one of the countries leading dealers
in patented and mechanical antiques we are always interested
antique salesman samples, and other detailed models related to
those categories of antiques that we specialize
I can help you sell antique & vintage patent models
or salesman samples of many different products on consignment from my antique sales website
We are active and serious dealers of antique American
Patent Models. Patent Models were models that were submitted
to the Government Patent office for review of the inventor's idea.
If you have some or know of some that may be of interest to us, please let
us know by contacting us at
with as many details as possible.
Patent Model History & Examples
The idea for the requirement of a model of a given invention or idea was
first authorized by the US Government in 1790. These small
models of the inventor's idea
came to be known as a Patent Model. The process changed over
the next few years, and evolved to where in approximately 1836
every idea or invention that was to be patented had to have an accompanying model that was to be no larger than 12" x 12" square.
The numbering system
for patent models began on this date with #1. It is a bit complicated at
this point, but earlier models were given what is known as an X number to
denote those that were already in existence. There was little
record keeping of these earlier models,
and at about this same time the first of 2 major fires destroyed
most of the known patent models that had been submitted and were being stored
in a warehouse. Even though Congress authorized the rebuilding of select models this
why very few early models from before this period are known.
Models of the patented idea were a requirement up into the 1880's or so. Because of the
sheer volume of patent models already in their possession and the volume
of new models that were arriving daily, this requirement was dropped
and modified. By 1880 the requirement for a model was changed
and they were only to be submitted when required by the commissioner.
At this point there
were over 200,000 models in the government's possession.
about this time a second fire hit the Patent Office buildings housing the
collection and many more of the models were again destroyed and damaged by
fire. Many of the models found today are damaged or show the effects of
water and smoke from this fire.
A lot of these lesser patent models are now being sold
/ peddled on eBay with fake tags and a story about the proceeds being for
some charitable foundation. I am surprised they are not offering shares in bridge ownership as well.
In 1908 the government decided to sell off the remaining patent models. After giving
some back to original patentees or to their families, and after the
Smithsonian took those that they deemed historically significant,
the remainder were finally sold off in 1925 to the first of
many entrepreneurs with a vision for their potential.
The underbidders of this first
sale were buyers from
Japan whose intention was to scrap them for their value as weight.
Luckily for the American collectors this did not happen. Over the
next few years the remaining patent models changed hands several more times after attempts
to form museums or to sell them failed for one reason or another.
They were moved a couple of times and batches of them sold a couple
more times. Small batches were always coming onto the market
for sale as each new owner tried his hand at properly promoting them.
At different times they were sold from kiosks on street corners or in
department stores in New York. They were also offered through
catalog sales in the 70's. In the early 90's there were a couple of auctions
of Patent Models in
New York at Christies auction house.
The final sale of the remaining stock was sold just a few years ago, and
again the hope, or claim was to form a museum around the remaining examples that were
purchased. I have since heard that plan is no longer in the works either.
The good news is that, although hard to find, there are literally
thousands of these models out and about around the country.
interesting feature to condsider is that no two are alike, and each and every one of
them is a unique creation. Some are intricate, some are very simple,
but all display the sense of the American spirit and ethic, making for one
of the greatest of all collectibles available to the American collector
who has interests in history, art, form, and the mechanical intricacies that are
involved in many of these models.
In a word, they are great!!
On he left
is a Water Motor patent model from 1881. The idea behind this device was that a standard
water motor could be
improved on by adding a provision for injecting an auxiliary jet of steam
or other gaseous material to the mix to increase the efficiency of the
motor. It was good enough an idea to
get Mr. Atwell a patent, but it seems that the ideas for different designs
of water motors put forth by names
as Pelton, Dodd, and others were better received in the marketplace
as I have seen examples of those water motors numerous times, but never a device quite
like this one.
We have more examples of Patent models for sale and pictured at our sales site
www.Patented-Antiques.com. What I have shown you on this page is just a small sampling to give you an
idea of how interesting and historically significant these models can be.
If you would like to see examples of past
sales results for other antique Patent Models
For any of the
other Past Sales archives click the appropriate links in the right hand
The examples of patent models discussed and shown are of the caliber, condition
and quality of patent models or salesman samples
that we are
in and can help you sell. To see past sales results for Patent
Models / Salesman Samples click the appropriate link to the right.
If you have quality antique or
vintage Patent Models or salesman samples similar to those that you see
on this page that you want to sell, please contact us at
providing as many details as possible.
To see many other examples of antique patent models
and salesman samples
that I currently have for sale please go to our sister site
at www.Patented-Antiques.com and
visit the sale pages you will find there.
Larry & Carole