The First U.S. Patent

On this day,  July 31, 1790, the very first American patent, which was signed by George Washington, was issued to Samuel Hopkins for a process of making potash, an ingredient used in fertilizer.

Abraham Lincoln believed that the invention of the printing press, the discovery of  America, and the American patent system brought about the most significant advances in human civilization.

The U.S. Constitution provides for patent laws in Article 1, Section 8, which reads,

 “Congress shall have power to… promote the progress of science and  useful arts by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the  exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries…”

For more posts on the U.S. Constitution, please visit the “Know the Constitution” category at