Patent and Trademark information on wire marker materials
i.e. 'Wire markers' for Pre-WWII R-R/B Automobiles
Surprisingly, all US patents and information about US trademarks, both active and expired, are available for viewing online at In most cases the original registration documents with various notes concerning their renewal history can be viewed online. There are separate links on the US government site for patent and trademark searches. Neither search is terribly difficult to perform, but there are some issues you need to understand beforehand.

All patents prior to 1976 are online in a special TIFF image format; most TIFF viewers supposedly will not work with these files. A
help page found through their FAQ's includes links to the software needed for viewing the files. If you are lucky, you might not need any new software for viewing. Unfortunately, for those in need, the required viewer software depends upon what computer and/or browser you are using. If the patent image link in the next paragraph gives you a blank spot for a document page in an otherwise normal looking screen, you likely must visit one of the help page links, download a software file and install a viewer. For Firefox v1.5.0.1 running on a Windows XP system, the AlternaTIFF plug-in works well.

Provided you have the proper viewer installed, a copy of one of the first US Bakelite patents, #942,699, can be accessed from
#942,699. After clicking the link, a new page will load with several selection boxes at the upper center of the screen. You will need to click the 'Images' box to see the actual document image. If you click the 'Images' button and the page that loads has a blank area, you will need to follow the instructions in our previous paragraph to install a software viewer. Once you get this process to work, you can similarly view any US patent from this site by going to 'Home', 'Search' patents, 'Quick Search' and putting appropriate entries in the 'Term 1', 'Field 1' and 'Select years' boxes. For patents issued before 1976 you need to know the patent number since most of the other search field choices do not work.

Trade Marks
Although it is done from the same main URL, viewing trademark information is different than for patents - it is both easier, and more difficult. The trademark server apparently has marginal capacity; the time limit for any connection is 10 minutes. By observation it seems that this time limit is enforced by making the URL to the search pages a dynamic address. Every 10 minutes the address of the page changes so any link more than 10 minutes old will produce a 'This search session has expired' error. That means we cannot add links on our pages that will help you find the trademarks directly. A manual search for a trademark, as we describe in the next paragraph, is fairly easy and works well.

To view the trademark information go to and in the menu on the left side, under the Trademarks title, click on the word 'Search'. In the center of the next page under the heading 'Select the Search Form' click on the 'New User Form Search (Basic)' link. Your active cursor should now be in a box titled 'Search Term'. In this box enter either 'erinoid' or 'bakelite' (case insensitive) and then press the button below and to the left marked 'Submit Query'. For Erinoid there is a single choice which is automatically displayed. For Bakelite there are currently 9 choices, click on any of the items in the left column, the oldest and most of interest for us is #9 at the bottom.

Finally, the basic textual information about the trademark and its usage should be displayed. Additional information is available by clicking any of the four blue blocks above the text area. Historically speaking, we think one of the more interesting links is the 'TDR' button which provides a link to an image of the actual registration documents, some of which were filed nearly 100 years ago.
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