Melvin H. Coulston


Mr. Coulston’s short term of office is evidence, not of his unfitness for the position, but of a peculiarity of our political system. He was confirmed by the Senate on the evening of March 3, 1921, in the dying hours of the 66th Congress, to serve until the upcoming administration should appoint a Commissioner of their own choice.

Mr. Coulston is another Commissioner who came up through the ranks, having been appointed 4th Assistant Examiner February 17, 1902, and risen through the grades to First Assistant Commissioner prior to his Commissionership. He had also been Chief Clerk of the Patent Office.

He was a brilliant person, even in his school days, winning scholarships with facility in Alfred and Cornell Universities. He was born a farm boy near West Bingham, Pennsylvania, August 28, 1877, the family later moving to Wellsville, New York, to obtain better school facilities.

After his resignation as Commissioner on April 5, 1921, Mr. Coulston joined the legal staff of the Eastern Railroad Association, in Washington.

[Mr. Coulston died on May 8, 1952.]


*Republished with permission of the Patent and Trademark Office Society from the article Biographical Sketches of the Commissioners of Patents, 18 J.P.O.S. 145 (1936).  The United States Patent and Trademark Office is grateful for the Society’s assistance.