Before the American Inventor's Protection Act of 1999, were inventors allowed to request publication of their patent applications before the grant date? If so, did many choose to do so?

The following USPTO document says in 35 U.S.C. 122(b)(1)(A) (page 31 of the .pdf) that "At the request of the applicant, an application may be published earlier than the end of such 18-month period."

I want to know if applicants were able to request publication of their application before the AIPA was enacted.

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