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Q: Patent Office - circa 1900 ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Patent Office - circa 1900
Category: Business and Money > eCommerce
Asked by: lorenzen-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 15 Jun 2004 08:51 PDT
Expires: 15 Jul 2004 08:51 PDT
Question ID: 361397
I believe that it was at the turn of the 20th century when someone
associated with the U. S. Patent Office said that no more patents
would be issued because every discovery had been made. Who said that
and what was the year?
Subject: Re: Patent Office - circa 1900
Answered By: thx1138-ga on 15 Jun 2004 09:14 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello lorenzen and thank you for your question,

You might be thinking of Henry J. Ellsworth Commissioner of the U.S.
Patent Office who is sometimes quoted as having said:

"Mankind," he declared, "has already achieved all of which it is
capable. There would be no more inventions requiring patents."

There is no historical evidence that he actually said the above, what
he did actually say was:

"The advancement of the arts, from year to year, taxes our credulity
and seems to presage the arrival of that period when human improvement
must end."

"Jeffery found no evidence that any official or employee of the U.S.
Patent Office had ever resigned because he thought there was nothing
left to invent. However, Jeffery may have found a clue to the origin
of the myth. In his 1843 report to Congress, the then-commissioner of
the Patent Office, Henry L. Ellsworth, included the following comment:
"The advancement of the arts, from year to year, taxes our credulity
and seems to presage the arrival of that period when human improvement
must end." As Jeffery shows, it's evident from the rest of that report
that Commissioner Ellsworth was simply using a bit of rhetorical
flourish to emphasize that the number of patents was growing at a
great rate. Far from considering inventions at an end, he outlined
areas in which he expected patent activity to increase, and it is
clear that he was making plans for the future."

Thank you for your question, and if you need any clarification of my
answer, do not hesitate to ask before rating my answer.

Very best regards


Search strategy included:
"no more inventions"
lorenzen-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Excellent answer. It was just a trivia question on my part. However,
I'll be doing some more serious work in the future and will be certain
to tip. Thank you. Great work!

Subject: Re: Patent Office - circa 1900
From: ipfan-ga on 15 Jun 2004 10:58 PDT
I think you might be thinking about a quote attributed to Charles H.
Duell, US Patent Commissioner who, in 1899 said, "Everything that can
be invented has been invented."  See, e.g., and

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