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Report of the Commissioner of Patents for the year .. online

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■of a different class, but of little less importance, such as machines for making nails*
bolts, nuts, screws, horseshoes, sheet^metal ware, as well as a great variety of
tools and implements for working in metals, which can claim no such special
' impulse, may very properly be attributed directly to wants growing out of, and
increasing with, the general advancement of the nation.

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Glass Q.


The inventioDB in this class relate to processes and apparatus for roasting and
smelting ores; refining iron and making steel; the making of new alloys; the
washing and separating of ores ; and for amalgamating and collecting the precious
metfds. About fifty patents have been allowed during this year in this class,
some of them for very valuable improvements.

• In roasting ores an important improvement has been made, which consists in
Mssing the ore in fine powder through flame, or the hot gases firom combustion.
By this process each minute particle of ore is roasted by itself, and the residt is
tluit the roasted ore is in fine powder instead of being in an agglomerate mass,
as it is when the ore is roasted in a heap. It is well known mat but a small
part of the gold in pyritous ores is obtained by the ordinary modes of working.
If not roasted, the gold is encased in the snlphurcts so as not to be reached by
the mercury. If ^e ore has been roasted in the common mode, the incrusting
slag or eardiy oxides still protect the gold, to a great extent, from the action ot
the mercoiy. By the new mode of roastiog, it is believed that the precious
metals will be found diffused through the fine powder in globules of easy access
to the mercury.

The powdered ore may either be blown through the flame from a reverbera-
tory furnace, or it may be allowed to Ml through a shaft, and then be acted
upon while falling by flame and hot vapors or gases. Immediately after the
ore leaves the flame it is thrown or falls into water, whereby the earthy matters
in it are further disint^ated.

The production of iron and steel has been greatly advanced during the year.
The pnncipal aim of inventors has been to produce the bettelr qualities of iron,
and, especially, to make iron possessing many of the qualities of steel. The
laige demand for the best kind of iron for war and naval purposes, and for the
Moaoction of a better class of agriculturaL implements, has greatly stimulated
diifl branch of industry.

It has long been an object with inventors to make malleable iron on a large
aeale directly from the ore, instead of making first pig iron, or cast metal, and
then bumfaig out the carbon in it by puddling or other means. Several patents
have been issued for accomplishing this. These are on the principle, not now
new, of reducing the ore by the hot products of combustion, yet keeping the
tenperature so low as not to fuse the mass of ore. When reduced, the metal is
raised to a welding heat, and at once formed into blooms, one fire serving both
ibr tlie welding and the reducing processes.

Several minor improvements have been patented on what is commonly known
«B the Bessemer process.

Three patents have been issued for making steel, by combining in diff^^rent
modes cast and wrought iron, the novelty consisting only in the mode of effecting
the result. One of these processes consists in heating in a crucible the wrought
hon to a white heat, and uien letting into the crucible pig or cast iron directly
from a blast furnace or cupola. Another investor makes a kind of steely iron,
by melting together, in proper proportions, particular kinds of cast iron and bar
iron. The third process consists in treating the cast iron on the puddling
hearth until it becomes granular and spongy, then . throwing it into water, and
reducing it to powder. This powder is then enclosed in a wrougfat-iron box,
which is subjected to a welding heat, and the box and its contents placed under
the hammer.

Two patents have been issued for new alloys of the metal aluminum. By
<Hie of these very close imitations of gold ai-o obtained. The other is for an
improved gun-metal.

About twenty patents have been issued for improvements in gold- washers,
o i» > e p tti » torg, ana apparatus for collecting gold and silver by the process of


amalgamatiug them with mercniy. Oompared with former years, this shows in-
creased interest in mining for the precions metals. Several of these improve-
ments are for the new mining fields of Nevada and Colorado Territories.
It is scarcely possible to classiiy the inventions in this department
For a while most of the devices consisted in making different parts of the
machines of amalgamated plates.

