1839, Jacob Pratt's Patent Model of a Silk Reeling, Spinning, and Twisting Machine

1839, Jacob Pratt's Patent Model of a Silk Reeling, Spinning, and Twisting Machine

Reeling, Spinning, and Twisting Silk Machine Patent Model
Patent No. 1,367, issued October 12, 1839
Jacob Pratt of Sherborn, Massachusetts
Pratt is an example of an inventor who thought he had a more complicated original invention than he actually had. In his patent application file, his specification makes four claims. Out of those four, only one was approved by Charles M. Keller, the patent examiner, and that claim was for using a trough of zinc. The trough held spools of silk fibers prior to spinning and was filled with warm water, which kept the fibers from sticking together.
The Journal of the Franklin Institute, 1840, commented: “Its construction is, in general, similar to such as is well known, and is not claimed as new... No particular reason is given for making the troughs of zinc, and we suppose that copper would do equally well; but from the special mention of this metal we were led to look for some ground of preference to it.”
Currently not on view
Object Name
silk reeling, spinning, and twisting machine
Object Type
Patent Model
model constructed
before 1839-10-12
patent date
Pratt, Jacob
place made
United States: Massachusetts
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
metal (mechanisms material)
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
patent number
Patent Models
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Textiles
Patent Models
Patent Models, Textile Machinery
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


Add a comment about this object