THERE is one thing which the inventors * of this country have not yet obtained and which they have a right to demand, and that is a new building for the United States Patent Office. When it is stated that the inventors have the right to demand it, that is exactly what is meant, in spite of the fact that the small army of examiners and clerks who work day in and day out within the walls of the old Patent Office, in eramped and out-of-date surroundings, would be affected most materially and directly by the erection of a new and eommodious building. The discomforts that these latter must bear, and the very obvious disadvantages under whieh they labor, are not nearly so far reaching or important as the fact that poor facilities for worK retard work; and the faet that, mnployees are laboring under conditions which ought not to exist and which would scarcely be tolerated in a well-ordered and up-to-date faetory, leaves the inventor, who is the sole customer of the Patent Office, in the position of not having his work done with the dispatch and exactitude which he should expect from his dealings with the Government, and which might obtain were the force of workers not herded together in an old-fashioned and oVercrowded building. This statement may come as something of a surprise to the readers of this artide. Most of the inventors have seen a picture of the Patent Office. That is to say, they have seen pictures of its outside. There is no intention to belittle the dassic outlines and graceful proportions of the Patent Offiee structure, which as an architectural achievement leaves nothing to be desired. It is a handsome and solid building of white stone, and has the appearance of an old Greek temple, or if one does not care for roman tie comparisons, it may be likened to the appearance of an art gallery or a museum. But there are about one thousand people inside of this beautiful building who have something else to do besides contemplating its architectural grandeur. It is not surprising that some of them should wish for modern conveniences in place of classic excellence. A quarter of a century ago the working force of the Patent Office occupied but a small part of the building. Various Secretaries of the Interior have, however, from time to time, managed to get rid of the Land Office and the Indian Office and some other bureaus of Uncle Sam's largest department, and they have been housed elsewhere. At the present time only the personal staff of the Secretary of the Interior shares the building with the Patent Office. Secretary Ballin-ger, indeed, offered to move out of the quarters he occupied, if by so doing he could relieve the growing need of the Patent Office for more space. The few rooms, however, that the Secretary's force could relinquish would not permanently benefit the Patent Office. To tell the truth, it has outgrown its present quarters, and a new building has become a crying need. One has only to enter the Patent Office and look about him to realize the weight of this statement. Like a boy who has long since outgrown his Sunday suit, but who is required by parental authority to continue to wear it, the Patent Office goes on expanding without room for expansion. The boy's arlllS hang far below the sleeves of his jacket, and his legs look ridiculously attenuated in the short, tight pants. It is unfair to the boy to make him the laughing stock of his companions. It is equally unfair to build costly modern buildings at public expense for other branches of the Government, and let the Patent Office, which is one of the few bureaus of the Government that is absolutely self-supporting, and which has an | actual surplus of nearly seven millions of dollars, all of which has been paid in by the inventors of the country, go on occupying its old quarters, which, like the boy's suit, have bulged at the seams these many years. Take, for example, the matter of the storage of records. Can anyone be so insensible to the value of the records of the inventions of the last century to claim that their careful preservation is not a matter of the gravest importance? Every conceivable ineh of spaee in the Patent Office is now being used for the storage of valuable records, which if they should ever be destroyed, could never be replaced. The hallways are used for the shelving containing the eopies of granted patents. These copies are being constantly ealled for, and must be kept right at hand, where they ean be easily found at a moment's notice. Yet their orderly arrangement is impossible, when they must be put wherever there is available space. There are now over a million of patents which have been granted, and the office | must keep on hand a sufficient supply of copies of these to satisfy daily and hourly demands for them. Room must also be had for the convenient and safe filing of the original papers in each one of these patent cases. The drawings, too, must be carefully preserved, for together they eonstitute an actual, visible record of the achi"vements of the American people in the field of invention since the establishment of the patent system. Where in all of the different branches