Patent Model for Paper Bag Machine

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
Object Name
patent model
Object Type
date made
ca 1879
patent date
Knight, Margaret E.
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
wood (overall material)
overall: 6 3/8 in x 6 3/4 in x 12 3/16 in; 16.2052 cm x 17.145 cm x 30.9372 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
patent number
Industry & Manufacturing
Patent Models
National Treasures exhibit
Patent Models, Graphic Arts
Artifact Walls exhibit
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Graphic Arts
National Treasures exhibit
Artifact Walls exhibit
Patent Models
Patent Models, Graphic Arts
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Harris, Elizabeth M.. Patent Models in the Graphic Arts Collection
Publication title
Treasures of American History online exhibition
Publication author
National Museum of American History
Publication URL
Additional Media

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