Report on the Patent Office.

sion, from mistaken notions of policy, were operating with an iron hand upon the industrious in Flanders and France, England did all in her power to invite their emigration; every encouragement was given to them, and many advantages were offered; by such means did she establish her power and wealth, which at this time, is gigantic, and threatens neutrals and herself with annihilation, from its misapplication. Our inventions keep pace with our necessities. It is not long since we dreaded the want of blankets. American genius has suggested a simple method by which a single workman can furnish twelve per diem. Almost every department of the mechanical arts was languishing for the want of files: several machines have been lately invented for cutting these highly useful instruments; with one of them a single workman may make several hundred files per day; which may be sold at prices much below the imported. Who, with a knowledge of facts like these, can deny protection and security to the useful arts 7 Such inventions will do more for the nation than can be effected with armies and fleets; it is certain fleets and armies cannot be supported without them. We shall now give a short historical sketch of the subject in Europe, and then trace its progress in the United States. Two centuries have elapsed since Henry IV of France conceived the great design of a conservatory of models of whatever was curious or useful in machinery, “that all those (to use the language of Sully) who aspired to perfection might improve themselves without trouble in this silent school.” The death of Henry put a stop to the execution of this scheme ; in it he was followed by other Monarchs, and none with more zeal than those of France. In modern times we may refer even to the dark pages of revolutionary France, for many proofs of the devotion of that nation to this highly useful branch of knowledge, and at the present period the useful arts are well understood and cultivated with much success throughout the empire; liberal rewards are offered by that Government for such inventions as may prove of national benefit. The enormous sum of $183,332 is offered as a premium for a machine which will prepare and spin flax in as perfect a manner as is done with cotton ; the ingenious of ail nations are invited to be competitors for this prize; the Emperor has this department under his own direction, and no patent is granted “without a special decree from Napoleon;” this arrangement gives consequence to the establishment; not content to stophere, a professor is appointed especially to deliver lectures on machines; he discourses on the models generally, and at stated periods accompanies his pupils to observe machines in the different workshops of Paris and its vicinity; the operations of the various manufactures are demonstrated, and a general discussion of all the principles, which are connected with the useful arts, is entered into and exemplified by practice. This institution furnishes annually a considerable number of usesul members of society. In the establishment just alluded to, persons are em

ployed, whose duty it is to form models of all

such valuable machines as are deposited; these

are on a regular scale, and accurate in the propor

tions of the several parts, so that the model will

move correctly, and produce effects proportioned to its size; machines may be made from these of any dimensions. In France schools for instruction in every art and science are diffused throughout the empire ; no useful branch is neglected. The teachers are numerous, and each institution has a fixed number of pupils, who are supported at the expense of Government; they are taught to arrange, plan, and execute all the operations which can be of use to the nation ; in cases of emergency that empire may draw upon this capital stock for useful men of every description, whether it be in philosophy, the various mechanical arts, the military art, &c. If the United States was equally prepared at this momentous period, much expense would have been saved to the nation, and much trouble to the Government; we repeat it, a school of arts is essentially necessary to our country. In the German schools they have professors, whose duties are like to those in France; at Gottingen Professor Beckman, the author of three volumes of the History of Discoveries and Inventions, was employed. In England, in the Royal Institution they take a proper notice of this subject, and no one has ever visited the depot of models at the Adelphia, without much pleasure and instruction. In Britain, where great distinctions are made in society, many persons occupy themselves with the useful arts,

whose rank would seem to forbid it; several no

blemen of distinction have patented useful inventions. If, then, all other nations deem it wise and essential to bestow favors in this way, shall it be said that, in the territories of the only free Republic of modern times, the arts were ridiculed and neglected 2 This can never be the case with those who understand the true interests of the State; the national genius forbids it, and nothing can stifle this infant Hercules of the United States. No nation can boast of more useful inventions than those of the people of the United States; we might bring to recollection many, which alone could have resulted from the exercise of genius of a superior order. Rittenhouse contrived and set a world in motion. Whitney furnished us with a simple machine by which the people of a world are enriched and made happy. In obedience to the resolutions passed by the House of Representatives of the United States, the Secretary of State has reported that, from the 31st day of July, 1790, when the first patent issued from the office, to the 31st day of December, 1811, inclusive, one thousand six hundred and thirteen patents have been granted ; of these two hundred and fifteen were for inventions patented in the year 1811. During the present year, (May, 1812.) one hundred and twenty one

patents have been already delivered ; twenty are in preparation, and twenty more are suspended

for the want of proper and suitable specifications; for several years past the number has increased annually, and an annual report of them has been