For grindmg and amalgamating at the same time, all the known machines have
received improvements. The ominary tnb and corrugated moUer is more used
in Califomia, but not to the exclusion of the arastra and German barrel. In
washers and separators the gig-mill seems now to be the favorite, though the
old-fashioned ripple and sluice machines have received considerable attention.

Class B.


The improvements upon the construction and equipment of vessels-of-war are
numerous, and relatively of the greater interest; nevertheless, because the atten-
tion of inventors is fixed on the navy, the number of the applications of the
usual character, presentit^g improvements upon steering and propelling appa-
ratus, sails and rigging, and the like, havQ increased, these improvements being
applicable both to the commercial marine and to the vessels-of-war. Thus the
number of cases of this class acted upon has increased, amounting to 127 cases
for the year.

Much ingenuitv has been applied to the defensive metallic armor for
"iron-clad" vessels. The improvements in this range relate to the kind of
plates, to plates solid as one mass, and as divided into strata or laminae, to the
mstening of the armor to elastic cushions or intermediates between the plates,
and to elastic backing of the aimor.

In one case the invention places a stratum of wood exteriorly in front of the
metallic defence, in order that a part of the force or momentum of the shot may
be absorbed by its action on the wood before it comes in contact with the interior
iron plates ; it is also proposed that plating in laminae be used, the strata ot
which are to be held somewhat apart by angle iron ; this, on the ground that the
greater action of the shot on the exterior plate, and upon plate afler plate, will
dispose of more of the momentum of the shot than i£ the plates were rigidly
connected in one mass.

There has been invented a combination of plating elastic intermediates, back-
ing and elastic washers for the bolts; this to provide for a slight but general
yielding of the armor upon being struck by the shot.

A d^ensive armor has been invented with openings in it These recesses are
an^lar and funnel-shaped, and are intended to receive, and, in connexion with
hollow beiuns, to convey the shot harmlessly across the ship ; ftisible metal is
proposed to be cast between two separated plates upon the ship/s side. Com-
pound plates have been invented, such as a mass composed of rasible metal cast
between a network of wix)ught-iron bars diagonally crossing each other.

These instances show a wide range in the action of the inventive mind; and
it is by such essays, changes, aqd improvements, that an approach to the per-
fect will be attained.

Attention has been given to the Ericsson or " monitor turret." The improve-
ments in this respect propose no change of general principle or mode of struc-
ture; they have reference to the perfecting of the details of construction, to ad-
ditional or different supports, to facilities of rotation, and to greater conveniences
in working the guns. Port-hole stoppers have received much attention, and,
apparently, with valuable results.

There are cases of improvement upon the steam ram, to be used in penetrating
and sinking the enemy's vessels. These relate to the strength of the beak, or
striking part, and are intended to give, at its supporting parts, additional
strength of construction. There has been attention to the use of4]ie oscillating

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ram, so arranged as to strfte repeated blows. There are also inrentions for
grappling with the enemy's ships, and for boring holes into their hnlls under
water; and inventions for conveying torpedoes under the enemy's ship, and so on.

The ingenuity which has been exercised upon submarine batteries appears to
possess interest. These batteries are guns arranged to be discharged under and
through the water, in order that the shot may penetrate the enemy's ship below
her line of flotation. It was, and is now, generally believed that a gun fired
with muzzle under water would burst. In one case the improvement consists
in filling the bore of the gun, beyond its loading, with an air-tight metallic case
or cylinder; on firing the gun the metallic case is sent out, and, collapsing, its
contained air lightens up or gives elasticity to the water; this not only permits
guns to be fired safely through the water, but it is said that an experimental
shot from the gun thus used passed through twenty-five feet of water, and
thence through both of the sides of the bottom of an old hull of a vessel de-
voted to experimental practice.

Another inventor proposed to accomplish the result by the extension of air-
t%ht sliding, or telescopic tubes, from the gun towards the o^ect of attack.

