Mr. Jenckes, from the Committee on Patents in the House, recently endeavored to secure the passage of a bill appropriating $6,000 additional compensation for draftsmen, and $15,000 to enable the Patent Office to lithograph drawings. Mr. Beck opposed these amendments on the ground that they had not been before the Committee on Appropriations. Mr. Scofield got considerably muddled about the proposition of Mr. Jenckes, and thought the latter gentleman desired to place -this money in the hands of the Secretary of the Interior and the Commissioner of Patents, so that they could take it from year to year without coming to Congress and asking for appropriations. Mr. Jenckes said " No sir!" Whereupon Mr. Scofield desired to have the amendment read by the clerk, and finding that he had got off the track, dropped quietly into his seat and said no more on the subject. Mr. Dawes, Chairman of the Committee on Appropriations, seemed to understand the matter better, but opposed the measure for the same reasons as were given by Mr. Beck ; but Mr. Dawes waxed wrothy, and charged that the Patent Office, though growing in importance every day, had been seriously crippled between thieves on the one hand and inconsiderate legislation on the other, but he was unwilling to vote for Mr. Jenckes' amendments simply because he considered it an irregular way to appropriate money ; and furthermore he was unwilling to allow the amendment to be inserted in the deficiency bill in the last hours of a fragmentary session of Congress. Mr. Ela favored the measure for the purpose of allowing the Patent Office to avail itself of the new process of photolithography; by which every examiner, and every other person who may wish, may have copies of the drawings which are annexed to specifications of patents at the very low rate of fifteen or twenty cents each. . " I hold in my hand," he said, " copies of some of those drawings by this new process, which cost only about fifty cents, while by the old process of producing copies for presentation to the courts, or for any other purpose, they might cost anywhere from ten to one hundred dollars. I'look upon it as one of the most wonderful inventions of the age, and it is of such importance to the Patent Office that I hope this House will not refuse to allow that Office to avail itself of its use. It will not only be a great saving to the Government, but it will also be of the greatest advantage to those who have dealings with the Patent Office. By this process we not only get perfect copies of these drawings, but they may bs enlarged or decreased in size as those who need them may require." Mr. Jenckes tried again to convince the House that his amendment was necessary in order to enable the Patent Office to carry on its work harmoniously and to meet the j ust demands of inventors, but Mr. Dawes was inexorable though confessing that he did not know what were the necessities of the Patent Office. He seemed to cast some blame upon the Commissioner of Patents for his (Dawes') ignorance, as the Commissioner had been called before the Committee on Appropriations in reference to the estimates for the coming year, " but they got no information from him, and they brought in their bill without the benefit of his experience or knowledge of the wants of that department." Mr, Jenckes, in his anxiety to get the measure through, as- serted that " the Patent Office must necessarily break down after the first of July next, unless some such, legislation as he proposed was carried into effect. The announcement of such a calamity had no effect upon Mr. Beck. He was unwilling to throw open the flood-gates and permit the Commissioner of Patents to expend money when he chooses. In connection with the discussion, Mr. Jenckes is officially reported to have stated that the receipts of the Patent Office this year will exceed the expenditures by more than $1,000,-000, which seems to us almost incredible, as the monthly receipts since January have not averaged quite $60,000. In spite of Mr. Jenckes' persevering efforts, however, the amendment was lost, and we must now look forward to the fulfillment of his gloomy prophecy. We trust, however, that the Commissioner of Patents, upon whose shoulders appears to rest the responsibility, will take some active measures to avert the calamity And here we should like to inquire what is the matter with the representatives of the thriving little State of Rhode Island ? Senator Sprague has recently uttered some dismal forebodings of evil to the country; and now Representative Jenckes predicts an utter break down of one of the most useful departments of the Government unless a few more thousands of dollars are appropriated towards its expenditures. We can assure our readers, however, that they need not fear any such calamity. The business of the Patent Office will go on, and as usual. The alaim sounded by Mr. Jenckes, however, will do no harm. It may serve to wake up the officials to a keener sense of their duties.
This article was originally published with the title "The Patent Office before Congress Again"