of the Government is there a more valuable eollection of papers, or a more authentic and significant record of the progress man has made in the last one hundred years? The Scientific Library of the Patent Office, with its priceless colleetion of publications on the subject of inventions, | including copies of two million foreign patents, occupies a small section of a I corridor, and the books are inconveniently disposed in a very restrieted portion of the galleries which were originally intended for the display of models. The value of the library is almost beyond estimate, as many of the publications in the collection could not be replaced. In the old-fashioned building, which is not fire-proof or modern, they are exposed constantly to the danger of destruetion by fire. The warning furnished by two previous fires of a disastrous nature in the Patent Office, has passed unheeded. The Assignment Division, which is one of the largest in the Office, occupies a corridor, also intended at one time for the model exhibit. In it are kept the records of the titles to inventions. The deeds showing these titles are as important, if not more so, as any collection of deeds to real property, and their destruetion would be a calamity so far reaching as to touch the rights of nearly all the leading manufacturers and merchants of the United States. In this division the desks of the clerks are packed closely together, none of the clerks get the number of cubic feet of air prescribed by the rules of hygiene, and some of them work all day under artificial light. The galleries are filled with the copies of patents, which now overrun the entire building. Many of the examining divisions oecupy eramped and badly lighted rooms. Each division is forced to keep its own files of pending applieations, and from five to eight persons ,re the rule in eaeh room, and more are frequently found. Even the basement of the building has been partially remodeled, so that some of the store rooms could be utilized for the use of the working force. When it is remembered that dust, rats, and mice, to say nothing of possible confagrations, create irreparable damages in a comparatively short time, the proper housing of the Patent Offee becomes a question of national interest. Every inventor and manufacturer of the nation may be said to suffer from the danger that. would arise from tho destruction of some important paper, the bearing of whieh on a future invention might be of the utmost importanee. The same is true of the Patent Office models. Upon an improper understanding of the matter, Congress has during the lnst fmv yenrs made many attempts to dispose of theso models by sale, gift, or otherwise. When they were erowded out of the Pat -nt Office, they were placed on exhibition in a building adjaeent to the Office in expensive glass cases, so that they might not only be accessible as a part of tho offieial records in frequent use by the Office and for use as evidence in suits in the United States courts, but that they might also furnish a very interesting and instructive exhibit to the general public. It was customary for excursions from colleges and schools to visit Washington mainly for the purpose of studying this exhibition of historical objects, whieh showed the development of the mechanical arts. Subsequently Congress omitted to appropriate money for the rental of these exhibition halls, and the models were placed in storage. The cases were sold and the models nail(d up in wooden boxes, labeled, and givon over to perfect oblivion, so far as the public is concerned. Eventually Congress was convinced that it would be a mistake to dispose of these models, owing to the fact that they are still used in the courts as ovidence in important cases, where vast sums of money have been saved in litigation on account of the irrefutable testimony given by these inanimate but eloquent witnesses. The high state of perfection reaehed by mechanical drawing now renders the construetion of a model to accompany applications for patent unnecessary. Previously to the early '80's the drawings submitted did not always disclose clearly the real invention, owing to poor mechanical drawing, and models were absolutely essential. It is evident, therefore, that the present collection of models is the only real proof, actual and existing, of numerous inventions, and each and every ono is liable to be called for and relied upon as evidence in the courts to-day. The framers of the Constitution of the United States recognized particularly the necessity for encouraging the development of two facultios of the human mind in order that the young republie might speedily take her place in the front rank of the nations of the world. These faculties, thus recognized and encouraged, were those of literature and invention. Accordingly there was embodied in the Constitution that provision that Congress should have the power to promote the progress of seience and the useful arts, by securing for limited times, to authors and inventors, the exclusive right to their respective writings and diseovorios. Undor this wise provision the present patent and