Thomas Edison’s Patent Models | Innovation Nation


some of history’s most noteworthy
inventions like lamps that could light up an entire city began with tiny models
patent models that served a very important purpose a patent is defined as
the exclusive right granted by a government to an inventor to manufacture
use or sell an invention for a certain number of years I wanted to know more
about patent models so I went to the archives of The Henry Ford in Dearborn
Michigan and met up with the museum’s chief curator Marc Greuther to find out
about their collection of patent models submitted by Thomas Edison so for many
people including Thomas Edison applying for a patent you’d submit a model right
and I guess what this really comes down to is you’re gonna try and make the very
very best case to convey what it is you are trying to patent it allows you to hedge your bets it allows you to make a better case for yourself you know it’s like the picture’s worth a thousand words it’s same for a model patenting
has always been important business and still is today almost every modern
breakthrough has a patent it offers an inventor legitimacy credit and
protection during his lifetime Thomas Edison was granted 1093 patents so let’s
talk about these now what is this this is one of the really really big patents
this is the model that was submitted in late January of 1884 the electrical
system so again when we think of Edison we think of the bulb we think of a light
bulb but really it’s about the whole system so this really is a big one in
short this model was designed to illustrate how an electrical
distribution system could work it doesn’t work it is a model it was
submitted like the written description and a diagram but it’s a kind of
three-dimensional diagram it works in the mind hopefully it works in the minds
of the patent examiners so as it says here this is original this is the patent
for the system of electrical distribution right and this isn’t a little tiny no this isn’t a little widget no this is an entire infrastructure this was his
vision for something that could be overlaid into a city many many square
miles providing lights and power to consumers we have this to thank for that
absolutely amazing I mean really amazing and it’s just great looking not every
invention that was modeled and patented became an archetype but if nothing else
it was very likely a step in the right direction this is a patent model for a
recording telegraph device so this is designed to record incoming telegraph
messages so this is a patent model for an invention that in and of itself for its
stated purpose wasn’t successful but led it led to other investigations that again
transformed our world that whole notion of recorded sound and apart from this
shining achievement the innovative Edison lab the 1000 plus patents to come
out of it illuminated the world most of all through displays of imagination and grit

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