Guide to the Research Collections

- 57 -- GENERAL TECHNOLOGY RESOURCES -- (Including Patents)


One of the largest collections of patents in the United States is held by the New York Public Library. The Patents Collection consists of patent specifications, abstracts of patents, and patent lists, along with related periodicals and books. Similar materials on trademarks and trade names are available. More than one-half of the Patents Collection derives from the United States, England, France, and Germany, although publications from approximately thirty-five other countries are held. That the holdings have always been of importance may be seen from the following:

-------------------------------------------- page 288
192119,520 volumes
194137,000 (estimated figure)
It has been estimated that the collection increases at the rate of 2,400 volumes per year.

Some notable gifts have been received over the years, among the earliest being the presentation of a complete set of English patents to the Astor Library by the British Commissioners of Patents in 1855. In 1941, Fritz V. Briesen gave nearly 1,000 bound volumes of complete copies of United States patents for the years 1871 to 1912. In 1968 the library received from the U.S. Commissioners of Patents numbers of the Ish[omacr ] K[omacr ]h[omacr ] (Design Gazette) of the Patents Office of Japan from May 26, 1961 to date, to be sent on a continuing basis.

Significant historical patents collections include volumes of Patentes y Marcas (1900-47), which list patents granted in Argentina as well as in other South American countries; also included are nineteenth-century patent publications from the Australian states of New South Wales, South Australia, and Victoria, and publications of imperial Russia from the late nineteenth century to 1916.

The library currently receives substantially complete collections of patents, including specifications and drawings, from the following countries:
Belgium Specifications493,079 to date(1950-)
United States115,264(1871-)

Either abstracts of patents or patents lists are received from the following countries:

The library maintains complete files of two publications issued by the U.S. Patent Office, Index of Patents and Manual of Classification.10 The collection also contains the comprehensive Index of Classification issued on microfilm covering the years 1836 through 1968. This index lists all numbers of the patents issued under specific classification categories. Among the periodicals received by the Patents Collection are the West German Beiträge zum Stand der Technik in der tabakverarbeitenden Industrie (1961-), the Airplane Patent Digest including the English supplement (1930-), and the important Industrial Property (1962-), published by the United International Bureau for the Protection of Intellectual Property in Switzerland. In addition to a substantial reference collection are supplementary book materials, which include specialized commercial patent lists and indexes. There is also material on international and United States patent and trademark law.


Generally, trademark publications are available in the library for countries represented by patent publications. The collection includes a unique catalog of trademarks registered in the U.S. Patent Office through part of 1947. Although of considerable historical interest, this file has been superseded by two commercial publications in the collection: Trademark Renewal Register (1964 and 1966) and Trademark Register (1961-64, 1967-). These publications index by subject the trademarks presently in effect.

Special Indexes and Files

Trademark File.

A card file consisting of trademark and trade name entries clipped from the Official Gazette of the U.S. Patent Office and arranged by merchandise classification (inactive, 240 card drawers). The file was commenced in 1915 and extends to 1947.

Cheminform Institute File.

An alphabetical card file of chemical trade names coded to show the location of information about the product; the manufacturer's or distributor's name; patent information (inactive, 143 card drawers). The file extends to 1962. Two notebooks identifying the code symbols on the cards accompany the file.

Underwood's Digest File.

This card file consists of abstracts of patent and trademark law cases clipped from Underwood's Digest and arranged by numerical code (inactive, 39 card drawers). The file extends from the early 1900s to approximately 1961. Twenty-eight drawers of the file deal with patent cases, and eleven with trademark cases.

A special index, completed in 1941, to British Amended Patents consisting of some 4,000 cards is also in the Patents Collection.

-------------------------------------------- page 289