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The History Blog: SciAm's early archives free and patent models galore

A recent post on The History Blog notes that the recent digitizing of Scientific American's archives gives readers a sense of how important patents were in the 1800s:

[N]ew patents take a prominent position both in column-inches and in advertising. Little wonder, because the mid-19th century was a boom time for patents and new inventions. Patent models were exhibited in galleries and gazed upon like Old Master art.

The author goes to note that "[t]hose days are upon us again, albeit in far reduced form, thanks to an exhibit of patent models at the Smithsonian that just opened" recently:

That’s the perfect location seeing as the building that now houses the American Art Museum (and the National Portrait Gallery) was authorized by President Andrew Jackson in the Patent Act of 1836, to serve as a fireproof patent office.

The post continues with an interesting history of patents and patent models.

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