By David Pretel

This article examines the discourse of the social actors who operated within or through the Spanish patent institution during the nineteenth century. The article’s principal focus is the representation and conceptualisation of technological change in the social sites of invention and patenting activity. During the mid-nineteenth century, a discourse in support of mechanisation, industrial progress and intellectual property became dominant in this social environment. This discourse had an important techno-nationalistic component in a context of increasing economic globalisation, with its winners and losers, and the international technological competition displayed in colossal industrial exhibitions. Specifically, this article analyses the content of La Gaceta Industrial, a technical journal devoted largely to the world of invention and patents, and the explicit and implicit discourse of the technical and administrative documentation of patents granted in Spain during the period.