www.pat2pdf.org - A Free Patent Retrieval Site
:: As noted on Jay Bhatt's site, www.pat2pdf.org is a website that allows for free downloading of patents from the USPTO. More details on the site are available here. I checked for older patents, eventually searching for and finding US Patent 1, so I'm assuming any US patent is available via this service. This site could prove to be a valuable resource for students working on engineering design projects, and is much easier to use than the USPTO site, which requires a .tiff plugin.