The Online Patent Office

This week I find myself still hip deep in World Fishing Technology, with the wall next to my desk becoming more crowded as pieces of paper slowly form a timeline – although so far it only starts in 1949 and extends to 1955.

The highlight of this weekend – and one of my major tasks for this week – will be trawling (no pun intended) through the online patent database. While I will still be making why way trough the papers from WFT, a few too-random searches reveal patents that for trawl doors that go back to 1896.  Given that I can’t write a PhD without a substantial chapter on background and technology leading up until the 20th century, a few hours perusing these older patents may reveal some forgotton treasure.

My thanks to Guðmunder at Hampiðjan, who sent me the patents for the Larsen Atom Trawl and for the Breifðjord Trawl which has now got me started on this extended patent-hunt.

So far my reading is quite dry and very technical – although even these have the occasional gems; my favourite so far: “Communication is maintained during the operation either by radio telephony or shouting.” If it’s one thing I am sure of from my reading so far, its that 1950’s trawlermen didn’t mess about or lack ingenuity.