These 19th century patent models are part of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Rothschild Collection, available for viewing at the historic patent office building in Washington, D.C.
From the exhibition’s curators: “American patent law in the nineteenth century required the submission and public display of a model with each patent application. These scale models in miniature illustrate not only the imaginative fervor of the era but also the amazing craftsmanship required to fabricate these often intricate works of art. Many of the models were constructed by specialized makers in workshops located near the Patent Office.”
All images courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Such delightfully ingenious devices.