An examination of this class shows that a patent was issued to Thomas Gj^gg,
of Connellsville, Pennsylvania, at the early date of March 19, 1814, for a metallic-
pli^e-protected vessel, having angular sides, in order to deflect an enemy's shot
upward or downward, as it should strike above or below the apex of the angle
of the sides of the vessel. This not only presents the first invention of metallic
defence for vessels, but also Mr. Gregg's angular structure bv far anticipates
Captain Jones's angulated system of ship-building, ''patented in England as
kte as the year 1859."

To depart, in this instance, from the rule of not introducing names from the
h^ character of the parties and their former relations with our government,
the patented improvements of the Messrs. Stevens, pertaining to their steam
battery, evince the extreme of skill and Burpassing inventive genius. These
improvements are so numerous, and so closely bound together into a system,
that the necessarily short expositions of this report can do no justice to them.
It may not be g^erally known that their experiments resulting in these im-
provements were commenced as early as the year 1816. Mr. Stevens, the elder,
and his son are regarded in Europe as ihejathers of the art of the application
of metallic defensive armor to vessels.

The investigation of the office, in this class, has brought to light certain fisicts
to which it may be well to refer.

A committee composed of a rear-admiral and four post-captains of the British
navy, in ihe rq>ort on harbor defence, recommend, as the principal expedient,
the obetruction of harbors by sinking in their channels vessels laden with stone,
thus recognizing this expedient as an accorded right of warfare. An English-
man has invented a sheU, which, on exploding, is to throw odt suffbccUing and
pwrnrnMs flames.

These propositions had been entertained in Great Britain, and yet British
sympathizers with the southern rebels had the presumption to express indigna-
tion oecause vessels laden with stone were suuk in Charleston harbor, and be-
eanae Greek fire was used in shelling that city. A sound philanthropy rejoices
in the successful use of all expedients known in warfsu-e to secure the great ob-
jecty the preservation of the integrity of this nation, and the permanence of its
fonn of government.

Glass S.


The progress of improvement in steam, air, and gas engines has been reg-
ular ana important throughout the year, not only in the minor features of exist-
ing apparatus, but in some instances in radical characteristics.

AiMW engine, composed of an oblong cylinder, has two pistons of like form,

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working one within and at right angles to the other. Both pistons arc coo*
nected to the crank-shaft in sach a manner that, when one is passing the dead
point, the other is exerting its maximum force. A very ingenious valv^e is so
applied as to act as an induction and eduction valve to both pistons. This
valve is capable of reversing thB motion of the engine hj a simple change of its

Many improvements have been made in balanced slide valves, and in pistons.

An apparatus for preventing the priming of steam boilers consists of a series
of pipes attached at intervals to the steam space of the boiler from the front to
the rear end, and leading to the main steam pipes, placed on both sides of the
boilers which pipes convey the steam to the engine. , The object of this ar-
rangement is to take the steam from where it is generated in the boiler, and thus
prevent the rush of steam over the surface of the water to its eduction port.

In a device for governing the speed of engines by the velocity with whicii
the steam enters an enlargement of the steam pipe, containing a piston and
valve, the piston is so connected with a jointed portion of the valve rod that the
eccentric will open the valve to admit steam to the engine, a greater or less dis-
tance in proportion to the velocity of the steam pressing upon the piston, in the
enlargement of the pipe.

A marine engine uas an additional eduction valve placed at the centre of the
cylinder for the purpose of allowing a portion of the steam to be withdrawn at
that point of the stroke of the piston to heat the feed-water, instead of being
allowed to remain in the cylinder to urge the piston to the completion of the

A modification of this device is simply to make an aperture through the
cylinder at the same point, in which to insert the eduction pipe, which is pro-
vided with a valve to prevent the reflux of steam ; the object in this case
being to condense the steam discharged from the cylinder of the endne by the
first eduction by delivering it into the hot well of the engine. The arrange-
ment of the parts, and not the general idea, is the subject patented.

