This Week in Intellectual Property History


On July 13, 1836 the U. S. Patent Office issued Patent No. 1 to John Ruggles of Thomaston, Maine for traction wheels used in locomotive steam engines.

The Patent was not the first patent issued by the Patent Office but rather was the first one issued under a new patent numbering system implemented by the Office. Prior to Ruggles, there had been 9,957 non-numbered patents issued.

It just so happens that Ruggles was Chairman of the Committee on Patents of the U.S. Senate, and was instrumental in patent law reform. This could explain how his application made it to the top of the pile.

Through the years, several other interesting patents have also been issued on July 13th, such as:

In 1880, Stephen D. Field of New York City was issued a U.S. patent for “propelling railway cars by electromagnetism” (No. 229,991). This patent was for the first electric streetcar to run successfully with current generated by a stationary dynamo.

In 1897, the brilliant Italian scientist and inventor Guglielmo Marconi received a U.S. patent for his wireless telegraph machine (No. 586,193).

In 1781, a British patent was taken out for the first compound steam engine by Jonathan Carter Hornblower (No. 1298)

In 1937, a patent was issued to Leroy Lind for the Servi-Soft water softener (No. 2,081,157). The technology is still used in watering softening systems today.

Make some Intellectual Property History this week!

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