In 1845, Abraham Lincoln had tried to patent an idea very similar to Facebook, it has been revealed.
According to blogger Nate St. Pierre, the idea was rejected by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
St. Pierre described a visit to the Lincoln Museum in Springfield, Ill., where he was shown a paper, the Springfield Gazette. Resembling a newspaper, it was instead “the visual appendix to a patent application” for a 19th-century social network, he said.
“Lincoln was requesting a patent for The Gazette, a system to keep People aware of Others in the Town,” Discovery News quoted St. Pierre as writing.
According to the elaborate story, the paper’s layout was as clear as modern-day Facebook, making Lincoln the father of social networks.
The Gazette would have featured a profile picture, personal information, copied and shared material, and few longer posts: that was Facebook, 167 years ago, St. Pierre concluded.
Even though the story was cleverly conceived, indeed more than 5,000 people shared it from St. Pierre’s site, it wasn’t that hard to see it was totally fabricated.
“Newspapers of the era couldn’t reproduce photographs. Until the 1880s or so, photographs had to be turned into engravings before printing,” As one commenter pointed out.
It should be also added that the 1845 “profile picture” was taken in 1846 or 1847, according to the Library of Congress.
However, Abraham Lincoln did hold a patent. It was for a device to lift boats over shoals and obstructions in a river.
Although the invention was never put into production, Lincoln remains the only U.S. president to have received a patent in 1849.