Inventors and Patents From the City of Holland
The Chamber of Accounts of Holland has a patent register where inventors can record their inventions. Unfortunately, almost all of the original patent applications have been lost. However, grants of patents were often attached to the patent applicant’s file, which contains a brief description of the invention.
The earliest patents for inventions in the Low Countries date from the fifteen60s, and the process of obtaining inventor privileges became increasingly common in the following years. Initially, the grants were given by the sovereign, but after 1581, the system was continued by three different authorities: the central government of the Dutch Republic, the seven province-level estate governments, and the Northern Dutch town authorities.
In the 16th century, governments started using inventor privileges to encourage economic development. These privileges granted an inventor the exclusive right to use their innovations for a set period of time. Some patents also allowed the inventor to grant licenses to other people. It is important to note that inventor privileges were granted for both newly-conceived inventions and for the introduction of existing ones. Unlike today, patenting an invention did not require proof of original authorship.
Van Merwen was the supervisor of the municipal building company, and this may have encouraged him to develop new devices. He obtained patents for a watermill and a scoop wheel in 1584, and in 1589, he patented an artificial stone that was as hard as rock. His patents reflected his expertise in building materials.
The Dutch patent system was not a new concept: in the early sixteenth century, the Netherlands was the largest province in Europe to grant patents for inventions. The patenting process benefited people from all fields, including the building trades. Architects and builders were particularly active in obtaining patent privileges, and the process stimulated the exchange of ideas and innovations between people with theoretical and practical backgrounds.
The Holland-Zeeland region is known as an industrial powerhouse, and the work ethic of the residents is legendary. The local business community is proactive, promoting initiatives such as the Industrial Bonus Plan and public-private partnerships. These measures have resulted in the growth of numerous companies, including the Bush & Lane Piano Co., which relocated from Chicago.
Holland’s work in the submarine field was also notable. He was the first person to design a modern submarine and tested his first prototype in a pond in North Mon, where he had taught. His time with the Christian Brothers influenced his work in the fields of maths and engineering, and he spoke fondly about his time in Cork. His brother, Michael, introduced him to the Irish Republican Brotherhood organisation in the US. This group agreed to underwrite Holland’s first submarine and his second.
One of the most important developments in construction was the introduction of artificial stone in the 17th century. It was created using local materials, which saved building companies the expense of importing natural stones. The Dutch Republic did not have many quarries, so artificial stone helped builders save money. Christiaan Anthonisz van Tichelsteyn was a Dutch inventor, who invented a cement imitation of blue and white limestone.
This new building material was described as being as hard as rock and able to withstand high temperatures. This product was used to build houses and was marketed as a cheaper alternative to stone. It was also lighter, making it more affordable. Two English inventors also developed similar terracotta products for architectural ornamentation.
The Dutch patent system facilitated technological innovation in the building industry, and architects, masons, and craftsmen sought patent privileges for their creations. By securing patents for their innovations, these professionals were able to increase building efficiency and reduce labour costs. This exchange of knowledge between the various disciplines was essential to the early modern city.
Dutch building techniques derived from the 17th century Dutch Republic were considered among the best in Europe at the time. These techniques included expertise in foundations and hydraulic engineering. Construction in marshy conditions was very difficult and expensive, requiring experts from different disciplines. However, Dutch building techniques were renowned for their excellence in building in difficult conditions.
The wind-powered pump is a unique example of the technology used to provide water to communities. Windpumps have been used to pump water since the 9th century in Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan. The pump spread across the Islamic world, and was eventually used throughout Europe. It was also used for drainage of land.
The windmill was originally constructed in the Dutch town of Vinkel. In 1964, it was shipped to the City of Holland. The City of Holland was able to acquire the windmill through negotiations with the Dutch government. They wanted to preserve this piece of Dutch history, so they purchased it. However, they needed to ensure that the windmill was functioning and represented the Dutch culture.
Windmills were popular in the Netherlands during the 19th century, but their use declined gradually. People tended to prefer windmills with fully or auxiliary steam engines. After the 19th century, only a few windmills were built in the country. By then, windmills were mainly used to generate electricity.
Wind power has been used for thousands of years to power various tasks. In early civilizations, humans used wind to propel boats. They also used windmills to pump water and grind grain. However, windmills were not suitable for processes that required a steady amount of power, such as tool-sharpening and spinning.
The City of Holland has more than a thousand windmills. Several still operate today. One in Amsterdam is still in use, while another is in Leiden. Today, it serves as a museum.
The Swivel-gate lock is a security mechanism for a gate. Its purpose is to prevent the gate from swinging. The lock uses a loop-shaped keeper on a fence post to support the latch carried by the gate. This device improves construction and cooperation between the gate and the keeper.