copyright laws have been enacted by Congress. The Library of Congress, one of the world's most beautiful structures, is proof enough that the artists of the nation, the authors, the musicians, have not knocked in vain at the door of Congress that their works might be preserved to postmity forever. The now National Museum too provides ample room for the display and preservation of rocords of the past, pertaining to archeology, zoology, anthropology, geology, and history. The implement” of war and peace presumably used by prehistoric races are spread out before the public and are available for research by the student. The whole history of man may be studied and contemplated by whosoever will. On the other hand, the Patent Office models, the actual embodiments of the frst inventions of our many arts and sciences, are allowod to lie-more than one hundred and fifty thousand in numher-stored in wooden hoxes in the cellar of the office bwilding of the House of ItepJesentatives. Not that they are wanted there! But Congress would not appropriate money for their proper keeping, and there is no longer any room for them in the old Patent Office building. 'hey had to be sheltered somowhere, and a few vaults happened to be empty in the new House office building, so consent was given to store them there. The mere fact that models are not longer required by law to be filed by tho inventor with his application for patent, does not render those that have been so offered and accepted in tho past any less valuable as records and evidence. In fact, their value as exhibiting what has been •done in the past in nearly all known arts increases rather than diminishes as timo goes on. When the Patent Laws were revised in 1870, the following provision was inserted in the Revised. Statutes: ” 484. The Commissioner of Patents shall cause to be classified and arranged in suitable cases, in the rooms and galleries provided for that purpose, the models, specimens of composition, fabrics, manufactures, works of art, and designs, which have been or shall be deposited in the Patent Office; and the rooms and galleries shall be kept open during suitable hours for public inspection." In spite of this mandate of the law, inventors and manufacturers, visitors and tourists now inquire in vain at the Patent Office for the rooms where the models are displayed. They are surprised to hear that they are stored in almost inaccessible cellars. It is difficult to reconcile this history of the Patent Office models with the beno-ficent government whieh provides palatial buildings for nearly evory branch of tho service, and erects stately museums and libraries. This anomaly eould easily be overcome by the erection of a new and suitable building for the Patent Office, and it should speedily become the business of every citizen-for every citizen benefits by the patent system of the United States-to advocate the construction of such a building. As pointed out in the early part of this article, the 'Patent Offiee has an absolutely net surplus in the United States Treasury of nearly seven millions of dollars. Every dollar of this has been paid in by the inventors of the country. TIle sum is more than sufficient to build an adequate and modern building for the Patent Office. Congress has only to give the necessary authority; it does not have to appropriate a single dollar out of the revenues of the Government. The money is there; tIe Patent Office has earned it; the inventors have paid it in. There ought to be a building wherein the records of inventions could be safely and conveniently kept, beyond all danger of destruction. There ought to be well-lighted and properly ventilated accommodations for the examiners and clerks who perform the difficult and important work of determining whether an invention is new or old. Moreover, inventors have the right to demand that the facilities be furnished whereby their applications for patent ean receive the highest possible degree of caro and accuraey in examination. It is not likely that this neglect on the part of Congress to provide for the Patent Office has been deliberate, but it arises from the fact that most of the members of Congress are not in possession of the . facts regarding the. needs of the Offiee. What is required now is a campaign of publicity, a system whereby not only Congress, but the people everywhere, may realize that the inventors of tIle nation are paying for something to whicll they are justly entitled in the Constitution, but which they do not always get. Without great commercial resourees and activity a nation cannot become great. The inventors and the manufacturers, the buyers and the sellers furnish the sinews of the country, and upon invention and invention alone has commerce been founded. Invention, instead of lessening the number of distinetive kinds of employment, has been shown by actual experience to have increased them. The late Senator Daniel of Virginia., who was an enthusiastic worker for the inventors, is the author of a bill which expIred wIth the last Congress, but whICh provided for and specified the particular location upon which the Greater Patent