Creeping Baby Doll Patent Model


This model demonstrates the invention of a mechanical crawling doll. It accompanied the patent submission of George Pemberton Clarke, who received U.S. patent No. 118,435 on 29 August 1871 for his “Natural Creeping Baby Doll.” The original patent office tag is still attached with red tape. Clarke’s patent was an improvement on the crawling baby doll patent of his associate Robert J. Clay (No. 112,550 granted 14 March 1871).

The doll’s head, two arms and two legs are made of painted plaster. The arms and legs are hinged to a brass clockwork body that actuates the arms and legs in imitation of crawling, but the doll moves forward by rolling along on two toothed wheels. A flat piece of wood is attached to top of the movement.

A commercial version of the doll is also in the collection. See also Catalog number 2011.0204.01a.

This mechanical toy is part of a fascinating continuum of figures built to imitate human life. This long Western tradition stretches from ancient Greece through the mechanical automatons of the Enlightenment, through wind-up toys to contemporary robots and other machines with artificial intelligence.

Date Made: 1871Patent Date: 1871-08-29

Inventor: Clarke, George P.

Location: Currently not on view

Associated Place: United States: New York, New York City

See more items in: Work and Industry: Mechanisms, Robots and Automatons, Industry & Manufacturing, Sports & Leisure, Science & Mathematics


Exhibition Location:

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1984.0923.01Accession Number: 1984.0923Catalog Number: 1984.0923.01Patent Number: 118,435

Object Name: mechanical doll, patent modelmechanical doll, patent model, automatonpatent model, doll, creeping babyObject Type: Patent Model

Measurements: overall: 6 3/4 in x 3 5/8 in x 11 in; 17.145 cm x 9.2075 cm x 27.94 cmoverall - from catalog card: 6 in x 3 in x 10 in; 15.24 cm x 7.62 cm x 25.4 cm


Record Id: nmah_856663

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