This report has taken a whole year from the time it was presented to Congress (January 1851) to find its way into print. "We make this statement as a panegyric on the expeditious efforts of the present government at Washington in presenting useful information about inventions to our people. We believe that never since the P. 0. was established has a printed report of its affairs been so long; delayed. It is a shame. Archange has come over the method of doing business in the Patent Office, so far as the Reports of the examiners are concerned. Hitherto it has been customary for each Examiner in the Patent Office to present a brief report of the inventions examined and patented in his department during the year, and to present a succint account of their principal features. No such reports were made in 1851. The reason given, is a "pressure of business, and because charges had been made of partiality in the selection of inventions noticed." There is a very excellent report of Mr. Riddle, respecting the World's Fair, some extracts from which we will hereafter present to our readers, who will find the same full of interest. The first part of this Report contains a protest by ex-Commissioner Ewbank, against the supervision exercised over the Patent Office department, by the Secretary of the Interior. After Mr. Ewbank was appointed, his rights and privileges, as exercised by former Commissioners of Patents, were abriged and interfered with by the Secretary of the Interior ; this called forth an incensed rebuke from the Hon. Edmund Burke, the former Commission-er,who had upheld the rights of inventors ; and so far as we know, Mr. Ewbank made no public answer, but it seems he did not submit to the same in silence, so far as it related to the action of the Secretary of the Interior, nay, he even addressed a communication to him, wherein he states that the Patent Office "should be wholly freed from political influences," and on a difference of opinion between him and that officer, the same was referred to the Attorney General, who gave his opinion that the Commissioner of Patents, all his clerks, and every person about the Patent Office were simply mere clerks to the said Secretary, and that the Commissioner of Patents could not pay out a cent but under the control of that officer. Mr. Ewbank was then compelled to submit, but not without presenting some resolute and pungent reasons against the evils of such supervision. The public and ourselves have blamed him wrongfully, as this report shows, for yielding so much in silence (as was thought.) Next week, however, we will present some of the curious pieces of this report, and show that the semi-official article in the " Republic," in answer to the " Scientific American" was a misrepresentation of facts, concerning what we stated in reference to the Secretary of the Interior endeavoring to obtain the wing of the Patent Office, in contravention to the real object for which that building was intended, and for which it is now required. The Patent Office has been in a transition state ever since the present party came into power. We do not discuss party politics, we only make this statement as a positive fact. There has been mismanagement somewhere. All the old examiners have left the office during the past year, with the exception of Dr. Gale, who is, we believe, the only old examiner now in the Patent Office. H. B. Ren-wick; Esq., examiner of that class of subjects embracing engineering and hydraulics, has recently resigned, also the assistant machinist Jas. Ewbank.
This article was originally published with the title "Commissioner of Patent's Reports for 1851" in Scientific American 8, 18, 142 (January 1853)