By Bryan K. Wheelock, Principal
The U.S. patent collection is an impressive technical library that provides solutions to more than 10,000,000 problems. One fact that often goes overlooked, however, is that this enormous resource — officially known as the USPTO Patent Full-text and Image Database — is an also an art gallery of technical drawings.
It includes drawings of the most basic products, such as U.S. Patent No. 448,647 on a Tooth Pick:
Moving toward the more intricate technologies, there is U.S. Patent No. 3,398,406 on a Buoyant Bulletproof Combat Uniform, for which there is a drawing worthy of a graphic novel:
A particularly interesting aspect of the gallery is that it shows how people are depicted in various professions over time. Assembled for the first time below, in homage to another group of varied professionals, are the Village (Patent) People:
This group undoubtedly believes “it’s fun to stay at the US – P – T – O.”