Office should stand. This site is immediately north of the Library of Congress, facing the east front of the Capitol. It is inevitable that this site must ultimately be occupied by a Government building; and since the Patent Office is the twin sister of the Library of Congress, considering its protection of the products of the human brain, there is no doubt that it should be so located. The present Commissioner of Patents has repeatedly urged in his reports, and orally, to ConGress the necessity for improved and modern quarters for carrying on the work of this important bureau. Every month that passes deepens the gravity of the present situation, and since it will take years to erect such a building as will be required, the action should be taken by Congress at the earliest possible moment. Notes for Inventors Liming Apparatus Needed.--In many localities the soil is limed at intervals and it is very common to see piles of lime spaced apart throughout the fields. The former practice in liming the soil was to apply large amounts (1 to 3 tons per acre) at long intervals. Investigation has shown, however, that, as a rule, it is better practice to apply smaller amounts (500 to 1,000 pounds per acro) at shorter intervals. One difficulty in tho way of a general adoption of the latter practice has been the lack of an implement that will evenly distribute such small applica"ions of lime. It ought not to be difficult to devise sl1ch a distributing machine, and there is no doubt that an efficient implement for this purpose would aid greatly in promoting a desirable agricultural practice. A New Form of Package.-'he wrapping of merchandise, particularly proprietary articles, whether they be medicines or breakfast foods, has received much thought and great advances have been made. There appears, however, to be a feld for improvement in a wrapper which will serve its purpose as a distinctive, attractive label for the package until it has been sold at retail to the eonsumer and can then be utilized to wrap the package for the customer in the usual way. This might be effected in various ways, such, for instance, as by breaking a seal on the label wrapper and reversing the latter to bring its plain side into position to form the outer cover of the package. Such a wrapper should be popular with the retailer, the field of usefulness is practically unlimited and a satisfactory solution of the problem will doubtless require the careful consideration of an ingenious inventor. Fishing by Machine . -Just think of a man out fishing and wanting mechanical help in catching the fish! This is provided by Wladyslaw Filipowski of Hawthorne, Ill., in a patent, No. 999,214, for a fishing device which may be screwed into a post, pile or other support and has a spring arm over which the line is guided and a trigger to which the line is connected so that tension on the line, as when a fish bites, will pull the trigger and release the spring arm so it can pull upon the line. New Baseballs.-Two baseball patents, Nos. 999,526 and 999,527, have been secured by Benjamin F. Shibe of Bala, Pa. One of the patents shows a ball with a rigid, inflexible central core and layers of thread wound upon it, and the other a layer of highly resilient material between the inflexible core and the layers of thread. In the description accompanying patent No. 999,526 the patentee states that heretofore basehalls have heen constructed with the filamentous windings on a central core or foundation of a resilient, yielding substance such as rubber, upon the theory that the “reboundancy” of the structure was derI ved from the action of the resilient I qualIty of the central core, but he has , found that the use of a resilient core is unnecessary to produce resiliency in the ball, but that by the use of a rigid, unyielding and inflexible center core the reaction of the resilient qualities of the windings from a blow is more prompt and of greater effect and that the ball responds or rebounds with greater resiliency from the bat than if the core were more resilient and less resistant. When it is considered that probably more than twenty-five thousand baseballs are made every working day in the year, the importance of improvements in this line becomes evident. A Bow Separator for Motor Cars.-The Packard Motor Car Company is the assignee of a patent, No. 994,852, for a bow separator for vehicle tops, invented by Allen Loomis of Detroit. The separator is especially for use on automobiles, and the machine has a rest' on which is supported the lower long bow of the top when the top is lowered. The separator is to hold the bows apart so they will not rub against one another. Thus the separator is supported on the lower long bow and it has recesses which receive the intermediate bows, and also supports the upper long bow. Thus all the bows (Jan be secured together and be supported on the vehicle and the weight of the top how will not be exerted on the intermediate' bows and the bows will not rub against one another. Melting of Snow.-Samuol I'riedman of New York city has paton ted No. !)