Dating early english documents

Original records relating to Irish patents have not survived but some records held by the National Archives contain references to Irish patents.Although printed copies of these Scottish and Irish patents are not available the British Library does have some indexes which are available to researchers in the Business and IP Centre reading room.During the1850s the British patent system was subject to major reforms.

It is these pamphlets, published in the mid nineteenth century, to which we refer when talking about the British Library’s collection of early English patents.

The original enrolments of early English patents and any specifications are kept at the National Archives.

If you contact them they can usually make a very brief search for you.

For instance they can search for the name of a single individual across all technical areas over a ten year period.

The British Library does have a few examples of the parchments given to English patentees at grant and a few contemporary copies of patent specifications.

Printed copies of early Scottish and Irish patents are not available.If you have a patent number and year Our electronic document store contains images of English patents from 1617 to September 1852 and of British patents from October 1852 to 1899.So, if you know the year and number of any English or British patent from the period 1617 to 1899 you can view the document and print a copy of it in any of our reading rooms.The text of the patent document identifies the patentee and provides a technical description of the invention. The patents were numbered in annual sequences, so it is very important when referencing patents from this period to cite both the patent number and the year to avoid confusion.You can see a detailed list of the English and British patents we hold at the British Library for the period 1617-1899 on our Great Britain documentation page.The sequence runs from GB1 of 1617 to GB14359 of September 1852.

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