An improvement on Stevens's cut-off consists in placing upon the rock-shaft
movable tappets, and an arm carrying a screw with sliding nuts attached, which
nuts bear upon projections from the tappets, and thus enable the en^neer to
change the position of the tappets, by which means steam is cut off at any
desired portion of the stroke.

Various improvements have been made in sur£&ce and other condensers ; some
being placed outside the vessel, and below the water-line, and some inside and
below that line, so that the motion of the vessel causes a current of water to
pass through or around the condenser, as the case may be. A peculiar device
consists of two or more narrow, deep tanks, placed one on each side of the con-
denser, and connected with it by pipes in such manner as that the water circu-
lates through the* condenser firom the tanks, and thus the water in the tanks Is
used again and again. At one end, and near the top of the condenser, is at-
tached another pipe, the opposite end of which is connected with the tank some
distance above the point of attachment of the previously mentioned pipe. About
midway of this pipe (the one attached near the condenser) is attached still
another pipe, which communicates with an ordinary fim-blower, designed to force
a current of air through these pipes and into the tank, where it mingles fiieely
with the water, and thus serves to cool the water in the tank, and to condense
any steam that may arise from the surface of the water.

The improvements relating to boilers, ftimaces, and flues have reference prin-
cipally to economy of ftiel, and consist in devices for the admission of atmospheric
air, and its thorough admixture with the gases evolved from the burning fuel in
such manner as to insure better combustion of these gases. Combustion cham-
bers are placed between the fire-box and the flues, into which pipes are inserted
connecting with the water space of the fire-box at the top on one side, and at

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the bottom on the other, tnside these pipes are placed others communicating
with the external atmosphere through perforations, in which pipes the air is
V admitted to and commingled with the gases in the combustion cnamber.

Another economic arrangement consists in corrugating that portion of the
shell of a steam boiler whicn is exposed to the fire, and so applying a corrugated
jacket thereto as to form a flue space enclosing the corrugated portion of the
boiler shell, this flue space communicating with the principal internal flues of the
boiler, which, also, are corrugated ; the object being, in the whole aiTange-
ment, to increase by corrugation the surface of the boOer and of the jacket ex-
posed to the heat, the parts exposed to radiation being preserved plain in the
usual manner.

In air engines the improvements relate principally to the construction of the
piston, which is formed in such manner that all the air to be heated is made to
pass through the piston for the purpose of preventing too gredt a temperature.
The air, after being heated, is conveyed through an outlet pipe, directly to the
reservoir, from which it is taken to propel the engine. The air is forced through
this piston by means of air pumps placed immediately over the cylinder of the
engine, which pumps are actuated directly by the piston of the engine itself.
The communication is kept up by means of a bent pipe having a telescope joint.

In the devices for raising water by steam the improvements relate to various
modifications of the 6i Sard principle. A simple device of this class consists in
the use of a T piece, with the induction steam pipe secured to one end and
passing horizontally through the T piece, and over the induction opening for
water. A pipe is then secured to the opposite end of the T piece for the pur-
pose of conveying the water to the desired point. The induction steam pipe is
provided with a valve for regulating the innux of the steam. The steam being
discharged into the eduction pipe causes a vacuum to be created in the T piece,
into which water from the well rushes and is carried forward by the steam.

Class T.


Inventions in this class have displayed much ingenuity, although no very
important results can be referred to. In the manufacture of glass, one object
sought for has been the substitution of machinery for hand labor in polishing,
dressing and ornamenting glass. Improvements in this direction. have so &r
succeeded that several articles, such as globes, vases, goblets, &c., may be
operated upon simultaneously by a single workman. Great perfection in the
execution of the workhas been attained by the use of the new machinery. The
most elaborate designs, tracery or lettering, previously delineated on paper, are
i^produced upon the surface of the glass by machine work. The particular
form of the glass is immaterial for the successful operation, the designs being
executed with equal facility upon flat, cylindrical or angular forms.

