Saturday, May 31, 2014

What is a patent model?

Necessity is the mother of all inventions is an English proverb means that difficult situations prompt inventions aimed at reducing the difficulty of the situation.

The invention can be anything, really.  It could be a light bulb, a washing machine, or even a bicycle.  A great way to collect new inventions is though their patent models.

Now, what is a patent model, you say?  A patent model is a miniature model that shows how an invention works.  It’s also scaled down to where it’s no larger than 12 inches by 12 inches—this is to help the inventor carry it around when they are going to patent it so they don’t have to worry about lugging something massive around.

Here in the United States, patent models were required from 1790 to 1880.  The reason that they quit requiring them is the United States Congress abolished the law requiring the patent model in 1879, and and the US Patent Office kept the requirement until 1880.

The models that the United States Patent Office had (they kept the models after the patent was given) were sold off by the patent office in 1925 and were purchased by Sir Henry Wellcome (the company he owned is now part of GlaxoSmithKline).  He wanted to open a museum for them, but the stock market crash of 1929 hit him hard, and most of his fortune was gone.  This left the patent models in storage.

The good thing now is that a lot of these models were eventually sold off and now are in collectors hands.  With a little looking around, you could find them to add to just about any collection.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Hey, it's Memorial Day!

Memorial Day (or Decoration Day as it was once referred to) was originally observed as a day for decorating the graves of soldiers killed in the Civil War.

Since World War I, it has become a day for honoring all those who have died serving our country.

It is a day for families to come together to remember relatives and friends. 

As a holiday, May 26th will also be a welcome hello to the summer season and a glad goodbye to a long cold winter.  You can even expect estate sales, garage sales, and even auctions really start to go hog wild this time of year.

How do you celebrate Memorial Day?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Do you need a hatpin?

A hatpin was used to fashion a hat to the hair and head of the wearer.  A hatpin that measures somewhere 7 and 12 inches were worn from about 1850 to 1920.  They were made to meet every fashion need and compliment the hat makers art.

7 Hatpins With 10 Inch Long Shakespeare Box Hat Cloche Fashion Dresser Decor FREE SHIPPING

Collector’s often prefer to concentrate on one kind of hatpin—if they are made of porcelain, silver, glass, or even with rhinestones.  They even collect them by the style (like Art Nouveau, or even Art Deco) and if they are engraved.  There are times though that the collectors will try and have one example of everything.

 You can see some hatpins in my Etsy shop here.  This is still a great collectible for any type of budget!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

What a wide variety of teapots!

Teapots were made by the Chinese thousands of years ago.  In Colonial America, tea was a prized commodity—and was served in silver pots manufactured by companies like Paul Revere.

Throughout the years, teapots have been sought out by collectors and enjoyed by tea lovers.
Today, both old and new teapots can be found in pottery, silver, silver-plate, graniteware, and even porcelain.  You can even find them in a wide assortment of colors like blue, green, yellow or even red.

You can find all of the great teapots in my Etsy shop here.
What better way to let down after a hard day than with a cup of your favorite tea brewed in your favorite teapot.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Need a Trime? That will be 3 cents

The United States has produced some interesting coins, and the Three Cent piece is definitely one of them.

The term "trimes" is widely used today as a nickname for these coins.  That nickname was first used by the mint director James Ross Snowden at the time of their production.

The United States started to produce this coin in 1851 as a result of the decrease in postage rates (which went from five cents to three).  The mint also started to offer this coin to answer the need for a small-denomination, easy-to-handle coin.  This coin was released in silver (the silver content was raised in 1854) to help encourage circulation.

File:1852 3 Cent Silver - Type 1.jpg
*picture courtesy of
Silver coins were hoarded in the early 1800’s--and when the Civil War erupted, silver coins were hoarded even more.  This led to the Three Cent piece getting hoarded as well.  Because of this, the United States mint would eventually print fractional currency (paper money with a face value of 3 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 15 cents, 25 cents, and 50 cents).

The composition was changed in 1865 to nickel.  The design of the coin was also changed when the composition was changed, so it’s easy to tell the nickel variety from the silver one.

Production of the trime began to taper off in the 1870’s, but mintage of the coin did not come to an end until a couple of years later, in 1889.

File:1866 3 Cent Nickel.jpg
*picture courtesy of

Like with any coin, there are an unlimited ways to collect this denomination.  Will it be just silver examples?  Nickel copies?  Certain years or die varieties?  It is completely up to you.

Have you run across one of these cool coins?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother’s Day!

Celebrated on the second Sunday in May, Mother’s Day is a day set aside to honor mom.  The first national Mother’s Day was proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson on May 9th, 1914.

Today gifts of flowers, jewelry, or even mom’s favorite collectible are still wrapped and delivered with love.

A gift could even be a pair of vintage gloves (which can be seen here):

Vintage 1950s Gloves Fabric Opera Length With 1970s Gold And Silver Link Bracelet

It could even be a scarf (which can be seen here):

 Vintage Sauté Angelo Scarf And Unmarked Scarf Clip Yellow Brown Gold 1970s

Or it could even be a book (which can be seen here):

Vintage 1909 The Calling OF Dan Mathews Hardback Book With Dustjacket By Harold Bell Wright Illustrated By Arthur I Keller

If your mom is miles away, don’t forget the call or text message.  Price is not important; it’s the remembering that counts.

You can see all these great gift ideas (and many more, as well) in my Etsy shop here, and even on eBay here.

I hope that you have a fantastic Mother’s Day!

Friday, May 9, 2014

The “antique bug”

When I was a kid, most of my weekends were spent with my folks at farm auctions.  At first, my sister and I would wonder the fields playing until she would give out and plop down under a tree to read.  I would head for the auction ring.

By the time I was 8, my mom was allowing me to bid for her—raise my hand and yell out her bid.  I was also allowed to bid on an item own—some robot or baseball bat—something cheap.  The kindly auctioneer would always make sure I won the bid.

By the time I was in high school, I was the bidder for the family and known by area auction goers as that “young kid.”  Mom began to ask my opinion—but question it a bit when my treasure often included a stack or two of broken dishes.

But I learned and I loved it.  I still do.  Visit Wisdom Lane Antiques to see some of the antiques that I have found.