[ H.M. Patent Office, London. ] Manuscript document containing 'Searches' into the 'Novelty' and 'Validity' of around 150 patent applications, with diagrams and index.

H.M. Patent Office, London (now the Intellectual Property Office) [ Sir Henry Bessemer; Sir John Coode; Gusttav Overbeck; Crosse & Blackwell; Wedgwood; Bryant & May ]
Publication details: 
H.M. Patent Office, 25 Southampton Buildings, London, WC. 13 March 1878 to 19 December 1882.
SKU: 18990

The Patent Office - now the Intellectual Property Office - was established by the Patent Law Amendment Act of 1852, which simplified the procedure for obtaining patents of invention and reduced costs. In 1883 another Act of Parliament brought into being the office of Comptroller General of Patents, with, according to the National Archives, 'a staff of patent examiners to carry out a limited form of examination; mainly to ensure that the specification described the invention properly, but without any investigation into novelty'. The present document, which fits exactly into the period immediately predating the 1883 act, is the work of a freelance examiner, employed on behalf of private individuals like Sir Henry Bessemer and Sir John Coode, and companies ranging from Wedgwood the potters to Bryant and May the match makers, to establish the 'Novelty' (newness of an application) and 'Validity' (examination on behalf of third party disputing an application) of a wide range of patents (for example industrial, railway, textile). 235pp., 4to, including thirty pages of parallel thumb-indexes at rear, one of them giving the names of the parties making the applications, and the other of subjects. In fair condition, on aged and worn paper, in quarter-bound notebook (carrying the ornate label of Partridge & Cooper, London stationers) with maroon leather spine and marbled endpapers. A substantial vertical strip has been torn away from the fore-edge of the front cover, on the remains of which is neatly written the word 'SEARC<...>' (i.e. 'SEARCHES'). On the front pastedown: '<...> Buildings, | <...> London, W.C.' (i.e. the address of the Patent Office, 25 Southampton Buildings, London, W.C.). A meticulous and neatly-presented document, with the main body of the entries in ink, and additions in pencil. Each entry gives the details of the client, a brief description of the subject, the date of the examination, and the date the resulting 'Letter' or 'Report' was sent to the client by the examiner, with a list of the reference numbers of the patents consulted in connection with the application, arranged in columns. Textual notes are appended to some entries (for example, an enquiry on behalf of W. Heath & Co, London, regarding the 'Validity of Jebb's & Wilhelm's patents [...] making glucose &c from maize', is accompanied by a page carrying five diagrams, with a description in sixteen stages of the 'Process'). A section at the rear of the document records how much the author was paid, in guineas, for his work, including a column of 'Bad debts', and another giving yearly totals, 1873-1884 (totalling 2164 guineas, and including 328 ½ guineas in 1881). As an example of the nature of the work, on 27 June 1882 the author gives his 'Verbal opinion' to Messrs Hunters, Gwatkin & Haynes of 9 New Square, regarding the 'Validity of Ward, 2538.81 | Lighting & heating trains by electricity generated by dynamos driven from axles': 'That Ward cannot maintain any claim to the general idea of warming railway carriages by resistances heated by a current from dynamo driven from axle'. Numerous diagrams throughout, including a full-page one of 'railway switches & crossings', for an application by the civil engineer Richard Price Williams (1827-1916); and four diagrams accompanying a four-page entry for Spielmann & Co, London, regarding the 'Validity of Siemens' patents | Gas burners & lamps', for which the author was paid 25 guineas. (Another application by Williams, again with a diagram, is for a 'fire jet - to force water from low pressure mainn by means of small quantity of high pressure water - Greathead & Martindale 4728.78'.) An enquiry by Blake & Snow, Cannon Street, London - 'Can tramway be made without infringing any existing patent?' - is accompanied by eight diagrams, seven of them crude and one finished. The first entry is for an application by the Welsh engineer Charles Scriven (1848-1909), of Leeds Old Foundry, and the last, for Captain J. T. Bucknill of the Royal Engineers, relates to the 'Novelty of stopping a vessel by ejecting stored water or air under pressure'. (Another entry for 'Capn. Bucknill R.E. | War