Is there a place on the Stack Exchange network where I can ask questions about the history of a patent? For example, this could involve questions on whether products based on a certain patent were ever manufactured, who manufactured them, to whom the patent was licensed, etc.

One of Ask Patents' close reasons is:

Production and Technology Questions Are Off Topic — Ask Patents is a community-run website to ask about the patent process or to help find Prior Art on US Patents or Applications. Unfortunately, questions about the underlying technology or production of products covered by these patents are outside the scope of this site. Sorry about the confusion.

A question on Ask Patents' Meta also states that these kinds of questions are off-topic there.

History.SE seems like a possibility, but that site seems to specialize more in broadly interesting questions on history rather than (arguably) obscure manufacturing factoids. Certain questions on very famous patents are probably ok there, probably not so much questions like "I found this patent for an outlandish-looking semi-automatic belt-fed crossbow from 1964, was such a thing ever actually sold in shops?"

This is not a duplicate of Where can I ask questions about patents? , as that is a broad question and gives a specific example of asking a question about the patent process, which is on-topic at Ask Patents. This question, therefore, is about asking whether certain patent-related questions that are explicitly off-topic on Ask Patents are on-topic elsewhere.

  • I think History.SE would be best.
    – Picachieu
    Commented Jan 28, 2019 at 18:46
  • 2
    @pizzastaticvoidmain Not sure but History of Science and Mathematics might also be a possibility depending on the question. Commented Jan 28, 2019 at 18:55
  • 2
    @MEE it doesn't seem to be very related to science or mathematics.
    – Picachieu
    Commented Jan 28, 2019 at 18:56

1 Answer 1


As you stated, questions about whether an invention was manufactured, who manufactured it, and to whom an invention might be licensed is explicitly off topic on the Patents site.

There isn't really a site to ask these questions broadly. Looking at your History SE example: I'm sure that community has some policies outlining the issue of notability; otherwise it would become a site where you can ask about anything that happened anywhere ever.

I don't believe there is a viable path to gather an avid, sustainable community catering to the accumulation of "random factoids" (as you called it). Unless your product or company happens to be historically notable, it sounds like the solution lies in personal research, not Q&A. I don't think there is a site which could be made viable around any "random factoid" subject.

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