I read on Project Gutenberg, probably in 2017, a humorous story about a young patent lawyer and his boss/mentor. The lawyer gets very excited about the discovery of a new kind of incredibly strong cloth and tries to patent it for the discoverer. It turns out, eventually, to be a no-go.

It's an extremely similar kind of story to "The Curious Profession" by pen-name Leonard Lockhard. I believe the same author wrote both stories but he may have used a different pen-name for the second one.

Both stories originally appeared in Astounding, I think in the early 1950s.

I can no longer get to the Project Gutenberg link by search because PG now have nearly 1400 science fiction titles, but they will only let you see the titles/links to top 1000 of them. If you know this story and you have the PG link, please add it to your answer? Many thanks.

Or if you know anywhere else at all that I might find it?

  • 1
    You appear to be asking about multiple stories. You need to stick to one single one
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 23 at 15:46
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    Thanks. I am actually trying to identify the author, I believe he wrote both stories, but I will alter the post, thank you for letting me know this Commented Jun 23 at 15:48
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    thanks again for the help, much appreciated. I have edited the first Q now and will post the second one. Thanks again! Commented Jun 23 at 15:54
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    It sounds vaguely like the 1951 film The Man in the White Suit. I winder if that was based on a story. Commented Jun 23 at 16:28
  • 2
    loved the Man in a White Suit. Love the Ealing comedies Commented Jun 23 at 16:42

1 Answer 1


Leonard Lockhart is a pen name of Charles Harness. This lead me to his story "That Professional Look", originally published in Astounding in 1954. A scientist comes up with a material that he makes paper out of that is very strong. He shows it to the narrator, a lawyer:

I took the sheet between my thumbs and forefingers and gingerly pulled, expecting the light and soft sheet to part easily. Nothing happened. I pulled harder, and still nothing. I smiled at Callahan, got a better grip, and gave it a yank. Then I twisted opposite corners around my fingers and frankly pulled at it. The absurd sheet refused to tear, and I realized how ridiculous I must look to Callahan to be unable to tear a flimsy sheet of paper. I suppose I lost my temper a little. I gathered as much of the paper as I could in each hand, bent over to put my hands on the inside of my knees, and pulled until I heard my back muscles crack. I let out my breath explosively and looked helplessly at Callahan.

They talk about the new materials potential use as clothing

looked at the little sheet and great possibilities began to occur to me. "Clothing," I said. "Great heavens, think what this will do for the clothing industry. No more weaving. Just run this stuff off on a paper machine at five hundred feet per minute." I stopped and looked at Callahan and said, "You will be able to make it on a paper-making machine, won't you?"

and the lawyer attempts to file a patent for it. Difficulties ensue.

Available on Gutenberg.


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