NCSU Libraries

To promote the Progress of Science . . . by securing for limited Times to . . . Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective . . . Discoveries

Constitution of the United States, Article I, Section 8, Clause 8
Types of Patents
Noteworthy Patents

Welcome to "Inventions! Patents at NC State University." This exhibit, which attests to the tradition of creative intellectual inquiry at NC State University, highlights some of the many patents developed by faculty at the university and selected items from NCSU Libraries' rich collection of materials relating to patents. It also explores the library's role as a patent depository library under an agreement with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). For more information on patent research at NC State go to

Research at NC State has resulted in many interesting developments -- from Hayne Palmour III's work on olivine refractory bricks for heat storage applications to Mansour Mohamed's work on a multi-axial, three-dimensional weaving process originally used in the Mars Mission program. An important recent discovery is Anne-Marie Stomp's work with duckweed to produce therapeutic proteins such as insulin. These are but a few of the notable inventions by NC State's faculty. In fact, the 1998 Association of University Technology Managers ranked NC State fourth in the nation for the number of patents generated by faculty at universities without medical schools. The Libraries' faculty author database features many of the recent faculty patents at

NCSU Libraries

The NCSU Libraries was designated a Patent and Trademark Depository Library (PTDL) by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) in late September 1977. As a PTDL, the library provides assistance to students, faculty, and the general public in conducting patent and trademark searches and in the use of other patent and trademark research materials. In return for providing this assistance, the U.S. PTO provides the library with patent collections, electronic resources, equipment, and staff training. The NCSU Libraries is the one of two PTDL in North Carolina and provides patent and trademark assistance to inventors and entrepreneurs around the state. Contact Hyun-Duck Chung for more information about the PTDL program.

Types of Patents

Noteworthy Patents

Click on images to enlarge

  • Samuel Hopkins:

    Method for Making Potash and Pearlash

    First Patent (unumbered)

    July 31, 1790

Letter from the Patent's office accepting the 1st patent submitted by Samuel Hopkins.







  • Abraham Lincoln:

    Device for Buoying Vessels Over Shoals

    Patent No. 6,469

    May 23, 1849

Click here to view Lincoln's description of the patent.







  • Thomas A. Edison:

    Phonograph or Speaking Machine

    Patent No. 200,521

    February 19, 1878

Sketch and description of Edison's phonograph or speaking machine.







  • A. Bartholdi:

    Statue Design

    Patent No. D11,023

    February 18, 1879

Photo of Statue of Liberty.







  • Wright Brothers:

    Flying Machine Patent

    Patent No. 821,393

    May 22, 1906

Sketch of the Wright Brother's Flying Machine.


  • R. H. Goddard:

    Rocket Apparatus

    Patent No. 1,103,503

    July 14, 1914

Sketch of Goddard's rocket apparatus.







  • Robert N. Noyce:

    Semiconductor device-and-lead Structure

    Patent No. 2,981,877

    April 25, 1961

Sketch of a semiconductor device-and-lead structure.







  • R. Buckminster Fuller:

    Fuller Suspension Building

    Patent No. 3,139,957

    July 7, 1964


  • L. Glicenstein:

    Chrysanthemum Plant Named 'Arabella'

    Plant Patent No. 10,375

    May 5, 1998

Photo of Chrysanthemum Plant called "Arabella."








Text by Maryjo George, Jean Porter, Hermann Trojanowski, and Caroline Weaver. Website by Meg Nystrom and Caroline Weaver.