Steve van Dulken

Steve van Dulken

Inventing the 19th Century



The author of numerous books on the history of patents, Stephen Van Dulken is an expert curator in the Patents Information Service of The British Library.

His recent book, Inventing the 19th Century, chronicles the remarkable technological achievements of the Victorian Age, a period of great progress in the fields of communications, transport and many other areas of life. This progress is revealed decade by decade with such ground-breaking inventions as aspirin, dynamite, the telephone, dishwashers, electric light bulbs, gramophones, motion picture cameras, radios, roller skates, and typewriters. The book is illustrated with the original patent drawings from The British Library's extensive collection. It is a fascinating, illustrative window on to the Victorian Age.

Stephen's earlier book, Inventing the 20th Century (with Andrew Phillips), highlights 100 inventions from the past century from the photocopier to the Slinky. Many of these inventions have radically changed the world and our daily lives. Each invention is illustrated and presented with a brief history of its patent together with often entertaining excerpts from the original.

While fun to read, this book also challenges the reader and inspires thought about the impact of technology on our common future. Inventing the 20th Century reveals how many of the most basic aspects of our material existence have been revolutionized through these objects.

American Inventions is a history of "Curious, Extraordinary, and Just Plain Useful Patents" that were approved by the U.S. Patent Office during the past two centuries. This book displays how an inventive character has shaped so many aspects of our everyday life in the home, the workplace, and on the open road. It describes a panorama of ingenuity in a compelling story which sparks those "eureka" moments in American history.

By compiling a thorough catalog of inventions, van Dulken shows how trends in the history of the United States are reflected in the patent records. In one example, the history of the frisbee is traced from an early college pastime of throwing pie tins to a time when the public was fascinated with flying saucers. Illustrated with original patent drawings, this book describes the origins of popular and obscure creations that were discovered among more than six million patents. Viewed together, these creations demonstrate objects and ideas that are by nature ingenious, amusing and perfectly sensible.

Another of Stephen van Dulken's works: British Patents of Invention, 1617-1977 guides researchers to use patents as a source of historical information for the development of science and technology. It covers the British patents system from 1617 until the 1977 Patents Act. with sections on: the historical background of the patent system; patenting procedure; people in the patent system; the patent specification; and, searching for patents information.

From (USA):

Inventing the 21st Century

Inventing the 19th Century

Inventing the 20th Century

American Inventions: A History of Curious, Extraordinary, and Just Plain Useful Patents

British Patents of Invention

Introduction to Patents Information