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!

The Haunted Archives

To celebrate Halloween, we took a look in our cartographic records at the National Archives to see if we could find any spooky records. We came across the following Utility Patent Drawings (NAID 305888) which certainly help to set the mood for the Halloween season. A number of jack-o'-lantern designs came up in the patent drawings. … Continue reading The Haunted Archives

Utility Patent Drawings

One fascinating way to look at our history is by studying the tools we have invented and used throughout the years. There is no better way to do this than by looking at the patent drawings we hold in the Cartographic Branch at the National Archives. The majority of the patent drawings we have are … Continue reading Utility Patent Drawings

Spotlight: Tinseled Trivia

Co-authored by Beth Fortson, with assistance from Audrey Amidon and Corbin Apkin. Happy Holidays from the Unwritten Record blog team! For this holiday season we've put together some of our best Christmas tree themed special media. From RG-95 we bring you a 1968 film, The Cultured Christmas Tree. From RG-16 we bring you a series of images of … Continue reading Spotlight: Tinseled Trivia

Father’s Day Gift Suggestions from the Patent Files

Need a last-minute gift idea for Dear Old Dad? Whatever Dad's hobby or interest, patent files are full of quirky gems. The largest selection is in the series Utility Patent Drawings, 1837 - 1911 NAID 305888 among the Records of the Patent and Trademark Office, Record Group 241, but there are patent drawings in other series, including court … Continue reading Father’s Day Gift Suggestions from the Patent Files

Play Ball!

In honor of the Major League Baseball playoffs, the Cartographic and Architectural Branch has pulled together a few records featuring the national past-time.