As you drive around, you might encounter small, well-built homes made from metal squares:
These are Lustron houses conceived by Carl Strandlund, and patented in 1947 to alleviate the housing shortage after World War II. The Lustron Corporation sold 2,498 Lustron homes between 1948 and 1950. Lustron offered a house that would “defy weather, wear, and time,” and about 2000 of these houses survive today.
The U.S. patent collection is an impressive technical library literally providing solutions to more than 10,000,000 problems. However often overlooked is the fact that it is an also an art gallery of technical drawings from the most basic, such as U.S. Patent No. 448,647 on a Tooth Pick:
to the most intricate, such as U.S. Patent No. 3,398,406 on a Buoyant Bulletproof Combat Uniform, which has drawings worthy of a graphic novel:
One interesting aspect of this “gallery” is 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:
who no doubt believe that “it’s fun to stay at the US – P – T – O.”
U.S. Patent No. 10,000,000 issued June 19, 2018 on Coherent LADAR Using Intra-Pixel Quadrature Detection.
At the current rate, we can expect utility patent number 11,000,000 in 2021.
Of course nerdy purists will point out that the 10,000,000 number does not take into account the X-patents — the 9957 (or so) patents that issued before it occurred to the Patent Office to begin numbering the patents in 1836. The nerdiest of these purists will further point out that the 10,000,000 includes numbers for which patents were withdrawn from issue, and does not include a handful of “fractional” patents issued over the years.
At the start of a new year, U.S. Patent No. 4,491,494 provides a suitably festive image to start the year off right: