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The “BEERS’ PATENT. Naugatuck, Ct.” inscription on this odometer refers to Smith Beers (1805-1860), a Connecticut inventor who patented the form in 1856 (and who had a previous patent on the form in 1839).
“By a recent Bridgeport paper, we notice the death of Smith Beers, of Naugatuck, Conn. Mr. Beers was possessed of a remarkable inventive genius, and had perfected and patented several useful inventions. Among them was an ingenious machine for turning spokes, an odometer, for registering the number of miles run by a carriage, and a machine for pulling cotton stalks, &c. At the time of his last illness, his mind was actively employed in endeavoring to perfect a steam carriage, to be used on highways. Like most true inventors, he was a quiet, unobtrusive, honest man and a useful citizen.” “Death of an Inventor,” Scientific American 3 (1860): 283.
Ref: Smith Beers, “Odometer,” U.S. Patent 15,509 (Aug. 12, 1856).
Smith Beers, “Odometer, Or Machine for Recording the Distance Traveled by Wheel Carriages,” U.S. Patent #1,325 (Sept. 14, 1839).
Currently not on view
Object Name
Object Type
Patent Model
date made
Beers, Smith
overall: 5 in x 18 1/4 in x 3 in; 12.7 cm x 46.355 cm x 7.62 cm
overall: 4 7/8 in x 18 1/4 in x 2 3/4 in; 12.3825 cm x 46.355 cm x 6.985 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
patent number
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National Museum of American History
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