The Patents

Richard took out eighteen patents in British jurisdictions and, in addition, an unidentified number of patents in France, Belgium and possibly other foreign countries. In the United States Richard's older brother Thomas took out one U.S. patent in 1852 as the assignee of Richard's anti-weld tube invention patented in England and Scotland in 1850. When giving evidence to Parliament in 1851 on patent law reform Richard claimed to have obtained "about" twenty patents in all.

The British patents are listed below in chronological order and the specifications of those highlighted are each downloadable as a PDF; others will be added when obtained.

The specifications consist of technical descriptions and drawings and, as such, will probably only be of interest to the mechanically minded or those with a special interest in the subject matter of the relevant patent.

The patent numbers of the eleven pre-1852 English patents are those attributed by the Indices of Patents granted from 2nd March 1617 to 1st October 1852 which were published in 1854/1855. Richard had been a leading instigator of this indexation and, also, the publication of the specifications of the pre-1852 patents in printed format. Prior to the completion of this immense project, a prospective patentee had great difficulty in identifying whether their claimed invention had in fact already been conceived of and patented by someone else. The pre-1852 system of registration of patents was indeed as archaic and bureaucratic as portrayed by Dickens in "Little Dorrit". The images of the specifications of the pre-1852 patents below are not of the originals but of the printed versions published in 1854/1855.

Following the reform of the UK patent system in 1852 (in the campaign for which Richard had again been an outspoken and influential proponent) the patent numbering system started again on 1st October 1852 and at the commencement of each subsequent year: hence, the numbers allocated to Richard's last three UK patents.


THE PATENTS' SPECIFICATIONS


(The references to "Chapter" below are to chapters in the book "Prosser The Engineer")

England and Wales

13 July 1831 No. 6132: "Manufacturing nails or tacks for ornamenting boxes and articles of furniture." (The Coffin Nail  - Chapter 3; also included below is a link to William Church's patent for (inter alia) a machine to make the Coffin Nail)
 

25 February 1835 No. 6775: "Making Nails" ( Chapter 3)
 

19 February 1839 No. 7969: "Apparatus for generating steam, consuming smoke and heating apartments." (The Chunk Stove - Chapter 5)
 

08 May 1839 No. 8064: "Machinery for making nails and screws" - no specification filed. (Chapter 4)

 

27 March 1840 No. 8454: "Machinery or apparatus for manufacturing pipes." (and all other tube related patents Chapters 10 to 21)


17 June 1840 No. 8547: "Apparatus for heating apartments; apparatus for cooking." (The Vesta Stove - Chapter 5)
 

17 June 1840 No. 8548: " Manufacturing buttons from certain materials; which improvements in manufacturing are applicable, in whole or in part, to the production of knobs, rings, and other articles from the same materials." (Chapters 6 to 9)
 

20 April 1843 No. 9707: " Machinery to be used in manufacturing pipes and bars; application of such pipes or bars to various purposes." Joint patentee with Job Cutler.

01 May 1845 No. 10649: "Manufacture of metal tubes; machinery and apparatus for producing the same."

11 April 1850 No. 13035: "Machinery and apparatus for manufacturing metal tubes; --- partly applicable for other purposes where pressure is required; also mode of applying metal tubes in steam-boilers or other vessels requiring metal tubes to be applied within them" aka the 'anti-weld' tube patent. PDF kindly supplied by The British Library. NB.Drawing Sheet L is missing from the print version of the patent but a PDF of the drawing from the manuscript of the original sealed patent can be downloaded here courtesy of The British Library. On 21st September 1852 U.S. Patent No.9278 for the anti-weld tube invention was granted to Richard's brother Thomas Prosser as assignee of Richard.

22 August 1850 No. 13238: "Supplying steam-boilers with water, and clearing out the tubes of steam-boilers."

11 November 1852 No. 707: "Making metal tubes. (Rolling)"

11 November 1852 No. 708: "Rolling of metals."

05 February 1853 No. 1853/316: "Improvements in the construction of printing rollers used in machines for printing calicoes and other substances."

 Scotland

21 March 1844: "Improvements in the Machinery to be used in manufacturing pipes and bars and in the application of such pipes or bars to various purposes." Joint patentee with Job Cutler. This patent replicated 3 English tube patents: that of Richard's of 1840 and the joint patent with Cutler of 1843 above (8454 and 9707) and of 1841 (9140) of Cutler below. Extract only of additional improvement also patented. 

18 November 1845: "Improvements in the manufacture of metal tubes and in the machinery and apparatus for producing the same and in the apparatus for fastening Tubes in their intended places in Steam Boilers and other vessels." Split into 5 PDFs due to size. Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5.

01 October 1850: ”improvements in machinery and apparatus for manufacturing metal tubes which improvements in machinery are in part applicable other purposes where it is required ; also for improvements in the mode of applying metal tubes steam boilers or other vessels and in the mode clearing out the tubes of steam boilers and in mode of feeding or supplying steam boilers water.” - the anti-weld tube patented in England in April 1850.

13 May 1853: " Manufacturing buttons from certain materials; which improvements in manufacturing are applicable, in whole or in part, to the production of knobs, rings, and other articles from the same materials." (Dust-Pressed Process Addendum). The patent replicates the 1840 English patent as amended by Richard in 1845.

 

Other Patentees' Patents referred to in the Stories

 

The First Story: Rescuing Richard

Dr William Church's 1832 Nail Machine Patent:

25 February 1832 No. 6232: "Improvements in machinery for making nails ... Improvements upon Prosser's patent."

 

The Third Story: Tubes: A Wealth of Trouble

Cornelius Whitehouse:

26 February 1825 No. 5109: "Certain Improvements in Manufacturing Tubes for Gas and other purposes."

 

Job Cutler:

06 November 1841 No. 9140: "Improvements in the Construction of the Tubular Flues of Steam Boilers."

 

Thomas Morton Jones:

18 October 1843 No. 9913: "Improvements in Heating Liquids and Aeriform Bodies."

 

George Selby:

08 March 1845 No.10546: "Certain Improvements in the Manufacture of Pipes or Tubes of that Class or Kind which are formed by Welding Skelps of Wrought Iron."

 

Thomas Prosser:

17 April 1849 U.S.6360: Tube expander