Lost Patents

On the Engines of Our Ingenuity this morning, John Leinhard talked about 10,000 patents lost when the Patent Office burned.

By 1836, it housed ten thousand patents and seven thousand patent models. That’s when the government authorized a new Patent Office. Just then, as if on cue, a fire destroyed the old building, and all the patents in it. Only after that, did we begin numbering patents. Patent Number 1 was issued to John Ruggles for a new railroad wheel, meant to gain better traction.

One of the lost patents was granted in 1826 to Samuel Morey for an internal combustion engine. Makes you wonder what might have been if it weren’t for the fire.

There are lots of citations on Google.