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directed to be made to Congress. This review of the progress of the arts is highly gratifying to us as citizens of the United States; we now see them flourish in situations where the footsteps of the savage have been scarcely obliterated by the busy scenes of civilized society; establishments are multiplying in all directions; nothing but time and proper encouragement are wanting to bring them to perfection. Superficial observers, and persons who are not accustomed to study, are apt to treat this subject lightly, and sink it into contempt ; they under value inventions of every kind, and consider them more the results of chance than of mighty conceptions and painful thought; the sight of a steam engine in motion must convince the intelligent observer that the conception which gave rise to this stupendous monument of human invention, is too vast for ordinary comprehensions; persons thus disposed know little of the human mind; experience has not taught them the evils resulting from restless nights, and the many disappointments which await projectors; they often exclaim, what neces: sity or justice in granting rewards for discoveries 7 They say it cost nothing to effect the object; such persons have minds too limited to conceive a brilliant idea, too callous to receive a delicate impression, and a heart too cold to reward original genius. It is a habit with some to despise the knowledge of others. In answer to these declaimers we will offer the remarks of Burgh ; he says, when treating of projects and schemes, “there is not one of a hundred that ever succeeds at all, nor one of many hundred that brings their inventors anything but disappointment and ruin. So that, we observe accordingly, whoever projects anything new in science, in mechanics, or in trade, seldom does more than open the way for others to profit by their ingenuity.” Notwithstanding experience has proved these statements beyond contradiction, many deny to inventors ordinary justice. They do not require of you to yield your privileges or property to them ; they request of you, to “do as you would be done by.” and only to confirm them in that which has already been made theirs by the sacred decrees of the Great Creator of the universe. Too often do persons take advantage of the inventions of others, and deny them compensation ; they are considered as common property. It is with difficulty that the case is brought to a decision before a court of justice, and not unfrequently the inexpediency of awarding in favor of the plaintiff is too well maintained by a jury of interested persons. Our court records surnish too inany instances of this kind; it becomes us to guard against them, in future, by a modification of the statute of the United States, which shall unequivocally secure to inventors their discoveries and inventions. Before the adoption of the present Constitution of the United States, the several States, as sovereign Powers, granted patents. The framers of the Constitution deemed this an object worthy their protection; and amongst the powers dele

