Here’s an unexpected patent, assigned to a well-known manufacturer of hand saws. 1,995,959 issued March 26, 1935, Die For Cutting Puzzles and Like Cut-Outs by Arthur N. Blum of Philadelphia, PA assignor to Henry Disston & Sons, Incorporated.
The main object of my invention is to provide an outfit for cutting out jigsaw puzzles and the like.
This would be something along the lines of Ford Motor Company patenting a cookie cutter. Sure they could do it, but why, what’s the backstory? I call events like finding this patent ,”chair moments”, as in I nearly fell out of my chair when I came across it! There is even a blog category, “Chair Moments”, should you wish to peruse it, just don’t blame me if you fall out of your chair.
Here’s a saw trademark of E. C. Atkins & Company’s, to prove that Disston wasn’t the only game in town. The pdf online of the registration certificate is corrupted, but the top half showing the logo is fine. Also legible is that
The trade mark is applied or affixed to the goods by etching into the body thereof.
I looked up the Patent Gazette for the registration date to find that it was published on March 27, 1928. I then looked up that Patent Gazette to get the details that they claimed use since May, 1865 and that is was for cross cut saws.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, patents get withdrawn from time to time. The patent office’s list of them is here, and they add to it all the time. Sometimes patents are withdrawn before they are issued and sometimes it is afterwards. In either case, data for a withdrawn patent can sometimes be found, if you know where to look. (One place you won’t find them is on the patent office’s search page, patft,- they are removed when the patent is withdrawn.)
Here’s an example from about a year ago, where one place to check is explained further. If you look at the patents issued on June 23rd, 2020, you’ll notice that there are two plant patents missing. Normally, patent numbers are sequential, but on that day there was no PP31892 or PP31893 (the previous issue date, June 16th, 2020 , ended with PP31891). As you might have guessed, the missing patents were withdrawn, both were never issued.
The zip files contain an html page and one image for each patent issued on that day. It’s not terribly user friendly (there are 24,885 files in the zip file I downloaded ), but if you unzip them into a folder, you can open the html page for a particular patent in a browser. If we look, we’ll see these relevant files in the OG I downloaded: 1475-4\OG\html\1475-4\USPP031892-20200623-D00001.gif 1475-4\OG\html\1475-4\USPP031892-20200623.html 1475-4\OG\html\1475-4\USPP031893-20200623.html
If I double click on the PP031893’s html file, I see this message in a browser:
If I double click on PP031892’s html file, what I see in a browser is shown at the top of this page (note that I added the Withdrawn watermark, to avoid any confusion – this patent was never issued, but for whatever reason, data for it appeared in the OG). If a patent was withdrawn after being issued, data for it should still be in the OG of the patent’s issue date (the patent office doesn’t go back and remove it).
If you are on a Mac, your mileage may vary, but I’m assuming you’d see the same things in a Mac browser.
The “Toy and Process of Use”, better known as a Slinky, has both a patent and trademark! Like I needed more reasons to love them, though I do remember a childhood incident when my slinky collided with my brother’s. Neither walked down stairs, alone or in pairs after that.
Pennsylvania Saw was a manufacturer and competitor of the better known maker of hand saws, Henry Disston & Sons. In 1942, Pennsylvania Saw applied to get the trademark shown. Disston successfully opposed its registration, as it was too similar to a trademark of theirs. To quote the patent offices’ ruling,
“Disston’s Quaker and Pennsylvania’s Quaker are just two Quakers, so that Pennsylvania’s mark constitutes a substantial appropriation of a very prominent feature of Disston’s mark… since Pennsylvania concedes that Disston was prior in use, it follows that only Disston is entitled to registration”.
Disston’s application was registered on June 29, 1948 as trademark 439,429, while Pennsylvania Saw was unable to use the image they tried to trademark. Ah, the power of intellectual property!
Trademarks began with registration number 1 in October of 1870. This is the sixth earliest Disston trademark that I am aware of. (I’m from the Midwest, where we are required to dangle prepositions.) The registration certificate is a little hard to read, but not illegible as some are, and it clearly says that “This trade-mark we have used in our business since June, 1882.” and it goes on to say that “The mark has generally been etched directly upon the blade of the saw”. Since the trademark was registered, these saws, though I’ve never seen or heard of them, must have existed! How cool is that?
According to Google translate, the Russian writing ЦАРCКАЯ ПИЛА means Tsar’s Saw. Disston discounted the Russian writing, but somehow that makes me want one of these saws even more! From the registration certificate:
Our trade-mark consists of the title “Great American,” and is fully shown in the accompanying facsimile of the mark. With the title we have generally combined the representation of a keystone and the Russian title shown; but these additions are immaterial, the essential feature of the mark being the title “Great American”.
Yesterday I needed to split a log with a long origin story that I’ll skip for now. I got to use my ridiculous looking, patented, log-splitting axe! It was a yard sale acquisition, costing only a dollar or two. I bought it because of the patent number on it. I wasn’t sure I’d ever use it and I’m guessing I’m the only one on my block with one. It was needed as my neighbor with the hydraulic log splitter moved away. All it took was a couple of whacks and the deed was done.
There was no indication that it was also trademarked but I found one for it, so it’s even cooler than I realized.
A cool thing about trademarks is that the item had to exist in order for the trademark to be registered. This is unlike patents, where something could be patented but never produced commercially. Here’s an unexpected trademark registered to Disston, a company better known for the handsaws it produced. I’ve never seen a Disston Cigarette knife, but since the trademark was registered, they must have been produced! I’m also a fan of wording that explains that “The trade mark is usually displayed by etching it directly upon the goods”.