We are not surprised to learn that President Grant has appointed Samuel S. Fisher, Esq.,of Cincinnati, to succeed Judge Foote as Commissioner of Patents. The Sun, which " shines for all," referring to this appointment, says " it was made by the President on grounds of personal friendship," wherein the Sun is entirely mistaken. Mr. Fisher was selected by Secretary Cox on the ground of peculiar fitness for the position ; and we happen to know that lie hesitated to yield a valuable and extensive law practice to assume charge of an office which could give him but $4,500 a year. Before entering upon his duties as Commissioner of Patents, Mr. Fisher will surrender his practice, and thus re-remove an objection which has been raised against his appointment. As a man of honor, he would not presume to occupy a position where his judgment could not operate entirely free from considerations of personal interest. Mr. Fisher is well known in Ohio and in the United States Courts as an able, industrious lawyer, and especially skillful in patent law causes. But our inventors, whose interests are to be so largely in his hands/vvill naturally be anxious to learn something more respecting his character and fitness for the position. Mr. Fisher is comparatively a young man, being but 37 years of age. He is a native of Michigan ; studied law at Philadelphia, and afterward removed to Cincinnati, where, for fifteen years, he practiced his profession with that success which always follows ability, industry,and sterling integrity. During the war, and when one-hundred-day regiments were called out, Mr. Fisher served as Colonel of the 138th Ohio, operating in front of Petersburg, Va. He now holds the responsible position of President of the Board of Education, of Cincinnati, and is highly esteemed in that city as a Christian citizen and an efficient co-worker in all public enterprises and reforms. Mr. Fisher was appointed entirely without solicitation on his own part. He is not indebted to any outside influence for the honor confeired upon him, and enters upon his duties entirely independent of political or patent cliques. From our knowledge of the character and antecedents of the new incumbent, we do not hesitate to say, that inventors may rely upon him as a true friend; and, furthermore, that the duties of the Commissionership will be administered by himself, and without the intrusive assistance of certain parties who seem to act as though the Patent Office was under their special guardianship, and the Commissioner a mere appendage to a lobby, which has cast a shadow over the good character of that Office. Commissioner Fisher is a hard worker,and, if the business of the Patent Office flags if there are any drones in this hive of industry he will be apt to inquire the reason why. We commend this appointment as one of the very best that could have been made. It assures us that the administration of the Patent Office is about to return to what it was when Mason and Holt were Commissioners.
This article was originally published with the title "The New Commissioner of Patents" in Scientific American 20, 18, 281 (May 1869)