gated by them to Congress, we find that “to

promote the progress of science and the useful arts, by securing, for limited times, to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.” Congress, pursuant to the recited Constitutional provision, enacted a law on the subject, February 21, 1793; another April 17, 1800; and, during their present session, these several acts are under consideration, to be revised and amended, according as experience may have made it necessary. By these acts the fees which are directed to be paid by the patentee are inconsiderable—not one-fifteenth of the amount which is paid in Great Britain. . It never was contemplated to derive a revenue from this source; the original intention was to make the amount received sufficient to cover the expenses of the institution. The statements here with exhibited prove that a surplus fund has accumulated in the Treasury applicable to such purposes as the Legislature shall direct. We do not hesitate to acknowledge that patents have often issued for inventions apparently trivial and ridiculous. On this ground many object to the institution. Reflection will remove this difficulty. - The patent costs the State nothing, and from trifling causes wonderful consequences have ensued. Newton, from observing the falling of a pear, deduced his brilliant theory of gravitation ; and no year passes in which the principle inherent in a trifling machine does not give rise to many valuable applications. You cannot limit in this respect: the Constitution guaranties to every one his original inventions. And no harm can result from this practice; the patentee can alone be disappointed in his expectations. No one will purchase that which he deems useless; and a very few, indeed, speculate so far as to give premiums for inventions without having previously seen their promised advantages demonstrated by practice. England sets a high value on objects of this kind. She encourages the introduction from abroad of every useful machine; and she prohibits, under heavy penalties, the exportation of such as are useful in her manufactories. In the year 1774, an act was passed “to prevent the exportations of utensils employed in the cotton manufacture” in England. Any person going from Great Britain, and who carries with him the tools and instruments of any useful art or manufacture peculiar to his native country, “must be deemed a traitor.” We can defend this branch of knowledge upon the ground of an enlarged and wise policy. Our supplies of clothing and other articles have been generally derived from British manufactories. That nation has made us tributary to her workshops, in common with the rest of mankind. This system has been carried so far as to affect the independence of the United States. We may soon be engaged in a war with that Power: propriety and necessity combine to carry us into other channels. We need not leave our shores for this purpose. Unlike Great Britain, our agriculture furnishes us more food than we can consume, and yields us the raw materials from which that most dependent of nations has been heretofore supplied. We only need labor-saving machines to form these into the fabrics which habit, comfort, and fashion, have made necessary in civilized society. Some say this is impossible. They do not know that the greatest changes in this way have taken place in England within the last thirty years A revolution is at this time about to take place, by which all nations will free themselves from the shackles which heretofore bound them to Great Britain, and allowed them but a nominal independence. This revolution can alone be perfected by the agency of the useful arts. Great Britain is dependent upon foreign nations for eight-tenths of the raw materials which are used in her manufactures; and the few which she derives from her internal resources are forbid to be exported. As an indulgence in this respect, in the year 1777 it was enacted by Parliament to permit “the exportation of tobacco-pipe clay,” it being necessary to the sugarmakers in the West Indies. All American trade has concentred in England, whether it be to the Mediterranean, the Euxine, or the Baltic. Thus have we contributed much to the support of British fleets and armies for many years past. The great pressure occasioned by the enormous national debt of Great Britain, and the increase of the annual taxes, may cause distress, turbulence, riot, and bankruptcy—even a change of the present dynasty may be the consequence. All these circumstances combined will not effect the reduction of that gigantic Power. Changes like these experience has proved are only changes of men in power; the nation still remains compounded of the same mass, with her capital and skill undiminished, which, by a judicious system of reform, will secure to her power and wealth. England can only be seriously affected by striking a severe blow at the roots of her industry, the great base upon which her security is founded. A war against Great Britain will be inefficient, if carried on solely by your armies and fleets. By paralyzing her arts and manufactures you destroy her vitals. The heart will be seized by a canker which will render the extremities inefficient and useless. - The effects and benefits, in a national view, resulting from the introduction of useful laborsaving machines may be traced and demonstrated in the rise and progress of the British cotton manufacture. Not longer ago than the year 1755, the cotton manufacture in England was considered “amongst the humblest of the domestic arts.” The products were chiefly for home consumption. Machinery in this branch was then unknown. In the year 1750, twenty thousand persons only were employed in this way: little progress was made for several succeeding years. In the year 1806 they declared, “there is scarcely a civilized nation on the earth that is not indebted to us for some article of this mauufacture.” Some Manchester manufacturers have furnished as many as two thousand different varieties of patterns on their cards for the continent of Europe. In the year 1705 not more than 1,170,881 lbs. of cotton wool was imported into England; in

Report on the Patent Office.

number of years in any former century.

the year 1781 it amounted to 5,101,920 lbs.; in 1810 to the enormous and incredible quantity of 135,000,000 lbs. This last fact we state upon the authority of Sir Robert Peel, the most extensive cotton manufacturer in Great Britain. In the year 1797 the cotton branch took the lead in the manufactures of Great Britain, and continued to advance until the American and continental markets, from motives of policy, were shut against them. In the year 1809, it was calculated that this branch of industry, in Great Britain, gave employment to S00,000 persons, and that the annual value thereof amounted to £30,000,000, or $132,000,000 ! The United States, for many years, received more manufactured articles from Great Britain than the whole of Europe taken together. The following statements are given from Sir F. M. Eden’s Letters on British Manufactures and Commerce :

Years. Exports to Europe. Exports to the U. S. 1795, £4.222782 £4,892.572 1796, 4,497,683 5.835,640 1797, 3.732,830 4,871,316 1798, 3,981,650. 5,313,06S 1799, 4,543,608 6,696,221

England has no advantage peculiar to herself; the introduction of useful machines gave her preeminence; machinery enabled the people of England to sell their imanufactured articles at reduced prices, and to undersell all other nations. In the year 1762 cylinder cards were first made use of by Mr. Peel. In 1767 James Hargrave made the first great improvement in the spinning of cotton by means of machinery ; and Arkwright’s first patent for spinning cotton, by means of rollers, was obtained in 1779; the machine was put in motion by the application of horse power ; in 1771 water was employed, and now that of steam is in general use. Improvements in this art have been carried so far, “that a pound of fine cotton has been spun on the mule into 350 hanks, each hank measuring 840 yards, and forming together a thread 167 miles in length !” A single pound of cotton yarn, in England, has commanded the extravagant price of five guineas ; so much has machinery added to the original value of the raw material, which, on an average, may be rated at twenty cents per pound. England, from these causes, progressed more in the last fifty years of the eighteenth century than she did in any equal In the time mentioned, the most useful inventions were brought to light, and made perfect; with the arts the nation flourished, and assumed the form of a political Colossus. •.

