Industry & Manufacturing
The Museum's collections document centuries of remarkable changes in products, manufacturing processes, and the role of industry in American life. In the bargain, they preserve artifacts of great ingenuity, intricacy, and sometimes beauty.
The carding and spinning machinery built by Samuel Slater about 1790 helped establish the New England textile industry. Nylon-manufacturing machinery in the collections helped remake the same industry more than a century later. Machine tools from the 1850s are joined by a machine that produces computer chips. Thousands of patent models document the creativity of American innovators over more than 200 years.
The collections reach far beyond tools and machines. Some 460 episodes of the television series Industry on Parade celebrate American industry in the 1950s. Numerous photographic collections are a reminder of the scale and even the glamour of American industry.
"Industry & Manufacturing - Overview" showing 1 items.
- Description (Brief)
- Margaret Knight (1838–1914) applied for a patent using this model to demonstrate her machine that folded and pasted flat-bottomed paper bags. She was granted patent number 220925 for the invention in 1879. Her concept continues to be used in the manufacture of today's paper grocery bag.
- Margaret was born in Maine, later living in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Her first patented invention, inspired by her work at a Springfield, Massachusetts paper company, was her machine for improvement in paper-feeding; it was given patent number 109224 in 1870. She received 26 patents for inventions having to do with the paper bag, shoe manufacturing, and rotary engine industries.
- While many women had innovative ideas during the 19th century, it was difficult for them to secure patents under their own names. Knight's inventions are celebrated because they demonstrate women's participation in the American patent system.
- Currently not on view
- date made
- ca 1879
- patent date
- Knight, Margaret E.
- ID Number
- accession number
- catalog number
- patent number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center