U.S. Patents, 1790-1836 (X Patents)

Patents issued under the Patent Acts of 1790 and 1793 were not assigned numbers. Instead, they were referred to by the name of the inventor and date of issue. The Patent Office began numbering patents issued under the Patent Act of 1836; patent no. 1 was issued on July 13, 1836. Sometime in the 1950s, probably around the time the Patent Office began to experiment with computer systems, the pre-1836 patents were assigned numbers with the prefix “X”; patent no. X1 was issued on July 31, 1790.

On December 17, 1836, fire destroyed the Patent Office and most of its records, resulting in the loss of approximately 10,000 patent documents dating back to 1790. Following the disaster, Congress appropriated funds to restore the files. However, only 2,600 copies of patents have been recovered to date. Of the remaining 7,500 lost patents, only the name of the inventor, date of registration and title are known.

Table 1. U.S. Patents 1790-1836 (X Patents)

Year 1st Patent
1836 X9,303
1835 X8,566
1834 X7,946
1833 X7,360
1832 X6,887
1831 X6,315
1830 X5,770
1829 X5,323
1828 X4,958
1827 X4,629
1826 X4,305
1825 X4,004
1824 X3,798
1823 X3,633
1822 X3,433
1821 X3,280
1820 X3,160
1819 X3,057
1818 X2,889
1817 X2,716
1816 X2,415
1815 X2,248
1814 X2,040
1813 X1,863
1812 X1,626
1811 X1,410
1810 X1,187
1809 X974
1808 X815
1807 X716
1806 X654
1805 X597
1804 X526
1803 X416
1802 X352
1801 X308
1800 X267
1799 X225
1798 X197
1797 X145
1796 X102
1795 X91
1794 X68
1793 X48
1792 X37
1791 X4
1790 X1

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