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History of DATAMP
The following is a short history of DATAMP
Back in the days before online patent databases, a few intrepid researchers of woodworking tools and machinery dug out patent information by going to patent libraries. After running up hefty photocopying bills, some of them went to the further trouble of publishing the information. Often these books of patent information were only available direct from the author, usually at tool-collecting events. Thus, the information was only readily available to a select few serious collectors.

Volunteers for EAIA worked for many years to compile a listing of every known American and Canadian tool maker. Their magnum opus, edited by Bob Nelson, is titled Directory of American Toolmakers (DAT). It includes substantial listings of patent dates appearing on manufactured tools.

Another notable work is Patented Transitonal and Metallic Planes in America (PTAMPIA), volumes I and II, by Roger K. Smith. These books include extensive patent information, and also provide impressive research on the manufacture of the planes.

Other notable authors of books on woodworking tool and machinery patents include Milton H. Bacheller, Jr. (marking gages), Ken Cope (machinists tools, treadle-powered machinery), Todd L. Friberg (saw sets), Thomas C. Lamond (spokeshaves), Lars Larson & Clarence Blanchard (planes), Ronald W. Pearson (bit braces), James Price (bitstock tools), Don Rosebrook (levels), Erwin L. Schaffer (handsaws), and John Walter (tools from Stanley Rule & Level). There are many others as well.

In 2000, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) put their database of patents online. Unfortunately, searchable text is only available for patents issued from 1976 onwards. All previous patents are searchable only by patent number and USPTO classification number. With considerable experience, it is possible to take a patent date marked on a tool or machine, and find the corresponding patent. For the inexperienced researcher, it is an exercise in frustration.

Since the USPTO database went online, many woodworking tool and machinery aficionados have invested the time to look up some patents. The information collected was stored on individual computers, or placed on scattered websites. What was really needed was a central gathering place for woodworking-related patent information that could be searched both by casual users and serious researchers. Information not included in the patent record would also be useful, including information on whether an invention was ever manufactured, and by whom. Photographs, critiques, and links to related web sites would all be useful.

In early 2002, members of the oldtools and oldwwmachines mailing lists agreed to tackle the job of creating a searchable online database of woodworking patents. In tribute to the pioneering efforts in DAT and PTAMPIA, the database is called the Directory of American Tool and Machinery Patents (DATAMP).

DATAMP is currently focused on American patents, but it is able to handle patents from any country. Click here to see a list of the non US patents entered so far.