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The Egolf Patent Collection: Patent Models

Exhibit Title: The Egolf Patent Collection



Inventors were required to provide models of their inventions from 1790 until 1880. At one time the glass display cases of the Patent Office were filled with these wonderful miniature devices. Indeed, there were so many that they overflowed into work areas. Many of them were destroyed by the 1877 fire, although about 100,000 of them, those housed in the south and west wings of the building, survived. Eventually, they were sold by the Patent Office in 1925.

Shown here is a model of a brick-making machine patented in 1865 by John F. Schuffenecker of St. Louis. It is patent number 46,273.