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.
- Self-Adjusting Loom Temple Patent Model
- Patent No. 291, issued July 22, 1837
- Samuel P. Mason of Newport, Rhode Island
- Temples are attachments on looms designed to keep the cloth at a uniform width during weaving. Self-acting temples required no adjustment as the cloth was woven, for they automatically adjusted their position. The greater speed obtained with power weaving made the use of self-acting temples a necessity.
- The basic construction of Mason’s temples was similar to others of the period. The patented feature of his temple concerned the arrangement of the parts by which the jaws or forceps were forced open and released their hold on the cloth.
- Mason patented other useful textile machinery. Notable were an 1830 speeder for roving cotton (a speeder is a machine used in cotton yarn spinning that inserts a twist to the yarn and winds it on the bobbin) and a cotton whipper (a machine that separates clumps of cotton) in 1834. James Montgomery, in his 1840 edition of “Cotton manufacture of the United States Contrasted with that of Great Britain,” wrote that he considered the whipper the best, cheapest, and simplest that he had seen in factory use over a span of thirty years.
- Currently not on view
- model constructed
- before 1837-07-22
- patent date
- Mason, Samuel P.
- ID Number
- patent number
- catalog number
- patent number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center