Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Searching for Patents on Google

One of the stories that my mother told me about her family was that her great-grandfather, Devier J. (DJ) Smith (1839-1894) had a patent on an invention dealing with horse buggies. I had searched the US Patent Office index online previously, but that site required knowledge of the patent number for 19th century patents.

Today I went to the Google Patent search page and tried to find my great-great-grandfather's patent. I tried the following search terms:

1) "devier j smith"

2) smith buggy

3) smith whip

4) "dj smith"

I found the right patent on the 21st hit of "dj smith" - Patent No. 331,565 "Harness Rack" - and that was lucky. The patent said "Devier J. Smith, of McCook, Nebraska" on the description page but that was not found by Google. I wondered why, and when I input the patent number to Google it listed his name as= "Deviee J. Smith." Somebody made a typing error!

I even got a signature of Devier J. Smith. The patent listed his full name as "Devier James Smith," I hadn't known his middle name for sure. Cool! Matthias Loucks was one of his witnesses - the Loucks family occasionally appears in Della's Journal.

Here are pictures of the Harness Rack that my great-grandfather invented:

The Harness Rack was the only patent granted to Devier J. (DJ) Smith. I posted a biography of DJ some time ago and mentioned his salesmanship as a purveyor of snake oil.

I also found my own thrust reverser patents from my previous life as an aerospace engineer. I was surprised (but shouldn't have been) that other "randall * seaver" people have invented things.

Google Patent is very helpful to find the old patents. Have you input the names of your ancestors to see if they have a patent?


Taneya said...

Hey Randy - I mentioned you on my blog post today!

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