Patent Models, ca. 1870
Appraised Value: $1,650 - $2,380 (1998)
$1,700 - $2,430 (2012)
IMAGE: 1 of 4
Appraisal Video: (2:31)
Science & Technology
GUEST: I was selling my home. And it was through a bartering process, it was a gift, because the man knew that I was a collector of things. And this was his way of clenching our deal.
APPRAISER: Right, okay.
GUEST: He just thought I would enjoy them, and I have.
APPRAISER: Good. In the 19th century, anybody in the United States who wanted to patent something had to provide to the Patent Office in Washington, D.C., a model of their invention, be it a clothespin, a steam engine, a telephone... Anything that was patented had to have a model. And that's what these are. The one I like particularly is this one, the clothes dryer. You have a little burner down here, and you put some kind of fuel-- either coal or wood-- in here. And the heat goes up here to dry the clothes. Now, the tag that was on it, this was on it when you got it?
APPRAISER: Okay. It's got its patent number there, and that it's a clothes dryer, and that it was invented by Mr. E.B. Gildersleeves of Wading River, New York, in 1873. This instrument here is a collar cutting machine to produce these types of collars, these gentleman's paper celluloid collars. But this is just a model of what the actual room-size machine would have been. I'm going to put a card in here and then turn the handle... (clicking) and you can hear it cutting, and there it is. There we go. You've got a gentleman's collar. This here is just a steam valve. It's really quite boring, but what's nice about it is that it's got its original patent label from 1874. Now, the difficult thing with these is putting a price on them. Each one is different. So you have to think how interesting it is, how historically important it is. The steam valve, I would have thought it's worth about $50. This is the most mechanical, it's the most complex, and it's fairly interesting. I would have thought that's worth in the region of $600 to $800. But this is, again, my favorite, because it's so quirky, and it obviously was never made.
APPRAISER: I would have thought this is worth in the region of about $1,000 to $1,500. So not a bad gift.
GUEST: Oh, it's wonderful. It's very exciting, yes.
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