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First Typewriter Patent

Patents issued to Henry Mill

[It is believed that these two patents issued in the name of Henry Mill are to the same man, a waterworks engineer with the New River Company, who lived from around 1683 to 1771.  Of his two patents, the later one is of particular interest because it is the earliest remaining record of an invention that resembles a typewriter in its purpose. No further record of his device now exists, and in fact, the machine may never have been built. Nevertheless, the issued patent gave him fourteen years of protection for his idea.]


A.D. 1706  .  .  .  . No. 376.

MILL.

Springs for Coaches, Chariots, and other Vehicles

 

ANNE, by the Grace of God, &c. To all to whom these presents shall come, greeting: Whereas Our Trusty and welbeloved Henry Mill, gent., hath by his petiçon humbly represented vnto Vs, That he hath by his great study and paines & expence invented and found out a new mathematicall instrument, consisting of new sorts or kinds of springs for the ease of persons riding in coaches, chariotts, calashes, and chaises, absolutely differing from the springs now vsed, which are placed below at the corners of the coaches, chariotts, calashes, this being made and to be placed and fixed vnto, betweene, and within the main leather braces, by which the bodyes of coaches, chariotts, calashes, and chaises are hung, being likewise inviron'd or incompassed with the said leather braces, and being placed or fixed in or very neare the middle of said braces, forcing them, in their vse and operation , to open somewhat like a rhombus or lozenge; and that the said new invented springs are made and contrived of several forms, viz, semicircular, circular, angular, ovall, or of various other forms, a small iron rodd or pinn running thro' the middle or extremities of the same springs, and may be putt on or taken off at pleasure in the space of halfe an hour; and which invençon is very much lighter than the said springs now in vse, a sett of those generally weighing about one hundred and twenty pounds, and a sett of these not exceeding twenty pounds in weight, and may be sold at farr lesse charge, and will alsoe be of greater ease and benefit to all persons vsing the same, than the aforesaid springs now vsed, or any other arts or inventions whatsoever serving to the like purposes.

From Letters Patent - Rolls Chapel.




A.D. 1714  .  .  .  . No. 395.

MILL.

Machine for Transcribing Letters


ANNE, by the Grace of God, &c. To all to whom these preseents shall come, greeting: Whereas Our Trusty and welbeloved Henry Mill, gent., hath by his petiçon humbly represented vnto Vs, That he hath by his great study and paines & expence invented and brought to perfection an artificial machine or method for impressing or transcribing of letters, one after another, as in writing, whereby all writing whatsoever may be engrossed in paper or parchment so neat and exact as not to be distinguished from print; that the said machine or method may be of great use in settlements and publick recors, the impression being deeper and more lasting than any other writing, and not to be erased or counterfeited without manifest discovery.

From Letters Patent - Rolls Chapel.


 
[Note: the words shown above as “petition” and “invention” are printed in the original text as “peticon” and “invencon” using a “c” with a tilde accent. It may be of interest that in the text, the 1706 patent No. 376 is immediately followed by No. 379 by the early steam-engine inventor Thomas Savery for “Making Double Hand Bellows” and No. 380 by the famous ironmaster Abraham Darby for “Casting Iron Bellied Pots in Sand Only.”]

Extracts from Bennet Woodcroft, Patent Office, Appendix to Reference Index of Patents of Invention, from 1617 to 1852 (1855), 45 & 49. (source)


Nature bears long with those who wrong her. She is patient under abuse. But when abuse has gone too far, when the time of reckoning finally comes, she is equally slow to be appeased and to turn away her wrath. (1882) -- Nathaniel Egleston, who was writing then about deforestation, but speaks equally well about the danger of climate change today.
Carl Sagan Thumbnail Carl Sagan: In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) ...(more by Sagan)

Albert Einstein: I used to wonder how it comes about that the electron is negative. Negative-positive—these are perfectly symmetric in physics. There is no reason whatever to prefer one to the other. Then why is the electron negative? I thought about this for a long time and at last all I could think was “It won the fight!” ...(more by Einstein)

Richard Feynman: It is the facts that matter, not the proofs. Physics can progress without the proofs, but we can't go on without the facts ... if the facts are right, then the proofs are a matter of playing around with the algebra correctly. ...(more by Feynman)
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