These brilliant artworks were once patent drawings of equally-fascinating inventions

Patent Drawings of the Past-1

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, 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.

Patent Drawings of the Past-9

The patent drawing of Edison’s Light Bulb, dated January 27, 1880.

Patent Drawings of the Past-3

Patented in the early 1800s, this unusually-shaped diving dress was designed specially for underwater exploration.

Patent Drawings of the Past-2

This “Life-Preserving Coffin” was designed to ensure that the person, about to be buried, was indeed dead.

Patent Drawings of the Past-4

A prosthetic arm from the 1860s.

Patent Drawings of the Past-5

This 1830s contraption seems to be a cross between the modern-day electric fan and the hand-held varities used during earlier times.

Patent Drawings of the Past-6

This 1860s invention is testimony to humanity’s long-standing fascination with flight.

Patent Drawings of the Past-7

An earlier version of the modern-day ice skates.

Patent Drawings of the Past-8

A walking toy horse.

Patent Drawings of the Past-1

A brightly-colored sketch, of a flying machine, dating back to the year 1869.

Via: Cult of Mac

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