Office, Horse Guards, | Whitehall, London, | S.W.', regards the 'Novelty of working railway points and signals by hydraulic power'.) The longest entry, covering four pages (62-65) is for an application by Satchell & Chapple, 6 Queen Street, Cheapside, London, 15 April 1880, regarding the 'Validity of Stone, 2222.75, gimp looms', for which the author received 35 guineas. A note to the entry, which includes a captioned diagram of 'Dyer's shuttle', relates it to the court case 'Dalton, Barton & Coy. Ltd. v. Dyer'. Of particular interest is an examination on behalf of the chemist Sir Henry Bessemer ('Henry Bessemer, | Denmark Hill'), 5 March 1879, into 'all patents relating to the manufacture of steel, by Sir J. Whitworth & Krupp | any specifications of patents for making plates or sheets of iron and steel since January 1876. | titles and names of any patents in course of being taken out for plates or sheets'. (There are three other entries relating to Bessemer, the first (of two pages) for 'Tyres', the second for 'Specns. for rolling iron & steel', and the third for 'Tin plates'.) For their part, Sir J. Whitworth & Co. Ltd, 24 Great George Street, Westminster, enquire: 'Is gun carriage patented?', with a diagram of the item in question. J. Wedgwood & Sons ('Etruria, Stoke-upon-Trent') enquire: 'Can closet pan [to lavatory] be made without infringing any of Jennings' patents.' There is also an entry (marked 'Verbally nothing') for an 'adding machine' (with diagram) for the meteorologist William Marcet (1828-1900), MD, 14 Stratton Street, Piccadilly, with diagram including ten-line caption. An entry for 'W. B. & C.', into 'Burstow, 4707.80 velocipedes', is accompanied by two diagrams. Another for Matthews & Greetham, 26 Bedford Row, London, relates to the 'Validity of Germeuil-Bonnaud, 4023.78 coloured photographs. Prints faintly from negative, colours, sensitives and prints again from negative'; and another, for V. H. B. Barrington-Kennett, 15 Hyde Park Gardens, concerns the 'Novelty of having seat of bicycle movable backwards and forwards'. Captain L. V. Lloyd of the Grenadier Guards has an entry on the 'Novelty of railway signal: - | put up mechanically by engine as it passes, lowered electrically by engine when it has reached a certain distance'. Also: 'Baron de Overbeck' (Gustav Overbeck, 1830-1894), 23 Ryder St, St James's, four-page entry regarding the 'Validity of Johnson (Bernstein), 4407.82 Galvanic battery with positive electrode of amalgam of potassium or sodium in bag of fabric treated with caustic potass or soda', including section of references headed 'U.S.A.'; G. N. Peel, Bruton Works, Somerset, 'Machine for cutting spokes', with captioned diagram; Crosse & Blackwell, on the 'Novelty of turning down top of body of preserve tin so as to form double thickness. The tin is opened by tearing this double strip away from solder joint at top and from single thickness of body'; two by Bryant & May, the first regarding the 'Validity of Haseltine (Young), 1317.75 cutting match splints'. and the second regarding the 'Validity of those claims of 2145.78, Herbst, which relate to making metal box, figs. 2, by stamping blank fig 1.'; A. W. Faber, for 'pencils for marking on glass &c', and another asking the question (with diagram) 'Will pencil infringe any existing patent?'; John Dillon-Scally, Novelty of registering number of passengers in tramcar and distance travelled by means of registering apparatus actuated by moveable step'; Alfred Dodman, Highgate Foundry, King's Lynn, 'Novelty of locking telegraph instrument when signal is at "all right" so that "line clear" cannot be given again until the train on line has passed the box & raised the signal to "danger"'. Other interesting entries include one undertaken for Sir John Coode (1816-1892), 5 Westminster Chambers, regarding the 'Novelty of means & apps. for emptying barges &c. of dredging'; a 'buckle' by Captain E. E. McBride, Junior United Services Club, and a 'triangular nail' by Bordier & Co, both with diagrams; 'continuously japanning wire' for Edwin Fox of Edwin Fox & Co, London and Sheffield. De La Rue & Co of 110 Bunhill Row, London, enquire: 'Is there any patent in force for telescopic drinking cup with cap screwing on to foot'; a corset, with diagram, for Potter & Sandford, London; Captain Johan Westberg, 'Novelty of apps. for cleaning ship's [sic] bottoms' (with diagram); J. W. Nordenfelt of London has an entry (with diagram) for a 'Breech-loading gun. | first ½ handle withdraws gas-check during next twin a pinion (1/4 circle) gears into the rack & traverses the breech block'.