Digging for gold in the patent database

There is a lot of people smarter then you. And most of them are dead.
At least that is my impression when digging trough the goldmines of
the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office). Just search for
‘Lock AND pick AND decoder’ or other queries. The results are amazing.
Especially if you go back before 1950.

lock decoder 

(lock decoder 1937 by H. Abrams)

Unfortunately it is not possible to save or print these pieces of
art. Or maybe I am just lazy and did not invest enough time. So I just
took advantage of the ‘analog loophole’ and took a picture of my
screen to show you what to expect on that site. For hours and hours of
fun and education visit: http://patft.uspto.gov/netahtml/PTO/search-adv.htm

Happy hunting!

4 Responses to “Digging for gold in the patent database”

  1. Riccardox says:

    I can quite easily extract these images for you:) Feel free to drop me an email (mail at fluffypony dot co dot za) if you need help…

  2. Barry says:

    Riccardo: I will keep that in mind. But currently I am just way too busy with my daily work. Lockpicking is just a hobby that got a little out of hand 😉 Thanks for the offer!

  3. deciBell says:

    Just install AlternaTIFF (http://www.alternatiff.com/)
    and you can save, print etc.

  4. Schuyler says:


    I love digging through the Patent database. I took it up when my boss introduced me to it. He is constantly on the lookout for modern technology that could be applicable or competetive with our business.

    It’s incredible to see what people have come up with.