art has a lasting value. Tomes of the early printers are extant, and their pages appear fresh as when struck off, promising to outlive most of modern works. Few, if any, of our Patent Office reports will be found on book-shelves four centuries hence their materials will have perished; while there is no room to doubt that thousands of volumes printed in the fifteenth cen. tury will be consulted in the twenty-fifth. The annual reports of a bureau so intimately allied with mechanical progress as this is, ought, in some degree, to correspond with the present state of the arts connected with book making. Our ministers abroad have often felt ashamed when comparing some of our documents with those of foreign governments. Of the 500 copies of the Report of 1849, Part 1, which the Senate authorized the undersigned to have printed, at a cost not exceeding fifty-five cents each, some were forwarded to American embassies abroad. The secretary of the legation at London, in acknowledging the receipt of a parcel, expressed his gratification at being furnished with a national doc. ument which he could exhibit without blushing.
It is the practice in nearly every public library to have its volumes bound in one uniform style; but with bound Patent Office reports this could not be done without cutting away the text, in consequence of the small portion of margin left by official binders; hence unbound are often preferred to bound copies. As the public binding is not calculated to be durable, it would be a decided improvement if the margin left by the binders were required to be not less than five-eighths or three-quarters of an inch in width.
10. International exchanges.—It is proper, in this place, to acknowledge the obligations of the office to M. Alexandre Vattemare, the well known founder of the system of international exchanges, for valuable contributions to its library, and for collections of foreign seeds.
The "Annales des Ponts et Chaussées," a journal containing the transactions of the corps of topographical engineers in France, and
*A large edition of an English classic disappeared in thirty years, from the corroding action of chlorine used in bleaching the paper.
"Annales des Mines," a journal devoted to mining and metallurgic operations, have been received from him entire; also, the continuation, for several years past, of the "Brevets d'Invention," containing descriptions of patents granted in France, together with various works upon agriculture, chemistry, &c., received, through his agency, from individuals and scientific societies in France.
A series of specimens of Algerian soils and products, prepared by order of the Secretary of War of France, together with a collection of the agricultural productions of France, prepared by Mons. A. Vilmorin at the request of the Central Agricultural Society, have been received through Mons. Vattemare; but as it was understood that they were intended for the Department of the Interior, they have been handed over to the Secretary of that department, who has made mention of them in his late report accompanying the message of the President to Congress.
11. Examiners' reports.-These have been omitted, partly on account of the pressure of business on the examiners' desks, but principally because complaints have been made of partiality in the selections of inventions noticed. To avoid this, all must be mentioned or none. These reports necessarily made invidious distinctions in regard to the relative importance and merits of devices patented. Such distinctions doubtless exist, but the duty of pointing them out does not attach to this office. They have been a fruitful source of complaint, of charges of partiality, and even of corruption; and although such charges are to be expected under any circumstances, it is inexpedient for the office to travel out of its path to invite them.
FINANCIAL AND STATISTICAL
The number of applications for patents received during the year ending December 31, 1851, is two thousand two hundred and fifty-eight; the number of caveats filed during the same period is seven hundred and sixty; being an increase of applications over last year of sixty-five, and of caveats one hundred and fifty-eight.
The number of patents issued during the year 1851 is eight hundred and sixty-nine, including twenty-five re-issues, three additional improvements, and ninety designs. Three disclaimers were entered during the
Within the year 1851, four hundred and thirty-eight patents have expired, a list of which is annexed, marked H. There were fifteen applications made during the year to extend patents, the terms of which were about to expire; which, with five pending applications at the close of last year, made twenty cases to be considered. Of these, nine were granted and eleven rejected. None have been extended by Congress during the
The receipts of the office for the year 1851, on account of applications for patents, caveats, additional improvements, re issues, extensions, recording assignments, powers of attorney, &c., and for copies, amount to $95,738 61, as per statement marked A; being an increase over the receipts of last year of $8,811 56.
The expenses of the office for the year 1851 are as follows, viz: For salaries, $33,719 73; contingent expenses, $11,533 81; books for the library, $1,183 32; temporary clerks, $14,391 12; agricultural statistics, $4,937 84; refunding money paid by mistake, $186 77; compensation of librarian, $250; chief justice of the District of Columbia sitting on appeals from Commissioner of Patents, $100; on applications withdrawn, $20,614 34, as per statement marked B; leaving a balance to be carried to the credit of the Patent fund of $8,821 68, as per statement marked C.
On the 1st day of January, 1851, the amount of money in the treasury to the credit of the Patent fund was $15,331 27; to which add the excess of receipts over expenditures for the year, $8,821 68, leaves a balance in the treasury to the credit of the Patent fund, on the 1st day of January, 1852, of $24,152 95, as per statement D.
There were one hundred and sixty-nine cases on the examiners' desks on the 1st of January, 1851; the number of applications received during the year, two thousand two hundred and fifty-eight; making the whole number of applications before the office during the year two thousand four hundred and twenty-seven. Of this number, one hundred and fifty-five remained unexamined on the 1st day of January, 1852.
The business of the office for the past year shows the examination of two thousand two hundred and seventy-two applications, resulting in the issue of eight hundred and sixty-nine patents and one thousand four hundred and three rejections and suspensions, as exhibited per statement E.
A statement is also appended, showing the amount of fees received, applications and caveats filed, during each month of the year, marked F.
Statement of receipts for patents, caveats, additional improvements, recording assignments, &c., and for copies.
Amount received for patents, caveats, re-issues, and additional improvements....
Amount received for recording assignments, &c., and for copies..
For contingent expenses.
Statement of expenditures and payments made from the Patent Fund by the Commissioner of Patents, from January 1, 1851, to January 1, 1852, under the acts of Congress making provision for the expenses of the Patent Office, viz:
For refunding money paid by mistake.
For compensation of librarian.
Amount paid for copying report...
Salary paid agricultural clerk ($500 due for 1850). $2,500 00
196 77 20,614 34 250 00 100 00
501 69 1,714 01
In the above sum of $86,916 94, which shows an increased expenditure for the year 1851 over that of 1850 and former years, is embraced— The salaries of two principal and two assistant examiners,
authorized at the last session of Congress, at the rate of
The excess of expenditure for the agricultural desk over last
.$6,0 0 00