Thursday, July 31, 2008

July 31, 1790: first US patent granted

July 31 is the anniversary of the first US patent, granted to Samuel Hopkins on July 31, 1790.

See also
What have non-technically trained lawyers contributed to IP law?

Wired reports:

Hopkins got his patent at New York City (then the national capital) July 31, complete with signature of President Washington. It covered a method of making potash and pearl ash by burning wood ashes a second time before dissolving them to extract potash. Potash and pearl ash were important ingredients in making glass, china, soap and fertilizer.

Wired also mentioned Senator Ruggles, who received what would be the first NUMBERED patent:

That's because the government issued 9,957 patents before starting a numbering system July 13, 1836. On that occasion, U.S. Patent No. 1 went to John Ruggles of Maine for a traction wheel for steam locomotives. Ruggles happened to be chairman of the Senate Committee on Patents. Two years later, the Senate investigated him for alleged corruption regarding a different patent case. He was exonerated.


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