An under-explored resource for understanding business history, intellectual property and changes in design is now more readily accessible. The National Archives has extended online access to the Board of Trade Representations and Registers of Designs, 1839-1991; the written registration records for Series BT43/BT44 (1842-1883/4) have been transcribed, catalogued and posted online at a design level. The BT Design Register contains records of nearly 3 million designs registered for copyright protection between 1839 and 1991, with records of who registered designs and when, as well as representations of the designs themselves (as images and artefacts). The registrations were made mainly by proprietors in the UK, but the coverage is world-wide. A talk by Dr Dinah Eastop, about the progress made in opening up this name-rich set of records, is now available as a podcast. Click on the links below for this talk and more information about the BT Design Register.
Halls, J. (Accepted) Questions of Attribution: Registered Designs at The National Archives. Journal of Design History. Advance Access published February 22, 2013.