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Archived updates for Friday, March 24, 2006

TGIF for the Patent Model Museum

Working models no larger than 12" by 12" by 12" that showed how an invention works were required to be submitted with all U.S. patent applications between 1790 and 1880. According to Wikipedia, the government's extensive patent model collection was sold in 1925 to Sir Henry Wellcome (the founder of the Burroughs-Wellcome Co.) who had hoped to establish a museum. Although some of those models are now at the Smithsonian Museum,
After his death, the collection went through a number of ownership changes until
a large portion of the collection--along with $1,000,000--was donated to the
nonprofit United States Patent Model Foundation by Cliff Peterson. Rather than
being put into a museum, these models were slowly sold off by the Foundation. A
saga of legal wrangling, purchasing, and re-selling ensued. A comparatively small
number of models (4,000) are currently the property of the Rothschild Patent
The Rothschild Petersen Patent Model Museum now claims to be the largest privately-owned collection of United States patent models in the world, containing nearly 4,000 patent models and related documents.

Thank Goodness It's Friday (and some patent models are still for sale?)

--Bill Heinze
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