We need not abandon our country to seek for examples where a nation has been benefitted and enriched by the genius of her citizens; we could specify many instances of the kind; on this occasion, however, we will content ourselves with a consideration of that of Mr. Eli Whitney, a native of the State of Massachusetts. It is to his cotton gin that many in the United States owe their wealth and comforts; but for this, or some equivalent instrument, poverty, barrenness, and waste, would infest an extensive and valuable portion of the United States. The opinion of Judge Johnson, an inhabitant of South Carolina, is too appropriate to be omitted; in deciding in the case of Whitney vs. Carter, he proceeded: “With regard to the utility of this discovery, the court would deem it a waste of time to dwell long upon this topic. Is there a man who hears us who has not experienced its utility ? The whole interior of the Southern States was languishing, and its inhabitants emigrating, for want of some object to engage their attention and employ their industry, when the invention of this machine at once opened views to them which set the whole country in active motion. From childhood to age it has presented us a lucrative employment. Individuals who were depressed with poverty, and sunk in idleness, have suddenly risen to wealth and respectability. Our debts have been paid off our capitals increased, and our lands are trebled in value. We cannot express the weight of obligation which the country owes to this invention ; the extent of it cannot now be seen.” Edwards, in his History of the West Indies, says the green seed cotton offers many advantages to the manufacturer; but, for the want of a proper instrument to separate the wool from the seed, “ the value of the commodity is not equal to the pains that are requisite in preparing it for market.” Before the gin was invented, this species of cotton was only cultivated for domestic purposes, and for supplying wick for the lamps that are used in sugar boiling. Formerly, cotton wool was imported into the United States; that obtained from the British West India possessions, on an average of three years from 1768 to 1771, amounted to one hundred and sixty-seven thousand seven hundred and forty-eight pounds; and from other places, two hundred and sixty-six thousand one hundred and eighty-two pounds. In 1783, after the peace with Great Britain, it was proposed we might furnish ourselves with the necessary quantity of cotton wool from the Dutch settlements at Surinam ; no one then imagined it could be cultivated in the United States to be made an object of commerce. In 1791 it was proved that cotton might be cultivated to advantage in the United States; in this same year nineteen thousand two hundred pounds, the growth of the United States, was shipped to Europe, and the want of a machine to separate the wool from the seed was soon found to be essentially necessary. But for the invention of Whitney, which was brought to perfection in the year 1793, the United States would have continued to be importers of this article. The annual quantity made increased every year, until, in 1810, we exported, of the growth of the country, ninety-three million two hundred and sixty-one thousand four hundred and sixty-two pounds, of which quantity eighty-four millions six hundred and fifty-seven thousand and seventy-eight pounds, only, were Sea Island or long staple. Besides the quantity exported, sixteen million pounds of the short staple are annually consumed in our country, which give an annual crop of one hundred million

Report on the Patent Office.

pounds. This, at fifteen cents per pound, presents us with an annual income of fifteen million dollars. If the saw gin of Whitney had not been brought to light, the green seed cotton could only be cultivated by those planters who have a superabundant number of laborers on their plantations, to give them employment at times when they otherwise would have gone idle. Sea Island cotton can only be raised in a very limited district of the Union, and it is not so fit for all purposes as the other species. By hand, an industrious man may pick one pound of cotton per day; a machine of a moderate size, attended by a boy to seed it, will do the same for one thousand pounds per day. Horse, water, or steam power may be applied ; one man may readily attend ten of these ; the quantity they would furnish for packing is incalculable. The facts we have just stated are known to all our cotton planters; such of them as are connected with commerce, are derived from the Treasury reports and books of authority on the subject. We could mention many other instances where valuable machines have benefited the United States; this is considered superfluous. Your Committee, for the reasons which they have already assigned, must remain satisfied with offering this report, in part, for the present; had time and circumstances permitted, they would have presented for your consideration a detailed system, with rules and regulations for its execution; they indulge in the hope to furnish these at a more suitable time. ADAM SEYBERT, Chairman.