!l!l,44G, a snow melting machine, and a method of converting snow into slush, the latter (OIl-sisting in imparting heat to the snow and also adding salt to prevent the formation of caked masses of snow. The maehine has a tank and a chute through which the snow is conveyed to the tank, and a spring-supported plow, which can yield to pass obstructions. Legal Notes Classification of German Patents.-The United States Patent Office has for sale a translation of the Manual of Classification of the German Patent Offic(. This translation and the numerieal list of German patents, classified according to classes, sub-classes and groups, accessible in the Scientific Library of the United States Patent Office, will greatly facilitate the searches in, the German patents. Applying to a Court for a Patent.-In sustaining a demurrer and dismissing the bill in the case of Westinghouse Electric&Manufaeturing Company v. Ohio Brass Company, 169, O. G. page 204, the United States Circuit Court for the District of New Jersey held that the remedy by bilI in equity to obtain a patent which has been refused by the Patent Office, is a part of the application for patent and the failure of the complainants to institute proceedings within one year after the last official action on their application, to wi” the adverse decision of the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia, is a bar to such proceedings by bill in equity. Ex Parte Harris.-In affirming the decision of the Commissioner of Patents, in the case of ex parte Harris, the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia has decided that elaims, for a method of preparing beverages, which include the three steps of preparing, storing and dispensIng the beverages, cover mere aggregations, since each of these steps is complete in itself and independent of the others. The method involved was for preparing beverages such as tea or coffee, in which a current of boiling liquid ,as admitted within a eharge of materIal, the resulting infusion was heated to a steaming condition, and the infusion so produced was stored under the pressure of the steam evolved therefrom and free from contact with the charge. RECENTLY PATENTED INVENTIONS. These columns are open to all patentees. The notices are inserted by s pecial arrangement with the inventors. Term s on application to the Advertising Depa rtment of the SCIEN TIFIC AMERICAN. Pertaining to Apparel. BARRETTE.-A. S CHA R E R , New York, N. Y. 'he objects of this invention are to provide a barrette which, when once placed in the hair, will be securely locked in position by gripping the strands of lair, and thus keeping the stray locks in place, and avoiding danger of displacement or loss ; to provide a barrette which will be simple of construction, ornamental and readily attached and detached. Ot Interest to Farmers. INCUBATOR.-G. H. LEE, Omaha, Neb . Among the principal objects the invention has in view are: To provide means for ventila ting an incubator wberein the ventilation is diffused, preventing the formation of drafts and a voiding the necessity of forcing air through the machine; and to provide a sim ple, efficient and durable construction whereby the ventilation may be varied. THRESHING MACHINE. - C. M. FRICK, 'ownship 23, Pawnee County , Kan. 'his invention provides a feeding conveyer which may be thrown in one position so as to feed the material to the threshing part of the machine, or may be shifted to another position, in which it feeds the material over the end of the machine onto the ground. Another feature is a screen for sifting grain from chUff, which will be automatically maintained in a substantially horizontal position irrespective of whether the machine Is going up or down hill. Of ('eneral Interest. MWHOD OF REMOVING NICOTlN FROM TOBACCO.-J. SA ITi G, Nikolassee, near Berlin, Germany. This method treats tobacco or tobacco products in closed vessels, where the air is rarefied, with low pressure stearn at any tl'mperatul'e below 100 deg. C, while simultaneollHly pl'evfniing every condensation of tl", “team in the tobacco by bea ting the do",', vessels from without hy surrounding liquid, and in conducting the volatilized nicotin with the steam carrying it away to devices of any known construction for recovering the nicotin. 1·"OUNTAIN I'EN.-W. A. HOUSTON, Tracy Pen Co., Tracy, Minn. rhis device insures a uniform flow of ink to the pen nibs and paper , and its simple construction affords means for preventing the dropping of ink from the feeder or pen point to the paper in caSe tbe ink is fed too freely at times, FOUNTAIN PEN whereby the surplus ink SllIJplied is effectively taken up and retained until required, the writing rendered uniform and regular, and blot ting. caused by the dropping of ink from the pen point, is a voided. 'he overflow reservoir is so constructed tbat a relatively large amount of surplus ink may he confined within a small space at the end of the feeeing device. The device illustrated herewith is a sectional view tal,en axially through the nozzle portion of the pen provided with the feeding device. and showing part of the end of tbe ink reservoir. MOLD B'OR CONCHETE STHUC'lJRlCS.