William Thornton Quotes

Are you Englishmen, or only Goths and Vandals? This is the Patent Office, the depository of the ingenuity and invention of the American nation, in which the whole civilized world is interested. Would you destroy it? If so, fire away! and let the charge pass through my body!

In the War of 1812, in retaliation of English facilities being attacked by Americans in Canada, the British raided Washington DC and burned the White House. They had also set up a battery of cannon in front of the Patent Office building—one of the most impressive in Washington—and were about to destroy it. The Superintendent came out with this speech. The British officer ordered the cannon removed and the Patent Office with its models was saved.
William Thornton
William Thornton
  • Born: May 20, 1759
  • Died: March 28, 1828
  • Nationality: British, American
  • Profession:

Dr. William Thornton was a British-American physician, inventor, painter and architect who designed the United States Capitol. He also served as the first Architect of the Capitol and first Superintendent of the United States Patent Office.

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