CoMMITTEE Room, May 25, 1812. SIR : The following resolution was adopted by the House of Representatives viz: “Resolved. That a committee be appointed to ascertain the number of persons employed in, and to inquire into the state and condition of that branch of the Department of State wherein are preserved the models of machines for which patents have been granted by the United States, and whether any, and what, fees have been demanded by the clerks therein.” . The Committee have instructed me to request of you any general observations which you may think proper to communicate respecting the patent establishment of the United States; whether any necessary alterations in the act authorizing the establishment have suggested themselves to you; the amount of fees authorized by law; and if any instances are known where extra fees have been demanded or received by the clerks, or persons employed in that branch of the Department of State; What has been the gross amount of fees received for patents granted from the commencement of the establishment to the 31st day of December, 1811; what amount has been expended in support of the establishment; whether a separate account is kept of the moneys received and expended for the establishment; is there a balance unexpended; if so, what is the amount thereof 7

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DePARTMENT of STATE, June 10, 1812. SiR : I have had the honor to receive your letter of the 25th ultimo, and regret that other duties of the office, particularly connected with the present state of public affairs, should have pressed so heavily upon me as to have rendered it impossible to give it an earlier answer. Your inquiries point to two principal objects ; first, the organization of the patent establishment; and, secondly, the conduct of the officers now employed in it, in respect to the fees which they have received for their services. On the first head, the organization of the Patent Office, you wish me to state whether, in my opinion, some essential change in it might not be made with advantage, and, particularly, whether it ought not to be separated from the Department of State 7 In meeting this inquiry, I am naturally led to examine another question, whether the Patent Office might not be independent of every Department of the Government, and amenable to the President only 2 If this is believed to be the case, its separation from the Department of State necessarily results from it. I have always thought that every institution, of what nature soever it might be, ought to be comprised within some one of the Departments of Government, the chief of which only should be responsible to the Chief Executive Magistrate of the nation. The establishment of inferior independent Departments, the heads of which are not, and ought not to be, members of the Administration, appears to me to be liable to many serious objections, which will doubtless occur to you. I will mention the following only, first, that the concerns of such inserior Departments cannot be investigated and discussed with the same advantage in the meetings and deliberations of the Administration, as they might be if the person charged with them was present. The second is that, to remedy this inconvenience, the President would, necessarily, become the head of that Department himself, and thus be drawn into much investigation, in detail, that would take his attention from more general and important concerns, to the prejudice of the public interest. Supposing the general organization of the Departments of Government to remain as they are,

Departments than to the Department of State. I must, however, observe that I am conscious that I have not been able, since I have had the honor of being employed in this Department, to pay to the Patent Office all the attention which it is, at all times, my desire to bestow on any portion of the public duties confided to me. The foreign concerns of our country constitute, in themselves. a sufficient trust for the person at the head of this Department. They are very extensive, complicated, and important, and are becoming more so daily. The growth and rising importance of the United States necessarily produce that effect, but the Department of State is also charged with a correspondence with the Territorial Governments, Governors of the several States, &c. If the Patent Office remains attached to this Department, or is placed under either of the other Departments, I think that the person employed at its head ought to have the power of franking letters. It would save to the Secretary of the Department much time in receiving and forwarding letters to that office, and franking letters from him. The business of the Patent Office would also be much facilitated thereby. These remarks, you will readily perceive, are written in too much haste to give that aid on the subject that I should be happy to afford. I have to observe that I have inquired into the conduct of the officers employed in the Patent Office, respecting the fees they have received, and that I have cause to be well satisfied with it. The Committee will doubtless make further inquiry into the subject. I refer you to a statement on this point from Doctor Thornton, marked A. The fees allowed by law are confined to the Treasury fee of $30, and the copying fees, mentioned in the eleventh section of the patent law, 2d vol. of the Laws of the United States, are twenty cents for every hundred words, and two dollars for the copy of every drawing. The gross amount of fees received for patents, granted from the commencement of the establishment to the 31st day of December 1811, is $49110. . The particular statement is given in the accompanying paper B. I do not know of any expenditure in support of the patent establishment, except what may have been absorbed in the unfinished preparation of two rooms for the models in the hotel; but as these expenditures include also the repairs of the building. and preparations for the General Post Office, I can only give the aggregate sums expended, which amount to $3,579 32. Whatever was expended previous to the removal of the of fice, was for stationery, cases, &c., which were in common with other objects of the Department of State, and paid for by the contingent fund. If the salary of Doctor Thornton should be considered as applicable, I enclose a statement of his salary till the end of the year 1811, C. Mr. Lyon's salary, from the first of June, 1810, to 1st of April, 1811, paid, amounts only to $416 66. . There is no account kept in the Department of

I am not aware that the Patent Office could, with | State of the receipts and expenditures of the patmore propriety, be attached to either of the other lent establishment, because the fees are paid imme

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