Patent Office Ends Partnership with Smithsonian on Meteorological Program

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Date: May 1860

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Summary

A new Commissioner of Patents, Philip Francis Thomas, terminates the U.S. Patent Office's support of the Smithsonian's meteorology program. Since July 1855, the Patent Office had printed blank registers for volunteer weather observers, allowed use of its franking privilege (or permission for mail to be sent without postage) to distribute blanks, provided some instruments, and helped pay for data reduction costs. The Patent Office would continue to use its franking privilege to receive forms from observers on the Smithsonian's behalf for the next two years. In 1862, the Agriculture Department would begin distributing and collecting blanks for the Smithsonian and publishing some of the Institution's meteorological observations in the department's monthly bulletin on crops and the weather. In 1860, the Smithsonian devotes some $4,400, or thirty percent of its research and publication budget, to meteorology. Its network of weather observers has expanded to five hundred people throughout the country.

Subject

  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Thomas, Philip F (Philip Francis) 1810-1890
  • Meteorological Project
  • United States Patent Office

Category

Chronology of Smithsonian History

Notes

  • Image of list of Meteorological Observers for the Smithsonian's Meteorological Project, negative # SIA2010-0726.
  • Rothenberg, Marc, et al, eds. The Papers of Joseph Henry, Volume 10, January 1858-December 1865: The Smithsonian Years. Washington, D.C.: Science History Publications, 2004, pp. 156-57.
  • Rothenberg, Marc, et al, eds. The Papers of Joseph Henry, Volume 11, January 1866-May 1878: The Smithsonian Years. Washington, D.C.: Science History Publications, 2007, pp. xxix-xxx, 479.
  • Smithsonian annual Report for 1863, pp. 31-33 (http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/8889744).

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu

Date

May 1860

Topic

  • Interagency Relations
  • Volunteers
  • Meteorology

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