When the British burned Washington in the War of 1812, the building that housed the Patent Office and General Post Office was the sole survivor. (That's where Congress had to meet during re-building.http://www.uh.edu/engines/epi1932.htm
On the morning of December 15, 1836, the Patent Office, then located at the Blodgett's Hotel in Washington, D.C., was consumed by fire. Among the lost patent-related materials were an estimated 7,000 models and 9,000 drawings of pending and patented inventions. Also destroyed in the flames were the file histories of thousands of patents and pending applications; these losses were considered the most serious because without supporting documentation, a patent was not valid and an application could not be prosecuted.
In the 46 years prior to the fire, the United States government had issued about 10,000 patents. Congress acted to restore those records that could be reconstructed from private files and reproduce models, which were deemed the most valuable and interesting. Patents whose records were not restored were cancelled. There were a total of 2,845 patents restored.
About 11 o'clock on the morning of Monday, September 24, 1877, employees in the building discovered that dense clouds of smoke were issuing from the skylights of the building. Firemen were summoned immediately, but there was some delay in getting water to the fire because the fire was 80 feet above the street, and 20 feet above the water pressure in the hydrants.The major loss was of the drawings and the corresponding models for 31 older patents, leaving only the specifications from which to restore the patent. No patents were totally lost in the fire of 1877.
————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–It turns out that patents have been churned out continuously since July 31, 1790, when someone named Samuel Hopkins was granted the very first U.S. patent. It was issued for his “improvement in the making of Pot ash and Pearl ash by a new apparatus and process.” Potash, as you may know, has been used for centuries in the production of soap, glass, and fertilizer.
Hopkins’ patent, by the way, was not listed in the official records as #1, because until 1836, patents were listed by names and dates. A renumbering process began that year, because a fire in the patent office destroyed most of the records ——————————————- Ever do patent searches for whistles ???