DescriptionThomas Edison Patent Request Signed "Thomas Alva Edison." One ruled page in handwritten Spanish, 8" x 12.5", n.p., June 7, 1881. Before the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property of 1883, which passed the first international patent agreement, inventors had to obtain individual patents from each nation. In this document, Edison, less than two years after inventing the first commercially practical incandescent light bulb, seeks a patent for his "new and improved equipment for electric lamps and methods of manufacturing them" from the Republic of Bolivia. This significant document is somewhat soiled and affixed to a backing which has been beautifully framed and matted with an engraving of Edison and translation of the patent request for an overall size of 27.25" x 27".
Translated in part: "Thomas Alva Edison, electrician, residing in Menlo Park, in the State of New Jersey, of the United States of America, to Your Excellency with all due respect introduces himself and states: That he has invented new and improved equipment for electric lamps and methods of manufacturing them and for methods of generating, distributing, regulating and measuring electric current and for utilizing them in the production of light, heat and power; which have remarkable and great public usefulness. That he the true and first inventor of the improvements noted here. . . . He requests for these reasons, of Your Excellency, that you consent to arrange to issue a Patent of Invention from the Republic of Bolivia in favor of this application which conforms to the laws of the country which govern in such cases. Thus he awaits the approval of Your Excellency. . . . [Signed] Thomas Alva Edison."
Only weeks after successfully illuminating a vacuum light bulb for forty hours in October 1879, Thomas Edison received a U.S. patent for his improved incandescent light bulb (January 1880). That same year he obtained a U.S. patent for the distribution of electricity. After each invention or improvement, he had to obtain patents from each nation that he thought would use his inventions. As he continued to improve his work, he had to again ask for patents. This is a fine example of one of those rare requests.
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