Lighthouse-Related Patent Models

Review of Lighthouse-Related Patent Models in the Smithsonian Institution National American History Museum

The United States Lighthouse Society's Technical Advisor Thomas A. Tag became aware that some lighthouse-related patent models existed within the National American History Museum in early 2011, and decided to produce a document identifying and defining these models and set plans in motion for the project in early 2012. This document is the result of that effort. It was produced with the help of a number of curators working at the Smithsonian National American History Museum (NAHM), whom we wish to thank for their assistance in obtaining photographs of the various patent models.

Patent Models are prototypes of an invention, which law once required and inventor to submit to the U.S. Patent Office, in Washington, when seeking a patent. They were sent to the U.S. Patent Office with the patent drawings and specifications, which outlined the inventor's claims as to why his idea was new.

After the review process was completed and if a patent was to be issued, a formal patent tag was created. It displayed the patent number, reissues of the patent - if any, patent date, inventor's name and the name of the invention. This official patent tag was affixed to the model with a piece of thin, red tape. This "red tape" gave rise to the expression "government red tape."

This document is being presented to you by the U.S. Lighthouse Society and was created by our Technical Advisor Thomas A. Tag. We would like to thank Mr. Tag and all of the other volunteers that helped him, by spending countless hours in the creation of this wonderful resource!

Click Here to open this amazing document and see all of the great photographs, schematic drawings and descriptions of many of the inventions that drove the improvements in lighthouse technology.