Read the Complete Article at: https://inventors.typepad.com/absolutelynew/2011/11/patent-models.html
Getting a patent has never been easy, but here's one way it used to be even more challenging…
Shortly after the birth of the United States, the Patent Act of 1790 required inventors applying for a U.S. patent to submit a model of the their invention to help inspectors understand the design. Over 200,000 models were submitted during the following 90 years. But after two fires and a shortage of storage space, the model requirement was abolished in 1880.
Fortunately, a few thousand of those models have been preserved over the years, in a private collection, and about 30 of them will be featured in the Smithsonian next month. They include a paper-bag-making machine (shown below), a horse-shoe-making machine, and–you guessed it–a better mousetrap. If you visit the exhibit, please tell us what you think of it.