February 17, 2020

Happy President’s Day

Who was the only U.S. President to be awarded a patent?

If you guessed Jefferson, Hamilton or Obama, you would be wrong. It was Lincoln. Honest Abe was awarded a patent in 1849 for a device designed to lift boats over shoals. You can see a model of his invention at the National Museum of American History.

A decade later, Lincoln made the most remarkable statement ever made about patent law. He said that “in the world’s history, certain inventions and discoveries occurred, of peculiar value, on account of their great efficiency in facilitating all other inventions and discoveries. Of these were the arts of writing and of printing — the discovery of America, and the introduction of Patent-laws.”

History has proven Lincoln right, as he lived his own statement that the patent system “added the fuel of interest to the fire of genius.”