The Secretary of the Interior, in his Report makes some excellent suggestions respecting the Patent Office. He says:— "There is probably no bureau connected with the government in whose operations the public at large feel a deeper interest than those of the Patent Office. It is inseparably associated with every interest of o ur country. The mechanic, the merchant, the manutactu- rer, and the farmer, are all concerned in every thing which diminishes the labor of production in any of the departments of industry. Our people are eminently practical and ingenious. They are constantly employed in the discovery of new means of accomplishing important results at a diminished rate of time, labor, and money. The steam engine, the cotton gin, and the magnetic telegraph, are striking and imperishable memorials of' the success which has attended their efforts, In the early period of our history, w hen population was sparse and the prices of agricultural productions high, the labor of the country was directed mainly to the cultivation of the soil. But, as population progressively increases, more attention is devoted to mechanical pursuits and the invention of machinery by which the work of many may be accomplished by a few. Not a d ay passes with out furnishing some evidence of this fact in the form of ap- plicatios for patents for important inventions ;:': L discoveries. The mechanical j';.;: u ihas therefore become one of great magnitude, and itis justly entitle! to all tbe protection aiid assistance which can be bestowed by Congress consistently with the provisions of the Constitution. The general principle of our patent system seem to have met with universal approbation, and to have been attended with beneficent re« suIts in practice. Since the organization oJ the office in .1836, it has advanced with rapid strides. At that state one “ examining clerk” was enabled to make all the preliminary in- vestlgation/j which were reqnired to ascertain whether the applicant was entitled to ll. pa.. tent; but such has been the increase oftbe business that six principal examiners and ils many assistants are not now able to keep pace with it. The number of models in the office on the first day o1 January, 1836, was 1,[)69 In the beginning oCthe year 1851, they had increased to 17,257, and at the close of the present year they will fall but little short 0 '23,000. 1f they should continue to increase in this proportion, malting no allowance for tihc augmentation consequent °n the incrca o; population, by the close of the present v;.!!: •, they will amount to 150,000, and the ; - of the present Patent Olfictf edifice will not be sufficient for their convement display. To provide against this contingency, as well as to accomplish other important result I respectfully propose that the Commissioner ol Patents be required to have pre pared \> is pub- Ucation a careful analytical and descriptive index of all discoveries and inventions which have been patented, accompanied by accurate descriptions and. drawings which wiil fullv explam the principles and practical operation of the subject of the patent. The ad vantages of such a publication wouhi be almost incalculable. It wouM not only perpetuate the invention or discovery by avoiding the w.- aJities by fire and other causes, but it would multiply and diffuse among the people al large the speci fications and descriptions, and SUbstantially bring home to every neighbor- h°od to which a copy of the work might be sent the benefits of the Patent Office. In much the larger number of cases the necessity for preserving and displaying the models would be obviated. Theoi the published report would be a safer and more convenient depository for them than the cabinets of the Patent Office, and they would be accessibie to everybody. Inventors Hl remote parts of the country would placed on an equal footing with those residing near the seat of Government.— When their thoughts were turned to a particular class of machinery, instead of being compelled to make a journey to Washington to see what had already been done in that department of the arts, they could at once tu™ to the a«alytical index and ascertain what progress had been made by otherS. The report of Mr. Stansbury on the London Industrial Exhibition of 1851, to which allu- sioii was made in my last annual report, has been delayed by causes beyond his control. it will be ready to be laid before Congress in the course of a few weeks. l We like the above; we hope that something of this kind of policy will be carried out for the benefit of inventors. It is n0w four years since we proposed the same thing, only we thought at the time that the Smithsonian Instit ute could not do better than per- lorm such a task—an illustrated history ol American inventions and discoveries, With respect to the models, it would please us if Mr. Stuart had recommended that those belonging to rejected applicants should be returned ; of what use is it to retain th they being only duplicates. Some thousands of them are rusting in the Patent Office cellar.
This article was originally published with the title "The Patent Office"