It has been a great pleasure to have listened to Mr. Mathys' most interesting paper on the patent specification as a source of information, and I have the added pleasure of having been asked by Mr. Mathys to explain how a seeker after information contained in English patent specifications can track down the specifications he wishes to read. Mr. Mathys suggested that I should explain some of the principles of the Patent Office classification and some of the practical results obtained. However, I propose to alter to some extent this logical order of presentation. After reviewing three lines of attack for locating a specification, I shall briefly review the historical development of the Classification key, that is the book in which the scheme of classification is disclosed, then I will show how a hypothetical Mr. X can locate specifications that disclose inventions relating to frying‐pans, and finally I will give a short resume of the principles underlying the scheme of and method of classifying patent specifications. I have adopted this inverted form of presentation because more people wish to use a classification system to find some specific item, than wish to study such a system as an abstract entity. No difficulty arises for a person who knows the patent number of a particular specification he wishes to read. He merely enters the Patent Office Library or one of the several provincial libraries that are supplied with copies of specifications, and quickly finds what he wants amidst an orderly numbered sequence. Alternatively, he can send 2s. 8d. to the Sale Branch of the Patent Office and obtain a copy by post.
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