United States Patent 1,059,284: Ladder-Gripping Attachment for Shoes, 04/15/1913
This patent was included in the patent file for shoes invented by Michael Jackson. The shoes enabled him to execute his signature dance move that allowed him to lean forward to an exaggerated angle while performing on stage the song “Smooth Criminal.” This patent for a Ladder-Gripping Attachment for shoes was included in file because the patent examiner searched for any relevant patents.
(Today’s Document does not endorse hanging upside down from a ladder, even if you are wearing patented Ladder-Gripping Attachments for Shoes.)
Patent Drawing for C. H. Dinkelman’s Gymnastic Apparatus, 03/10/1891
From the series : Utility Patent Drawings, compiled 1837 - 1911. Records of the Patent and Trademark Office
Christian Dinkelman’s invention was meant for use in “in circus-tents, theaters, or in the open air” and was specifically intended to “make the apparatus steady and strong and render it readily adjustable and quickly put up and taken down.”
Drawing for Improvements in Telegraphy
After years of experiments, Alexander Graham Bell devised the first apparatus to transmit human speech via machine. Bell patented his “Improvements in Telegraphy" (aka the telephone) on March 7, 1876, making it “…possible to connect every man’s house, office or factory with a central station, so as to give him direct communication with his neighbors.” His work culminated in one of the most profitable and contested of all 19th-century patents.
From the series: Patent Case Files, compiled 1836 - 1993. Records of the Patent and Trademark Office, 1836 - 1978.
Thomas A. Edison’s Patent for An Improvement in Electric Lamps, 1/27/1880
From the Records of the Patent and Trademark Office
On January 27, 1880, The Patent Office granted Thomas Edison’s patent for “an Improvement in Electric Lamps” His patent was an improvement on electric lamps, not the invention of them, but because of Edison’s design changes and the materials he used—such as a carbon filament—his patent allowed for an electric lamp that was reliable, safe, and practical.
Patent Drawing for H. Hollerith’s Apparatus for Compiling Statistics, 01/08/1889
One of the earliest successful “mechanical computers,” Herman Hollerith's invention used punched cards to sort, tabulate and compile statistics, including the 1890 Census. His firm would go on to become part of International Business Machines (IBM).
The “Landlord’s Game”
Patented January 5, 1904, this is the printed patent drawing for a game board invented by Lizzie J. Magie, a variation of which would later become the board game “Monopoly.”
Patent Drawing for E. Berliner’s Gramophone, 11/08/1887
While this drawing shows one of Emile Berliner’s early cylinder-style Gramophones (a format first patented by Thomas Edison), he would go on to develop the well known disc format record that would eventually replace cylinder recordings.
Eli Whitney’s Cotton Gin Patent Drawing
Designed to separate cotton fiber from seed, Whitney’s cotton gin, for which he applied for a patent on October 28, 1793, and received a patent on March 14, 1794, introduced a new, profitable technology to agricultural production in America, but also led to an increased dependence on the plantation system and slavery.
#FirstWorldProblems - Polishing safety deposit boxes
On September 8, 1903, Emil A. Strauss was granted a patent for his improvement on the safety deposit box. According to his application, until his invention, the entire safety deposit box had to be removed in order to polish it, which meant the owner had to be present. He states that his invention allows for “boxes with removable fronts, so that they may be polished … without disturbing the renters.”