David Francis's 1874 School Seat Patent Model

David Francis's 1874 School Seat Patent Model

<< >>
David Francis from Birckenhead, Chester, England, first received a British patent for an improved desk and seat on June 27, 1873 and then received an American patent, no.155231, which was issued on September 22, 1874.
This model is a combination of black cast iron and wood. The cast iron has circular designs, while the seat and backrest are flat and create a 90-degree angle with no curves for body comfort. The desktop reads, "Lift the top to unlock it - Francis's patent." There is no lower back seat support because there is a gap between the backrest and seat. The seat itself has no curves for body comfort or support. There are also black tacks bolted from the wooden seat onto an iron-based support system. The backrest folds up towards the desktop. Francis advertised the full sized production version of this desk.
David Francis was born in Somerset, England ca 1830. He worked as a carpenter/joiner in England, and died in Kenilworth, England on July 9, 1902.
Currently not on view
Object Name
school desk
desk model
Object Type
Patent Model
date made
patent date
Francis, David
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Francis, David
referenced in patent specifications
United Kingdom: England, Wirral, Birkenhead
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
metal (overall material)
overall: 12 1/2 in x 11 1/2 in x 8 in; 31.75 cm x 29.21 cm x 20.32 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
patent number
Patent Models
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Education
Cultures & Communities
American History Education Collection
Patent Model School Seats and Desks
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