The Department of Commerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will unveil its newest periodic exhibit, "School Days," at an opening reception on Wednesday, October 17, 2001.
In the 1800s, as America began testing the idea of a common education system that was free and open to all, educators and inventors were testing tools for the classroom. From inkwells to chalk holders, from safety jump ropes to personal slate erasers, men and women tried to make the hours spent in that little red schoolhouse a little more pleasant.
Someone designed those fat black pencils especially for pint-sized pre-school hands as well as white paste-the sometimes delicacy of kindergartners. The common instruments students have historically brought to school have exploded in design and variety. Many companies and their products are linked with our school days. Their trademarks and brand names remind us of a time of scraped knees and playground rhymes, of crushes, and report cards. Their contributions shaped the face of education and many of them will be displayed in this USPTO Museum exhibit.
The exhibit also will highlight more than 40 school-related patent models on loan to the museum from Alan Rothschild and the Rothschild Petersen Patent Model Museum. Rothschild has nearly 4,000 patent models and related documents in his collection. The Rothschild patent models on display during the "School Days" exhibit include a blackboard and map case, book clamps, a combined lunch-box and a book bag.
The "School Days" exhibit will run through February 2002.
USPTO administers patent and trademark laws protecting intellectual property and rewarding individual effort. Intellectual property is a potent force in the competitive free enterprise system. By protecting intellectual endeavors and encouraging technological progress, USPTO seeks to preserve the United States' technological edge, which is a key to our current and future competitiveness. USPTO also disseminates patent and trademark information that promotes an understanding of intellectual property protection and facilitates the development and sharing of new technologies worldwide.
Over 6 million patents have been issued since the first patent in 1790 and more than 2.3 million trademarks have been registered since the first in 1870. Last year USPTO issued 182,223 patents and registered 127,794 trademarks.