-J. S. LINTON, 1580 South Central Park Avenue, Chicago, Ill . The illustration in this case shows a mold or form for making concrete structtues , such as waJ1s, columns, beams, etc., and arranged to securely hold the mold parts in position, to allow of raising the mold as the building of the structure progresses, and to temporarily support the concrete ra torial to be used in the formation of tbe structure. The special means for raising the mold arc shown and described in the application for Letters Patent of the U. S., No. 953,476, granted to Mr. Linton. The mold is pl'Ovided with sets of uprights having brackets for sup-t porting horizontal beams extending from one e set of uprig h ts to the other and to which the C mold sides are secured so that the concrete . material can be readily filled into the space between the opposite mold sides. Hard1vare and Too] .. e RAZOR STROPPING DEVICE.-MILLARD F. COONS, 414 Broadway, New York, N. Y. ' 'he ' in vention has for its purpose the provision > of a device with two arms articulated to· r gether, one of the arms being pivoted to the e frame in which the stropping member is secured , a razor blade being mounted on the other arm. The perspective view of this durable strop shown in the engraving represents tIe device in tlse. While it is not nlcessary to he used a honing strop (', be readily applied to — -____.- RAZOH STROPPING DEVICE I the dfvicc. The device is simple in construc -1 tion and eaSily operated when placed in the ' palm of the hand. ''he blades can be sharp-' ened with great rapidity , and an easy free ' and clean swing of the blades Illay be obtained against the strop member. The complete out-fit weighs three ounces. This improvement is Patent No. 1,000,237, issued August 8, lUll, '. and is to he commerciall' known as the “Millard Simplicity Strapper. “ Heating and Li:hting. FURNACE.-W. SCHEFFLER, Gulfport, Miss . In this patent the invention has reference to furnace” for melting brass, and for other pur· 1 poses, and has lCferCDec more particularly to a furnace in which is p\Ovided a mova hIe support for a crucible or the like, together with means for moving the support into and out of the furnace. Household UtiJjties. KITCHENlTTE STOYK-K S. AIM", New York, N. Y. The inventor mounts a kitchenette stove upon journals or hearirigs and provid(s it with gas from a gas pipe sec tion, this gas pipe section Ill'ing provided with a valve fitting into a stationary fixture to which gas is supplied ; the arl'H ngement being such that when the stove is tilted into eitber I of its two positions the gas is turned on or off by the action of the valve. lacl.ines and lUecbanical Devices. ADDING MACHINK-C. B. CORELL, New York, N. Y. In tbis patent use is made or connected number wheels, a spindle and a stop bar ranging across the whc('ls, the said wheels and spindle being mounted to turn loosely one on the other, each wheel having its periphery provided with consecutive numerals alternating with recesses for engagement by a [lncil in the hand of the bperator, to govern the rela tive movement of the adjacent wheel and spindle. the stop bar turning with the spindle and forming a stop for tbe pencil or tool . SPINDLE LOCK.-MATTHEW O,IALIA, care Heynolds Brothers, 128 Coal Exchange Building, Scranton, Pa. rhe engraving illustrating this lock gives a view partly in elevation and partly in sreiiol, showing the loek completr . rrhe more particular pUnlOSe of the invention is to provide an improved lock for preventing the removal of a spindle, such, for instance, as is commonly employed in factory work, from its monnting. yet allowing the spindle all the freedom of motion which it nOw has, and also permitting the removal of the spindle when the operator wishes to release the lock. Means provide for mounting the latch in position and there is a special provision for supporting the latch hy aie of a rivet; a nd after the latter has bepn IIsed means provide for the rivet being headed up the second time. The late Senator Daniel of Virginia., who was an enthusiastic worker for the inventors, is the author of a bill which expIred wIth the last Congress, but whICh provided for and specified the particular location upon which the Greater Patent Office should stand. This site is immediately north of the Library of Congress, facing the east front of the Capitol. It is inevitable that this site must ultimately be occupied by a Government building; and since the Patent Office is the twin sister of the Library of Congress, considering its protection of the products of the human brain, there is no doubt that it should be so located. The present Commissioner of Patents has repeatedly urged in his reports, and orally, to ConGress the necessity for improved and modern quarters for carrying on the work of this important bureau. Every month that passes deepens the gravity of the present situation, and since it will take years to erect such a building as will be required, the action should be taken by Congress at the earliest possible moment.
This article was originally published with the title "The Need for a New Patent Office" in Scientific American 105, 9, 192-194 (August 1911)