Monday, June 27, 2016

Oh, patents! Valory’s fountain pen (2)

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

The second 19th century fountain pen patent on record at l’INPI’s 19th century database of patents, awarded to Victor Adolphe Valory, is FR9497, titled Plumes capsulaires pour écrire et dessiner. This patent was filed on Feb. 8, 1850 and granted on April 27, 1850 for 15 years. The leaflet contains 5 pages. No drawings were included. [Below the upper portion of the title page.)

FR9497 - top portion of the title page
The term plumes capsulaires appends to the list of quills (plumes): plume à reservoir, stylo-plume, plume sans fin, plume perpétuelle, plume éternelle or plume auto-alimentée used in French as quilled terms for “fountain pen”.

Otherwise, browsing through the leaflet, it is quite extraordinary to see that the form for disclosing an invention in 1850 appears substantially resonant with the one that exists to date. Indeed, FR9497 includes the following familiar sections: objet, motifs, principes and description for organizing disclosure of the invention.  And such sections in 2016, in the USA, are each outlined in the provisions of the Code of Federal Regulations Title 37 and in the Federal Code Title 35, and in Europe in the provisions of  the EPC (European Patent Convention).  [Below extracts from pages 2 and 4 of the leaflet showing the headers used for organizing disclosure of the invention, in 1850 France)
FR9497 - Page 2 - Section headers Objet Motifs, Principes
FR9497 - Page 4 - Section header - Description
Thus, what is so striking is that the regulated manner of disclosing an invention, stating the purpose of the invention, the problematic situation in which it arises, and proceeding with succinct, then detailed, description of the embodiment(s) of the invention, echoes through the centuries.

Otherwise, deciphering and transcribing the details of this invention, as disclosed in FR9497, a handwritten 19th century patent, remain too labor intensive for the present purposes. What is certain, however is that, in 1850, the quill (plume) was undergoing revolutionary changes in Europe and the US, as it became more practical and portable, containing its own ink, and more long lasting as it was made of metal, rather than of different bird feathers, depending on the writing, or drawing tasks. 

However, even if transformation and industrialization of the quill, from bird feather, to ink-containing instrument of writing are now complete, the term "quill" (plume) endures in French... in reference  to fountain pens, which are mostly still called "stylo-plume" in 2016.

INPI 19th century database 

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