William F. Spencer's 1876 School Desk and Seat Patent Model

William F. Spencer's 1876 School Desk and Seat Patent Model

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William F. Spencer from Richmond, Indiana, received a U.S. patent for an improved combined school desk. Patent no. 176701 was issued on April 25, 1876.
This model is made of wood with metal hinges and feet. The design featured a construction to make uniting the desks easier. A pivotal bolt having wedge-shaped wings or ribs made this construction viable.
There is a bench-like seat which folds up, but there is no lower back support. There is a desk behind the backrest that has a shelf for storage.
William F. Spencer was born in 1833. He joined the firm originated by John P. Allen and George H. Grant. It later became Haynes, Spencer & Company and was destroyed in a fire in 1892. Later that year he founded the Richmond School Furniture Company.
Currently not on view
Object Name
desk model
Object Type
Patent Model
date made
patent date
Spencer, William F.
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Spencer, William F.
referenced in patent specifications
United States: Indiana, Richmond
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
metal (overall material)
overall: 7 3/4 in x 11 in x 10 1/4 in; 19.685 cm x 27.94 cm x 26.035 cm
desk: 5 1/2 in x 10 1/4 in; 13.97 cm x 26.035 cm
seat: 7 in x 4 in; 17.78 cm x 10.16 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
patent number
Patent Models
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Education
Cultures & Communities
American History Education Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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