In the month of November, 1837, a patent was granted to William Crompton for an improvement in power looms for wea%nng fancy and figured fabrics, but before the inventor was able to derive sufficient remuneration from his invention, he was smitten with mental aberration. When the first term of his patent expired, it was extended for seven years by the Commissioner of Patents, and some hopes, it seems, were then entertained that poor Crompton might recover, and be able to secure some benefits for himself and family. These hopes proved delusive. The dark cloud still hung upon his mind, and he is now, it is stated, " hopelessly insane." As this patent would expire on the 27th of November next, the conservator of Crompton (Edson Fessen-den) petitioned Congress for its further extension for seven years, and the bill for his relief came up for final passage in the Senate on the 22d ult. On this occasion some interesting information in regard to such matters —as exhibiting the opinions of Senators— was elicited. Senator Clingman, of North Carolina, said that he had "examined these patent extension cases 11 great deal in the other House, and never met with one which he thought ought to pass. In fact, for the last five years, but one has got through the other House, and that was done under the previous question, without a word of discussion. If this bill ought to pass it was an exception to all bills of this character which he ever had occasion to examine." Senator Dixon, of Connecticut, the pilot of the bill, stated that the case was one of a very peculiar character, commending itself to the sympathy of the Senate. Senator Yulee, of Florida, " considered this bill rather upon the principle of a pension than an ordinary extension of the patent." The inventor had not derived any benefit from the extension of his patent, on account of his malady ; and those who manufactured and used the looms embracing the improvement had petitioned for the extension of the patent, stating that they were willing to continue paying the patent fee. A clause in the bill provides that an9/ person may make and use these looms by paying a fee of fifteen dollars for each. This throws the invention open to the public upon the condition of contributing something—and that but a very moderate sum—for the maintainance of the poor lunatic inventor and his family. These considerations had great weight with the Senators, and the bill vras passed. From the substance of the remarks made by all those who spoke on the occasion, it is evident that a just and severe scrutiny is now exercised in Congress in relation to all petitions and bills for the extension of patents, and we are confident it will be impossible for Colt, McCormick, and others, to whom we have alluded in former articles, ever taget extensions.
This article was originally published with the title "Extension of a Patent"