Ho! Ho! Ho! Happy Holidays From the Cartographic Branch!

Ho! Ho! Ho! Happy Holidays from the Cartographic Branch! In the spirit of Christmas, with the help of RG 241: Utility Patents, we would like to offer up some guidance and general ideas surrounding Christmas trees and things to do this holiday season! Whether you are more into putting up and decorating the tree, wrapping … Continue reading Ho! Ho! Ho! Happy Holidays From the Cartographic Branch!

Patent Drawings from Beyond the Grave

With Halloween just around the corner (at last!), I thought our readers would enjoy a little something spooky to get in the spirit.. or perhaps to get in touch with the spirit. Automatic writing, or psychography, as a means of communicating with the spirit world has been in use for almost a thousand years. However, … Continue reading Patent Drawings from Beyond the Grave

Holiday Catalog Roundup: The 1941 Christmas Tree Lighting, an Electric Menorah, and More!

After such a tumultuous year, all the staff at the National Archives Special Media Division would like to extend our best holiday wishes to those of you reading this as well as our hopes for a bright new year in 2022.  It’s hard to believe that another year has already come and gone and to … Continue reading Holiday Catalog Roundup: The 1941 Christmas Tree Lighting, an Electric Menorah, and More!

Caretakers of the Sky: The Wright Brothers and Recording the Aerial Age

Today marks the 117th anniversary of the Wright Brothers first flights at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, ushering in the age of powered flight.  To celebrate this incredible milestone, we would like to present records related to the Wright Brothers and their achievement. The dawn of the twentieth century was a time of tremendous scientific progress … Continue reading Caretakers of the Sky: The Wright Brothers and Recording the Aerial Age

RG 241: Restored Patents Now Fully Digitized and Available Online!

The RG 241: Restored Patents (NAID 305885) are finally here and available for viewing and download via the National Archives catalog!  In addition to containing some very detailed and colorful images, this series is particularly interesting because of its unique background. In 1836, the Patent Office was being housed in the Blodget Hotel in Washington, … Continue reading RG 241: Restored Patents Now Fully Digitized and Available Online!

Fire Up the Horses and Let ’em Run! Early Representations of Horsepower from RG 241: Restored Patents

Horsepower!  We hear this common phrase everyday associated with everything from cars to lawn mowers to available human capital.  It's all about power and the power to get things done.  While today the term "horse power" typically refers to the power of an engine in a car or truck and is a single, compound word, … Continue reading Fire Up the Horses and Let ’em Run! Early Representations of Horsepower from RG 241: Restored Patents

Spotlight: Last Minute Holiday Gifts!

Co-Authored by Beth Fortson and Corbin Apkin. You wake up in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve and realize that you have forgotten to get a gift for your sister's brand new "He's Totally The One" boyfriend. You get a text from your old college roommate two days before your New Years Party … Continue reading Spotlight: Last Minute Holiday Gifts!

Recalling the Devastating Patent Office Fire of 1836

December 15th marks the anniversary of the first of several major fires to impact the United States Patent Office.  In 1836, the Patent Office was being housed in the Blodget Hotel in Washington, D.C.  Employees of the patent office stored firewood in the basement near where they also disposed of hot ashes and, during the … Continue reading Recalling the Devastating Patent Office Fire of 1836

Just in Time for Halloween: Creepy Utility Patent Drawings!

With Halloween just around the corner, it seems like an excellent time to highlight some of the creepier Utility Patent Drawings lurking in the holdings of the National Archives.  These come from Record Group 241. Enjoy!   For more creepy patents, check out Corbin Apkin's Halloween Patent post from last year!

Ah, Summertime! You Have the Best Utility Patents!

Summertime seems to have been created to be three months of time to play, rest, relax, and, in general, do the things that make us happy.  In the years between 1898 and 1908, inventors were very creative in their efforts to make summertime spectacular, interesting, and somewhat bizarre!  So, whether you prefer to spend your … Continue reading Ah, Summertime! You Have the Best Utility Patents!