Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Patent Book has arrived!

Thanks to a terrific pre-holiday effort by my friends at Greyden Press, I pulled into my driveway just a couple hours ago with a truckload full of copies of my new book, American Writing Instrument Patents 1799-1910:

We built this book to withstand years of everyday use, with a heavy-duty PVC coil binding and heavy stock paper.  I also designed it to be easy to use -- taking a cue from the legal books I frequently use, the book has tabs to make it a breeze navigating around the different sections:

The book is 348 pages long, and peppered throughout are reproductions of many interesting patent drawings:

The book opens with a short history of the development of the patent system in the United States, an article on what a "Writing Instrument" is (you'd be surprised how many inventions do everything a fountain pen or pencil does but aren't meant for "writing"), a glossary of terms and a guide to using the book.  Here's a couple pages from the history article:

The heart of the book, of course, is the tables of patent data.  For ease of reading, I set the typeface in 10-point Constantina.  This made for precious little space between the columns and narrow margins, but in the end, this proved the best way to pack a lot of information into the smallest possible space:

To break things up, I gave 75 of the most significant patents full-page treatment, with a reproduction of the full patent drawing page and a short summary explaining what makes it important, interesting or just plain goofy.  These are shown in chronological order, beginning with the earliest writing instrument patent for which a drawing survives (James Bogardus' pencil patent of 1833). Here's the page featuring Roy Conklin's first patent:

Of course, no book covering nineteenth-century pen patents would be complete without Lewis E. Waterman's patents:

But the book goes further -- explaining why the first patent Waterman applied for wasn't the first one to be granted! 

At the end of the book, there's an index to guide you through the illustrations.  George Parker's name came up quite a few times:

I'm officially launching the book at the Philadelphia Pen Show on the weekend of January 17, 2014.  If you are going to attend the show and want to avoid shipping charges, you can send me a Paypal for $39.99 and I'll have it there for you.  For those who won't be attending the show (or can't wait until then for a copy), you can order the book through my website,  International buyers, please contact me first so we can get the shipping charges right.