The Archivist of the United Stated presented two facsimile documents to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales this afternoon. Prince Charles stopped by to see our original copy of the 1297 Magna Carta while attending a conference in our building on the 800th anniversary of this document.

At the National Archives, we sometimes give facsimiles of documents to special visitors, whether it’s the Prince of Wales or design maven Tim Gunn. In our vast holdings, we often find directly relating to them, or about them.

This 1957 telegram is in reference to the engine specifications of an American-built “midget car” for the 8-year-old prince. Staff were “anxious [to] get car ready before Prince Charles returns from school,” and although they had the car running, they needed to know what kind of gas should go in the engine!

Since we hold the records of the Patent and Trademark Office, we also presented him with a facsimile of a patent application. This patent for a polo stick was filed by his uncle Lord Louis Mountbatten on August 6, 1931.

Improvement in Ear-Mufflers - Chester Greenwood (188292)

From the series: Selected Patent Files, 1840 - 2005

Inventor and Maine native son Chester Greenwood patented this “Improvement in Ear-Mufflers” on March 13, 1877.  Born in 1858, he was only 19 at the time, having reportedly come up with the idea was he was just 15 years old. A prolific inventor and entrepreneur, Greenwood’s contributions are still celebrated with annual “Chester Greenwood Dayfestivals in Maine.

Coincidentally, Maine celebrates its 195th Statehood Anniversary this weekend, established on March 15, 1820, following the approval of the Missouri Compromise on March 6, 1820.

(Special thanks to Audrey Amidon, National Archives Motion Picture Preservation Specialist and Maine native for the find!)

Fact 5073: Stanford, which holds the patent to the PageRank algorithm Larry Page created, received 1.8 million shares of Google stock in exchange for long-term rights to the patent. Stanford’s profit was $336 million, most likely the most money any university has ever received from a single invention.

Feb. 19, 1878 - Thomas Edison patents the phonograph.

Portrait of Thomas Alva Edison posing with phonograph. Stamped on back: “Credit for reproduction must be assigned to the Thomas Alva Edison Foundation Museum, West Orange, New Jersey.” Handwritten on back: “Edison, Thomas Alva, 1847-1931.”

  • Courtesy of the Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library