Confederate Invention: The Story of the Confederate States Patent Office and Its Inventors

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The formation of the Confederate States of America involved more than an attempt to create a new, sovereign nation — it inspired a flurry of creativity and entrepreneurialism in the South that fiercely matched Union ingenuity. H. Jackson Knight's Confederate Invention brings to light the forgotten history of the Confederacy's industrious inventors and its active patent office.

Despite the destruction wrought by the Civil War, evidence of Confederate inventions exists in the ...

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Overview

The formation of the Confederate States of America involved more than an attempt to create a new, sovereign nation — it inspired a flurry of creativity and entrepreneurialism in the South that fiercely matched Union ingenuity. H. Jackson Knight's Confederate Invention brings to light the forgotten history of the Confederacy's industrious inventors and its active patent office.

Despite the destruction wrought by the Civil War, evidence of Confederate inventions exists in the registry of the Confederate States Patent Office. Hundreds of southerners submitted applications to the agency to secure patents on their intellectual property, which ranged from a "machine for operating submarine batteries," to a "steam plough," to a "combined knapsack and tent," to an "instrument for sighting cannon." The Confederacy's most successful inventors included entrepreneurs, educators, and military men who sought to develop new weapons, weapon improvements, or other inventions that could benefit the Confederate cause as well as their own lives. Each creation belied the conception of a technologically backward South, incapable of matching the creativity and output of northern counterparts.

Knight's work provides a groundbreaking study that includes neglected and largely forgotten patents as well as an array of other primary sources. Details on the patent office's origins, inner workings, and demise, and accounts of southern inventors who obtained patents before, during, and after the war reveal a captivating history recovered from obscurity.

A novel creation in its own right, Confederate Invention presents the remarkable story behind the South's long-forgotten Civil War inventors and offers a comprehensive account of Confederate patents.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

H. Jackson Knight is a registered United States patent agent with more than twenty-five years' experience in all phases of technical development and patenting. He previously authored the book Patent Strategy for Researchers and Research Managers (2nd ed.) and has produced numerous articles and other publications on the patenting of inventions.

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Table of Contents

Preface xi

Introduction 1

1 The Heritage of Successful Nineteenth-Century Inventors 6

2 Political Realities in the United States Prior to the Civil War 11

3 Formation of a New Government in the South 17

4 Motivations for a System for Recording and Patenting Inventions 24

5 The Standard for Patenting in the United States in 1861 28

6 The Confederate States Patent Office Takes Shape 49

7 North-South Patent Statistics 66

8 Popular Hypotheses for the Lack of Southern Patenting 73

9 Reasons for the Lack of Southern Patenting 90

10 Supporting the Cause: The Heady Days of 1861 102

11 The Confederate States of America Patent Law Change 115

12 The Steady Decline: 1863 and 1864 143

13 The Fall of Richmond 181

14 The Remains of the Confederate States Patent Office 188

Conclusion 202

Appendix 1 List of Confederate Patentees 207

Appendix 2 Surviving Patent Assignments from the Confederate States Record of Assignments Book 230

Appendix 3 Biographical Profiles of Patentees and Assignees 236

Appendix 4 The Confederate States Record of Assignments Book 336

Notes 347

Bibliography 365

Index 383

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