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Smithsonian American Art Museum Exhibition - Washington, DC

The Smithsonian American Art Museum will present Inventing a Better Mousetrap: Patent Models from the Rothschild Collection from November 11, 2011, through November 3, 2013. The exhibition will feature thirty-two "models illustrating the wide variety of nineteenth-century patented inventions submitted by inventors from across the United States. All the objects on display are from Alan Rothschild's personal collection, which is one of the largest in the world with nearly 4,000 patent models."

Learn More at the Smithsonian American Art Museum Website

The following is a list of the models on exhibit. Drawings and descriptions explaining how each invention works may be accessed by clicking on the patent number and then on "View Patent."

Patent # Date Model/Invention Inventor City State


102133 4/19/1870 Mousetrap (Improved Animal-Trap) John O. Kopas and George W. Bauer Washington, D.C DC

Mystery Models

84362 11/24/1868 Thief Prevention Device (Improvement in Door-Fastening and Alarm) A.F. Kitchen Shelton Depot SC
117281 7/25/1871 Incense Burner (Improvement in Incense-Burners) E. Warren Hastings Boston MA
20426 6/1/1858 Life Preserving Container (Life-Preserving State-Room for Navigable Vessels) H. Hallock Brookhaven NY
49150 8/1/1865 Cotton Seed Planter (Improvement in Cotton-Seed Planters) B. & N. Platt St. Louis MO
392981 11/20/1888 Fence Fabricating Machine (Fence-Machine) Conrad F. Bartling Greenville OH

Domestic Life

117940 8/8/1871 Washing Machine (Improvement in Washing-Machines) Alfred T. Sullivan San Jose CA
164899 6/29/1875 Heating Stove (Improvement in Heating-Stoves) Jabez K. Babcock Phelps NY
8763X 4/14/1835 Cooking Stove (Cook Stove) T. Fairbanks St. Johnsbury VT
166302 8/3/1875 Sewing Machine (Improvement in Feeding Devices for Sewing-Machines) Israel M. Rose Brookhaven NY
196374 10/23/1877 Sofa Bedstead (Improvement in Sofa-Bedsteads) Abraham Morris New York NY


62455 2/26/1867 Toy Wrestlers (Wrestling Toy) James T. Walker Palmyra NY
96972 11/16/1869 Toy Bicycle Rider (Toy) Ernest Santin New York NY
109172 11/15/1870 Grand Piano (Improvement in Pianos) Ole Bull New York NY
83216 10/20/1868 Swing (Improvement in Swings) Benjamin Shaffer Dayton OH
40530 11/3/1863 Ice Skate (Skeleton Skates) Henry Wilson Binghamton NY


216697 6/17/1879 Road Wagon (Improvement in Road-Wagons) James L. Phillips Lowville NY
235333 12/14/1880 Windmill (Windmill) Sylvester Ament Aurora IL
202426 4/16/1878 Extension Ladder (Improvement in Extension Ladders) George Evans Pittsburg PA
29494 8/7/1860 Artificial Leg (Artificial Leg) Benjamin Jewett Gilford NH
159846 2/16/1875 Pigeon Starter (Improvement in Pigeon-Starters) Henry A. Rosenthal Brooklyn NY


241830 5/24/1881 Paper Bag Making Machine (Paper-Bag Machine) Edgar Stocking Washington DC
99751 1/29/1870 Governor for Steam Engines (Improvement in Governors for Steam and Other Enginery) Joseph Bell Cincinnati OH
122944 1/23/1872 Electro Magnetic Engine (Improvement in Electro-Magnetic Engines) Claude Victor Gaume Williamsburg NY
19701 3/23/1858 Yarn Dyeing Machine (Dyeing Yarn Party-Colored) David B. Kerr New York NY
166121 7/27/1875 Screw Threading Machine (Improvement in Machines for Threading Wood-Screws) Benjamin Mason New York NY
230180 7/20/1880 Horseshoe Making Machine (Horseshoe Machine) Joseph Dorgan Plattsburg NY
12898 5/22/1855 Brick Pressing Machine (Brick-Press) John Chase Jr. Pequonock CT
189999 4/24/1877 Electro Magnetic Railroad Signal (Improvement in Electro-Magnetic Railroad-Signals) Hakon Brunius Jonkoping SWEDEN

Wall Mounted

282661 8/7/1883 Artificial Feathers (Imitation Feather) Henrietta Orttlopp & John Klobert New York NY
62606 3/5/1867 Comb (Improvement in Combs) F.A.L. Cassidey Newmanville FL
213113 3/11/1879 Game Indicator (Improvement in Game-Indicator) Abner Jones & Isaac Osgood Ilion & Utica NY