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Interesting Facts About President George Washington and Early U.S. Patents

  • Published: March 1, 2022
  1. President George Washington asked Congress to enact a patent statute in the first ever State of the Union address. Congress responded with the Patent Act of 1790.
  2. Thomas Jefferson was the first patent examiner during the time he served as George Washington’s Secretary of State.
  3. During his presidency (1789 – 1797), George Washington personally signed over 150 patent grants. The first was issued to Samuel Hopkins for a method of making potash, a useful ingredient in fertilizer and other compositions.
  4. One of the first inventors to obtain multiple patents on related components of his innovations was Rumsey, granted patents 22 – 27, all in August 1791, for improvements to steam engines, grain mills, and a blacksmith’s bellows.
  5. After signing the third patent issued was for a method of manufacturing flour and meal, President Washington purchased a license in 1791 for use of the method at his farm in Mount Vernon, Virginia.
  6. Abraham Lincoln is the only US president to hold a patent, which was for a device to lift boats and issued in 1849.
Gregory W. Marcum

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