Mark Twain Essays
Mark Twain research papers discuss the life of this extraordinary man who was both a writer and an inventor. The research you order from Paper Masters can focus on Twains acheivements in inventing or on any aspect of his writing. Since all we produce are custom written research papers, you can dictate exactly what you need.
Most Americans are familiar with writer Samuel Clemens (1835-1910) better known as Mark Twain. Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn introduced countless children to the world of classic literature. What many do not know is that Clemens also held three patents for inventions:
- Suspenders in 1871
- Mark Twain’s Self-Pasting Scrapbook in 1873
- An educational game in 1885
Hartford residents, however, take great pride in the knowledge that longtime resident Samuel Clemens patented his self-pasting scrapbook while there in Hartford and that his Tom Sawyer was the country’s first typewritten manuscript.
The U.C. Berkeley Museum of Art, Science & Culture hosted an exhibition of Mark Twain artifacts and documents in January 1995, allowing a larger and more diverse public to view the sampling of manuscripts and artifacts than usual. Included on display were examples of Mark Twain’s inventions and patents, with numerous photographs and drawings, which introduce aficionados to a little known side of Samuel Clemens.
Several newly acquired documents, not all of them written by Mark Twain, also give insight into the passions that drove the man – his successes and failures. Letters written by Twain in the latter part of his life extol the experiences of his attempts to create and market what seemed, to him, to be infallible ideas.
The 1870s and 1880s were reported to be Twain’s most happy and productive decades. Although he lived in Hartford with wife Livy and their three daughters, he was also a familiar figure in New York. Already a popular author, playwright and businessman, he repetitively invested money in schemes and inventions that promised sudden wealth. In retrospect, it is difficult to determine what motivated Mark Twain to take notable financial risks when he had already achieved such a high level of success. There is some speculation that Twain, having achieved greatness, was seeking new and more fulfilling challenges.
A previously unpublished short story that some have titled “How I Made My First Invention,” was among documents discovered in Patent Office files. The story, written by Twain, chronicled his invention of a vest strap, for which he filed an application for patent on September 9, 1871. The strap was designed for placement at the back of a vest for the purpose of tightening the fit around the waist. The proposed strap was elastic, detachable and adjustable in length, to be fastened to the garment with buttons and buttonholes. Twain’s application met immediate resistance due to a similar invention by Henry C. Lockwood of Baltimore. Before the Patent Office would grant a patent to either man, it needed to determine who made the invention first. That determination initiated a process known as “interference” and required each man to submit a “preliminary statement” documenting the essential dates and facts related to the invention. Not surprisingly, Twain wrote a short story rather than submitting the usual bare formal recital with numbered paragraphs. Written by hand on plain paper dated October 6, 1871, it provided a newly discovered glimpse into the thinking processes of Mark Twain. The patent office accepted Twain’s documentation and patent No. 122,992 was awarded on December 19, 1871. The information was reported in an article in the Journal of the Patent Office Society that also discusses patent No. 140,245 granted in 1873 for a self-pasting scrapbook, which proved commercially profitable (Patent Files).