In machinery for drilling rocks there are improved devices for holding and
rotating the drill and adjusting it in a more or less inclined position. By
anodier device the drill is made to act upon the rock by uniform blows through-
out the entire depth of the hole to be drilled, the diill being rotated and fed to
ita work by antomatic machinery.

Class U.


Improvements affecting wearing apparel are usually made in the production
of die materiak of which the various articles are fabricated^ and in the sewing
atchiiMS employed in the production of such articles; jret, minute as they may
9ffmt to many minds, the succession of improvements called forth Arom year
to year in* the direct manufacture of clothing must always 'constitute an in>

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teresting featnre in the inventions of the time, contributing alike to the promo-
tion of the conyenience and comfort of the people and to the gratification of
the general taste. '

During the present year many of tho inventions in this class have had
reference to economy of material. Thus a shirt has a plain bosom» which, when
opened out in lappels, reveals a fanciful lining and another bosom within, of
finer texture and more comely appearance, of wmch the outer lappels are, when
closed, the efficient protectors. Shirt collars of paper are formed by dies with
embossed counterfeit stitching. Water-proof enamelled collars and bosoms are
distended and preserved in «hape by elastic metallic forms. The toes and heels
of stockings are made in separate pieces, to replace the worn-out portions of
stockings in use. Ruffles and dress borders of many patterns are made with
great exactness and at very small cost, by slight aoaptations of the ordinaiy
sewing machines. Hats are pressed into form by steam or other fluid, acting
upon flexible diaphragms; and the brims of soft hats are distended imd curved
by narrow springs in their peripheries, which admit of folding so that the hat may
be carried in the coat pocket. Hat blocks are Inade expansible by the action
of cams, so that a bell shape presents no obstacle to the insertion or removal
of the form. The extensive use of clasps in connecting the tapes and wires of
hoop skirts, and of eyelets in corsets and other articles of apparel, has led to
the construction of ingenious automatic apparatus for conducting the clasp to
the anvil and affixing them to the cloth, and for punching the cloth and con-
ducting the eyelet and securing it therein.


The last subject which I have proposed to consider is the question of the
modification of the existing patent laws. I have endeavored to show that our
system may be favorably regarded in comparison with any other existing. This
view involves the opinion that no laws materially affecting our present sjBtem
are expedient. The decision of the courts, and the practice of agents and
inventors, are conformed to the present laws. It is therefore desirable that there
should be no legislation in relation to the subject of patents except to perfect
and carry out the theory and principle of the present system. It is in this view
that the recommendations for modifications of existing^ laws are now made. By
the act of March 3, 1863, it was provided that a fee of fifteen dollars should lie
paid upon the filing of an application for a patent, and that an additional fee of
twenty dollars should be paid upon the ordering of the patent to issue. The
office having been embarrassed oy the delay of many inventors in paying the
final fee, a provision was made by law, that if the final fee for a patent be not
paid within six months from the time at Which it was passed and allowed, and
notice sent to the applicant or aeent, the patent should bo withheld, and the
invention therein described should become public property as against the appli-
cant therefor, ^ome cases of great hardship have occurred under the operation
of this law. Applicants have been absent from the country, have been ignorant
of the existence of the law, or have failed, by accident, to transmit the final fee
within six months. I respectfully recommend that the present law be so modi-
fied as to confine the for^iture to the pending applicationt leaving it optional
with such applicants to renew their applications for the same inventions, and
any modifications they may choose to introduce, or not, as they may elect; and
that this modification be also extended to such inventions as may have already
been forfeited under the act of 3d March, 1863.

A modification of the existing laws has been suggested by patent solicitors of
great experience, which commends itself to my approbation. It has been
repeatedly decid^ed by the courts that the application of what is old, to a new

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poipose, 18 not patentable. The records of the office show that hundreds of
patents have been granted in defiance of these decisions, while an examination
of the rejected department will bring to light as many applications which have

Online LibraryUnited States. Patent OfficeReport of the Commissioner of Patents for the year .. → online text (page 17 of 164)