Sunday, April 02, 2006

Date Antiques & Collectibles with Patent Numbers

Sometimes I'll be researching an antique with very little information to start with. No maker's mark, no date, no details other than a patent number can make the search for background info a bit difficult.

However, with a patent number, at least you pinpoint the date that the original patent was approved. This would mean that generally the item you are researching can't be older than this date. It can certainly be younger than this date, as we'll assume that production of your item would continue for at least a few, if not several, years after the patent date.

You can start with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. This site will quickly give you the year dates associated with specific patent numbers. Patents were officially first issued in the United State beginning in 1836, and began with the number 1. However, nearly 10,000 patents were issued in the United States under an earlier system prior to 1836.

If you are interested in more patent search information, there's a very intensive patent search tutorial available through the University of California, San Diego's website. This site will take more time, but offers much information on how to actually do patent searches for much more subject matter.

Remember - knowledge is power!

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