8 Replies Latest reply on Sep 20, 2016 12:47 PM by William Walker

    US Government Patents Issued in 1800s

    Newbie

      Where can I find a copy of the patent my ancestor was issued in 1877?  I have the patent numbers from the "Annual Report Commissioner of Patents for the year 1877".  They are 192,916 and 196,016

        • Re: US Government Patents Issued in 1800s
          Alan Walker Scout

          You can request copies of your father's patents by contacting Archives2Reference@nara.gov. A typical case file will include a copy of the printed patent, with drawings; correspondence between the inventor's attorney and the Patent Office; including specifications and oaths; and copies of receipts for fees. 

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          • Re: US Government Patents Issued in 1800s
            Rebecca Collier Scout

            U.S. Patents are now stored off-site in Missouri. Please contact NARA's Regional Facility in Kansas City, MO for access to these records. The email address is KansasCity.Archives@nara.gov

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            • Re: US Government Patents Issued in 1800s
              Newbie

              Thanks to Rebecca and Alan for their recommended contact. I will keep my question posted until I receive a reply from the National Archives in Kansas City, Missouri. 

               

              I was also able to find, by searching the internet, the Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office for the year 1877 and there is one sketch for each of his two patents.  I want to verify this is indeed the same ancestor, by verifying his address with his address in the 1870 or 1880 US Census, so I am hoping the National Archives in Kansas City can send a copy of the original patent request with possibly his home or business address.

               

              "Hensville", a newly designated historic district in downtown Toledo, Ohio, gave credit to John Hofman (one "f" and one "n") for operating a butcher business in 1867 in one of their restored buildings.  In one US Census, He also reported his occupation as "saloon". If the patent for the beer cask is his, it is possible he ran a saloon at the same business address.  I am trying to convince the Hensville historian to correct the spelling of his last name, which is legally "Hoffman", but I am not having any success, so documented proof is my goal

              • Re: US Government Patents Issued in 1800s
                Newbie

                Just updating with good news!  The National Archivist in KC, Bob Beebe replied on the same day I sent my inquiry with all of the information I am seeking, plus an additional patent filed a few years earlier by possibly the same John Hoffman, since the signatures are similar.  Bob Beebe also provided the cost for copying and mailing the patent file information. 

                 

                If I lived close to KC, but I am in Oregon, I could visit the NARA and copy the information myself for only 25 cents/page, or take photos for free with an "approved camera". 

                  • Re: US Government Patents Issued in 1800s
                    William Walker Wayfarer

                    I was interested to the responses to the question, because although I have my great grandfather's original two patents, when I contacted the Kansas City site I found that those two patent's files consist of 53 pages - obviously a lot of associated material that I do not have.  Bob Beebe advised that my cost for copies will be a minimum mail order fee of $20.00 for the first 25 pages, and .80 cents per page thereafter.

                     

                    Bill Walker

                      • Re: US Government Patents Issued in 1800s
                        Newbie

                        Bill,

                         

                        You are lucky to have your ancestor's patent file.

                         

                        I am not sure what your question is, but my research is still in process.  The cost seems rational, given the cost of copying and mailing.  If you already have your ancestor's patent file, is there value in obtaining the extra pages?

                         

                        My objective is to verify whether the patents I found are actually those of my ancestor, and not another man, living in the same city at the same time.  I know the address of my ancestor from the 1860 and 1870 US Census and I have his signature from his 1869 passport application.  Unfortunately, in comparing the signatures, from the partial two 1877 patent pdf files the National Archivist emailed in reply to my request, the first letter of his signature name does not match.  Also, the patent filing only has his city and state as the address and his street address is not listed, so I can not use his address to verify.   Of course, there is a chance, my ancestor changed his signature, to make it more "Americanized" (his prior signature uses a Gothic German letter "J" and he used his middle initial M), and he changed his first name to John from Johan when he immigrated in the 1850's.  I don't want to assume the two men are the same person, only to discover later I was incorrect. I looked for another man with the same name on the US Census, and found just one on the 1860 Census, but no one on the 1870 Census, other than my ancestor. 

                         

                        To sum up, I have not requested the patent files from the National Archives yet, since I have not been able to verify this is my ancestor.  If I can verify they are indeed the same man, I will gladly pay the small fee to obtain this information for my family history file. 

                          • Re: US Government Patents Issued in 1800s
                            William Walker Wayfarer

                            John,

                            I really didn't have a question - my only purpose was to give an idea of the charges in the discussion.  My great grandfather, Isaac Walker, was a spinner by trade and the patents have to do with a spinning machine.  We are fortunate to have a large volume of records, including photos, from my Walker family line - but I guess I have an insatiable appetite for any possible new information, hence my interest in getting copies of the 53 pages.  Isaac also had an English patent for the spinning machine, of which I have the original.  Maybe I'll contact the English Archives.

                            At the present time I am in Denmark researching my wife's Danish relatives - and I am running into a confusion of similar names spelled differently (Pedersen/Peterson - Hansen/Hanson - Olsen/Olson), so I can understand your difficulty in verifying your ancestor's name..

                            Best regards,

                            Bill

                      • Re: US Government Patents Issued in 1800s
                        William Walker Wayfarer

                        John,

                         

                        Just to add a follow-up to your patent discussions, I ordered copies of my great-grandfather's patents from Bob Beebe, National Archives, Kansas City.  I ordered the complete case files (1890 and 1892) which include all documents, notes, memos, slips, etc., associated with the process; they totaled 53 pages.  Bob had advised that the files could be either photo copies or scans.  He told me that the advantage of scans was that they would be in color, whereas the photo copies were black and white.  I opted for scans (there was no difference in price).  The total cost was $40.40.

                         

                        I just received the PDF's, and they give me a treasure trove of previously unknown information about the entire rejection/approval/documentation process my great grandfather experienced, which ultimately led to issuance of the patents.  I am glad that I got scans, because many pages contained entries in red, and (I think) that the 125 year old paper looks best in it's naturally aged color.  I posted a few samples on my profile page photos.

                         

                        Bill Walker