Patent Models: Textile and Sewing Machines
For much of the nineteenth century, inventors submitted a model with their patent application to the United States Patent Office. The National Museum of American History’s patent model collection began with the acquisition of 284 models from the Patent Office in June 1908, and reached more than 1,000 models by the end of that summer. In 1926, Congress decided to dispense with the stored collection of models and gave the Smithsonian Institution the opportunity to collect any models it wanted. Today, the Museum’s collection exceeds 10,000 patent models dating from 1836 to 1910.
The Museum’s Textile Collection contains over four thousand patent models. The collection includes many examples of carding machines, spinning machines, knitting machines, rope making machines, looms, baskets, carpets, fabrics, and sewing machines. Even the simple clothespin is well represented, with 41 patent models.
This sampling of patent models from the Textile Collection describes the two major groupings, textile machinery and sewing machines. In both groups, the examination of the models begins with the earliest of the inventions. In this early group of patent models, the textile machinery models date from 1837 to 1840, and the sewing machine models from 1842 to 1854.
For more information about the Museum’s patent model collection, see Patent Model Index, Guide to the Collections of the National Museum of American History.
"Patent Models: Textile and Sewing Machines - Introduction" showing 1 items.
- Loom Shuttle Patent Model
- Patent No. 1,485, issued on January 31, 1840
- James Baldwin of Nashua, New Hampshire
- Baldwin’s patent consisted of a steel spring and catch made in one piece that fits inside the wooden bobbin. In his patent specification, he claimed this avoided the expense of separate catches and springs that were in the common shuttle as then in use. The arrangement and construction of the spring and catch were such that pushing the bobbin down on the spindle and into the mouth of the shuttle secured the bobbin on the catch. By pulling up on the bobbin, the head of the spindle pushed down on the spring, which in turn disengaged the catch and released the bobbin. These improvements make it easier for the bobbin changer to replenish the shuttle with thread.
- An earlier notice of Baldwin’s loom shuttle appears in the Journal of the American Institute. In 1838, at the eleventh Annual Fair of the American Institute, James and E. Baldwin were awarded a diploma for an improved loom shuttle. On May 3, 1859, James Baldwin was successful in having the shuttle awarded Reissue Patent No. 710.
- Currently not on view
- model constructed
- before 1840-01-31
- patent date
- Baldwin, James
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- patent number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center