Patent model for typesetting machine

Patent model for typesetting machine

Description (Brief)
This patent model demonstrates an invention for an improved type-setting machine. It consists of a frame, type-case, and composing stick; it was granted patent number 28857.
Currently not on view
Object Name
patent model
machine, typesetting
Object Type
Patent Model
date made
ca 1860
patent date
Harger, H.
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
metal (overall material)
overall: 7 1/4 in x 7 1/4 in x 12 in; 18.415 cm x 18.415 cm x 30.48 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
patent number
See more items in
Work and Industry: Graphic Arts
Patent Models, Graphic Arts
Industry & Manufacturing
Patent Models
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.


A curious device - obviously only a part of the complete apparatus. But what is most interesting is that this patent was granted in 1860 - very early. It was nearly 40 years before Merganthaler solved the typesetting automation problem with his Linotype. Mark Twain, btw spent his entire fortune trying to solve this typesetting problem with many lost-investments in various machines, only to run out of money, which prompted his European tour to raise funds to support himself and his family...

Note: Comment submission is temporarily unavailable while we make improvements to the site. We apologize for the interruption. If you have a question relating to the museum's collections, please first check our Collections FAQ. If you require a personal response, please use our Contact page.