Trademarks from the Jeffersonian Era to the Industrial Revolution

This period ushered in the use of trademarks in a way familiar to us today. The legislative debate over trademarks was influenced by Thomas Jefferson. The first trademark court cases were followed by legislation. Trademarks were now considered legal property. Brand names became familiar to consumers.

Origins of American trademark protection is the manufacture of sail cloth.

Lead label or seal required to be affixed to goods.

Jefferson recommends trademark legislation based on commerce clause of the Constitution, in consideration of requests of sailcloth makers. The federal protection available covers only items of manufacture being exported to foreign nations or into Indian Territory. Items manufactured and sold within a State are protected by State legislation. There is no provision for interstate commerce.

Michigan enacts a law requiring log marks to be registered in the county where the logs are to be manufactured into lumber .

Trademark laws enacted in France.

Trademark laws enacted in UK.

Trademark legislation passed based on patent and copyright clause of the Constitution, later repealed.
First trademark is registered to Averill Paints.

The Official Gazette of the United States Patent and Trademark Office begins publication.

Bass® brewery registers first trademark in UK.

Trademark legislation is passed based on commerce clause of the Constitution. Provision is made for the registration of trademarks to be used in commerce with foreign nations and with the Indian tribes. No provision is made for interstate commerce.

First international trademark agreement was reached at the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. The countries involved in this convention agreed to provide the same protections regarding marks that they provide to their own nationals.

Coca Cola® first used as a trademark for a tonic beverage.

Quaker® registered as a trademark for oats.

Thomas Jefferson: Father of the American Trademark

Thomas Jefferson is a controversial American hero. He was one of the authors and signers of the Declaration of Independence, a framer of the Constitution and the third President of the United States of America. He lead a versatile career as statesman, architect, scientist, educator, inventor and planter. He led early efforts to abolish slavery but was a slave owner himself. The Library of Congress and trademarks as they are used today in Commerce can be counted among his lasting contributions.

Thomas Jefferson's seal
The mark of Thomas Jefferson's personal seal.
reproduction on newspaper section Newspaper clipping about Jefferson's inauguration.
picture of George Washington and his cabinet
Library of Congress reading room
A reading room at the
Library of Congress.
Jefferson Electric trademark image
A trademark featuring Jefferson was
Published for Opposition in 1937.
To read more about Thomas Jefferson, see Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents of the United States from George Washington 1789 to John F. Kennedy 1961, The Presidents of the United States: The First Twenty Years by John Gudias, Jefferson's Legacy: A Brief History of the Library of Congress by John Y. Cole and Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings : an American controversy by Annette Gordon-Reed.

These images are not available for duplication.

Cattle Brands

The first trademarks used in America were proprietory marks, such as cattle brands. The earliest brands were given as a grant by the king of Spain.

Spanish Colonial
Flores cattle brand
Granted to
Don Juan Joseph Flores
July 1, 1762.
Provincial cattle brand
Provincial Company
Rio Grande
circa 1817.
cattle brand from Nagadoches
Recorded in Nagadoches
May 5, 1828.

Brands from Austin, Texas
cattle tongs
Simon Green
Austin, Texas.
Lazy S Circle brand
Circle Lazy S Circle
G. S. Jones
Austin, Texas
Open A Triangle brand
Open A Triangle LB
A. Bahn
Austin, Texas.

Animal Imagery
turtle shaped brand
Sorell Smith
San Saba, Texas
lizard shaped brand
C. S. Pix
pig shaped brand
E. P. Moorehead
Del Rio, Texas
These images may be duplicated provided appropriate credit is given.

Log Marks

In 1842, Michigan enacted a law, patterned after a 1692 English law, requiring log marks to be registered in the county where the logs were to be manufactured into lumber. When loggers sent their lumber downstream they needed to be able to prove ownership. The law was intended to prevent confusion and log piracy. Michigan's law engendered hundreds of marks. The marks originally were limited to straight lines and simple patterns which could be cut with an ax but they soon evolved from the mundane, to the creative and poetic.

AB log brand brand with heart shape
brand with pointed finger
brand with horse shoe shape brand with the letter M

Logmarks varied as much as the imagination of the loggers.
brand with hangman brand with pig's head
brand with container or rye brand with words tax and sky and yet

The lumber industry today uses trademarks based on logmarks.
brand with letters
brand with image of log and stylized letter D brand with tree and stars

To read more about logmarks, see The Story of Logging the White Pine in the Saginaw Valley: A Story with Rare Old-Time Pictures, Complete with Dictionary of Loggers' Terms by Irene M. Hargreaves and Michigan log marks: Their Function and Use During the Great Michigan Pine Harvest from the United States Work Projects Administration Michigan.