Thursday, August 24, 2006

Do You Know!

The first U.S. patent was issued to Samuel Hopkins for a process for making potash and pearl ash, types of potassium compounds used to make soap and fertilizer. The patent was issued on July 31, 1790 and signed by President George Washington and Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson. Surprisingly, even though, this was the first patent issued, it wasn’t U.S. Patent # 1. Why? Prior to Patent Act of July 04, 1836, U.S. patents were issued by name and date rather than number. The U.S. Patent Office had already issued nearly 10,000 patents, when a fire destroyed many of the original records in December 1836. Using private files, the U.S. Patent Office restored 2,845 patents records, and issued a number beginning with an “X” and called the “X-Patents.” Thus the first patent ever issued was actually designated Patent X1. U.S. Patent 1, the first patent issued under new numbering system, was issued to Senator John Ruggle for a cog mechanism for locomotive wheels which was, in fact, reinvention of the wheel. Ruggle designed a new train wheel that yielded more traction and prevented sliding.

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