Friday, June 13, 2014

What in the World Does That Invention Do?

How do you convey the concept of a telephone or sewing machine to someone—say, a patent examiner—who has never seen one before? The Patent Act of 1790 tackled this issue by requiring all patent applicants to submit a scaled-down model of their invention. This spawned a vibrant industry of professional patent model makers. They crafted hundreds of thousands of models before the patent office ran out of storage room in the 1870s and requested that inventors stop sending them.



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