The JPTOS and USPTO have worked together to continue our tradition of providing the biographies of the past USPTO Leaders.  Please select the following to be taken to the content: https://www.uspto.gov/about-us/past-uspto-leaders  

04/18/2018

EDMUND BURKE 1845-1849

The second Commissioner of Patents was born at Westminster, Vermont, Jan. 23, 1809. He studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1829, practiced at Newport, New Hampshire, established the New Hampshire "Argus," and edited it for several years. From 1839 to 1845 he was a member of Congress. Appointed Commissioner of Patents, May 5, 1845 by President Polk, he served ably and faithfully in this office until May 9, 1849, after which he became for a brief period official editor for the "Union" in Washington, D. C., and later resumed the practice of law at Newport, New Hampshire, and Boston, Massachusetts.

04/11/2018

HENRY L. ELLSWORTH 1835-1845

When the Act of 1836 created the new office of Commissioner of Patents, the appointment of the then Superintendent of Patents, Henry L. Ellsworth, to the Commissionership proved both logical and wise. As Superintendent of Patents since his appointment in 1835, he had proved his ability by substituting order for chaos in the administration of a department which had never previously been conducted in a scientific and business-like manner. It is generally thought that the responsibility of initiating the policy under the new law, and new organization, was well placed.

04/04/2018

JAMES C. PICKETT 1835

James Chamberlayne Pickett was born in Fauquier County, Virginia, on February 6, 1793. His family moved to Kentucky when he was a young boy. He attended the best schools, including the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York. He served in the army during the War of 1812. 

Pickett practiced law in Kentucky and was editor of a newspaper. He married Ellen Desha, daughter of Kentucky’s governor. He was elected to the Kentucky legislature, after which he spent four years in South America as a U.S. diplomat. He was fluent in several languages and a prolific writer on scientific subjects and diplomatic history.

03/28/2018

JOHN D. CRAIG 1829-1835

John D. Craig was born in Ireland in 1766. He was a teacher at the Baltimore Union School and the master at an academy in Baltimore. In 1828 he led the founding of the Ohio Mechanics Institute of Cincinnati, which became the College of Engineering and Applied Science of the University of Cincinnati.

After Secretary of State Martin Van Buren transferred Patent Office Superintendent Thomas Jones to another position in the State Department, he appointed Craig superintendent the next day, June 11, 1829.

03/21/2018

THOMAS P. JONES 1828-1829

Thomas P. Jones was born in Herefordshire, England, in 1774. He immigrated to the United States after being trained as a physician and lived in Philadelphia as early as 1796.

He was a professor of natural philosophy and chemistry at the College of William and Mary and held other academic positions. He returned to Philadelphia in 1825 to become a professor at the Franklin Institute and the editor of its journal.

03/12/2018

WILLIAM THORNTON 1802-1828

William Thornton, the first and longest serving head of the office, was born on May 20, 1759, in the British Virgin Islands. He was sent to England at the age of five for education. His many interests included architecture, painting, botany, and mechanics. He received a medical degree from the University of Aberdeen and practiced briefly as a physician. 

He travelled widely in Europe and met Benjamin Franklin in Paris. In 1785 he returned to the family sugar plantation on the island of Tortola. The next year he moved to Philadelphia, which was an early seat of the U.S. government, and became a U.S. citizen.

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