The rise of the specification is one of the totems of patent history. Its origins and development, and the identification of the “first” specification, are something which has been considered and reviewed in the literature. The role of private Acts in this development is acknowledged, but usually only in passing in a wider story. 1 It is not suggested that Parliament, and private Acts, were central to the development of the specification, but that the part they play needs to be given greater weight. While the traditional history 2 remains persistent, namely that a specification was first required in 1712 as a requirement of John Nasmith’s grant, 3 it is an idea which in its simple form has to a great extent been debunked for a least a century.