Integral to any patent application is an illustration that serves as a visual representation of the invention and its inner workings. Established in 1790, the United States Patent and Trademark Office requires all such applications to be accompanied by patent drawings. Between 1790 and 1880, innovators in the US actually had to submit miniature models of their inventions. Some of these blueprints and models still exist today, as a sort of reminder of mankind’s unending quest for knowledge.
Unlike the drab, and somewhat indifferent, technical drawings of modern times, the richly-detailed and beautifully-colored patent artworks, of the past, perfectly showcased the inventor’s brilliance. Today, the bright colors, of the earlier patent illustrations, have been replaced with black and white ink, mainly for the sake of convenience and accuracy of depiction.
Sadly, many of these unusual artworks were destroyed in a fire, that brought the former Blodgett’s Hotel in Washington D.C. to the ground, back in 1836. In an interview with Tested.com, Steven Lubar, a professor of history at Brown University, said:
The patents were drawn to capture someone’s vision of the world, the pride they have in their invention.
Via: Cult of Mac