Cincinnati has long been a center of manufacturing and inventing activity. During the 19th Century, everything from candles and soap to locomotive engines and furniture were manufactured in Cincinnati’s bustling factories. Cincinnati has been the home of pioneering inventors such as Granville Woods, the “Black Edison” of the 19th Century. Granville received his first patent (299,894) in Cincinnati in 1884 for an improved steam boiler furnace. Another major Cincinnati innovator, Procter & Gamble, received one of its first of many patents for James Gamble’s candle molding machine with patent number 2,405 in 1841. In later years, products from Pringles to the card game Uno have either been invented or perfected in the Queen City.
This database indexes patent citations of inventions from all individual inventors and notes some well-known Cincinnati companies. Each citation also provides the patent number. To view the full-image of a patent, search by the patent number at the USPTO website. TIFF software is required to view the patent full-image. See the Preamble & FAQ section of this website for more details on TIFF. The Main Library also offers the patent documents for viewing in print, microfilm, and DVD-ROM formats.
Comprehensive Database Coverage through 1873
The database contains over 2,600 U.S. patents granted to Cincinnati & Hamilton County inventors through 1873. This year reflects the ending date of the reference book Subject-Matter Index of Patents for Inventions 1790–1873. This book has been utilized as a basis for the initial data entry. However, some later dates of historical significance, such as Granville Woods’s Cincinnati patents, have been included. More patents from after 1873 will be added in the future.
Among these 2,600 entries is the earliest recorded, 1814 patent number X2,190 for P. Sarchet, Sr. and his Method for Manufacturing Salt. X patent numbers are from a group of patents that were destroyed in a fire at the U.S. Patent office in 1836. Some X patents were later found, but the patent X2,190 image is no longer available. Also noteworthy, Mary Jane Pulte’s patent number 35,706 appears to be the first patent granted to a Cincinnati woman, in 1862 for Improved Composition for Cleaning Gloves.
Patents at the Library
As an official Patent & Trademark depository library since 1871, the Library has copies or records of all issued U.S. patents and trademarks back to 1790. In addition, all the search tools to conduct a patent or trademark search are on hand. Generations of inventors, antique collectors, genealogists and business researchers have used the Library’s patent collections.
The Information & Reference Department provides plenty of resources and assistance for inventors. Visit the Department on the 2nd floor of the Main Library or call us at 513-369-6900 for more information. We offer a comprehensive patent collection, reference materials, and forms for all inventors. We also offer a recurring free series of many programs, such as the Power of Patents and the monthly meetings of the Cincinnati Inventor’s Council. See more about these inventor programs at our Government Resources page.
Each entry includes an inventor and invention name, patent number, and date of issue. When known, the inventor’s full first name is included. Also if known, the inventor’s gender is included.
Browse or keyword search the Inventor Name field to find an inventor by last name. Some inventors have first initials only.
Researchers can either Browse by title or Search by keyword for inventions. All inventions use the exact wording used by the inventor. When searching inventions by keyword, try using synonyms or smaller root-word stems for better results, for example “wash” instead of “washing.” Boolean operator searching is not available.
Other Resources at the Library
Other Departments at the Main Library have plenty to offer for researchers, inventors, and genealogists. The Genealogy & Local History Department specializes in family history research. Its collection includes all population Census records from 1790–1930, as well as Cincinnati City Directories from the mid-19th Century to the present. The Department also collects primary source material on Cincinnati’s business past. Its collections include some 4,000 original, 19th Century product catalogs from dozens of Cincinnati companies.