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.
This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2015 WGBH Educational Foundation.
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.