Anyone interested in inventions, technology and history would love an exhibit now on display at UC San Diego. The fourth floor of the Design and Innovation Building is where you’ll find Patent Models: A Celebration of American Invention.
The exhibit features 19th century patent models from the collection of the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, Delaware.
Some of the artifacts might appear primitive and quaint to those who live in the 21st century, but they’re a reminder that unlimited human imagination and generations of visionaries, experimenters and builders have produced the complex technology that we take for granted today.
I walked around the exhibit last Saturday, peering into various glass display cases and reading signs that detail the history and progress of American invention.
I learned that by the late 1860’s, during the golden age of American invention, more than 13,000 patents were issued every year. But as applications continued to increase in number, the resulting deluge of patent models became difficult to cope with. After a change in regulations by the Commissioner of Patents in 1880, models eventually became a rare part of the patent application process.
Inventors highlighted in the exhibit include women, immigrants and people of color, and there are descriptions of struggles through the years for equal recognition and opportunity. Many of the inventors were “everyday” people inspired by a really good idea.
Patent Models: A Celebration of American Invention is open through November 6, 2022. Reservations are required. You can reserve a tour by visiting this page.
I took a few photos…