The Susan M. Eichelberg Glendening Patent Model Collection

In 1790 the U.S. Patent office was created. From 1790 until 1880 inventors were required to submit a model of their inventions along with their application. America was the only country with this requirement. The models are a physical history of the innovations that shaped the world. Many are still in use or are the origin of products we use today. Besides the stories they tell, the models are compelling as an exhibit in that they are works of art. Many were made by professional model makers.

This outstanding collection, offered for exhibition, is comprised of 800 models and has taken 45 years to establish. It is exceptional for four reasons: it contains models by famous inventors, models by a significant number of women inventors, models that demonstrate the history of patents, and models that are rare.

Many of the models have been on exhibit at several museums such as Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York City and at the Science Center at Harvard University. They also have been featured in numerous magazines and televisions shows.

Edison's Carbonizer Patent Model
Thomas Edison's Carbonizer for the Filaments of Light bulbs October 18, 1881
Washing Machine Patent Model
Washing Machine by Caroline F. Fleming of Belleville, Illinois November 17, 1868

Patent Models from Famous Inventors

The collection contains models by well known inventors, such as Thomas Edison's patent model for the filaments of light bulbs.

Patent Models from Women Inventors

The collection contains a large number of models for patents issued to women. Patents by women were rare because women were generally uninformed about patent law. They were taught to be subservient and willingly handed over their creations to men. In other cases, their ideas and inventions were stolen outright. In addition, some states did not allow women to own property and patents were considered property.

Patent Models Reflecting the History of Patents

This collection contains examples of all of the above history. Of special interest is model number 95 which is the earliest numbered model found complete with model, papers, and tag.

Rare Patent Models

Following are some other examples of models in the collection. These are of interest because, in some form, they are still in use today.

Windmill Patent Model
Windmill 1881
Skate Patent Model
Stop Attachment for Skate 1885
This brake design is still in use today on Rollerblades
Bicycle Patent Model
Bicycle 1879
Safety Pin Patent Model
Safety Pin 1879
Perhaps the smallest model ever found
Apparatus for Physical Culture Patent Model
Apparatus for Physical Culture 1873
The origin of today,s strength training equipment

Patent Model Video from Skinner Commercial Videography on Vimeo.