Inventing in America

Throughout American history, innovators have created a wealth of fascinating prototypes and patent models. Thousands are preserved in the collections of this Museum. As you view these examples, consider the challenges of conceiving a new idea and crafting a physical device to prove that it works. Until 1880 a working model was required to submit a patent application. What is the essence of the innovation? How can it be clearly illustrated? What materials should be used? Will other people be convinced by the prototype?