by Steve Reiss (firstname.lastname@example.org)
THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF IMPROVEMENTS IN THE USEFUL ARTS, AND MIRROR OF THE PATENT OFFICE, V. 1, No. 1 (1828), pp. 5-6:
A very small portion, of the Whole number of intelligent men in the United States, will ever visit the Patent Office; and very few, even of those who do visit it, have either time or opportunity to examine the principles and adaptations of the many inventions there deposited. The public are not sensible how large this deposit has become. Often have‘ we seen those, who visited it for the first time, astonished at the amount and variety of the models, and contrivances, and purposes, of ingenious minds, which have already manifested themselves in this infant country; and yet it is well known, that for a portion of the inventions, no models are deposited, because none are required by law. So great, however, is this accumulation of models, in less than forty years from the first law of Congress on this subject, that one entire story, in the General Post Office, is needed for their proper classification and display. Nor can we conceive what it may be in ages to come. Already it looks more like the work of ages, than like the offspring of a day.
By way of general remark, we might, perhaps, throw these inventions into three classes.
That some of them are useless, is obvious——say, One-third of them come within this description.
Another third of them are merely exhibitions of ingenuity, useful only, as displays of the inventive faculties of our countrymen.
The remaining third, are either directly applicable to some practical purpose; or, they are such specimens of mechanical construction, as cannot fail to be useful for other purposes, than those for which they were designed by their inventors.