Wright Brothers’ Flying Machine Patent, missing from the National Archives
December 17 is the anniversary of the Wright Brother’s historic first flight in 1903. For most, it’s a day to celebrate a pivotal milestone in aviation history. But here at the National Archives and at other archives, libraries, and museums it’s a reminder of the threat that cultural institutions face on a daily basis. The patent for the Wright Flyer is missing—presumed stolen—last seen in 1979, and it’s not the only item missing.
When such records are stolen —sometimes for resale on web auction sites— our shared history is lost and our ability to maintain accountability in our government is lessened. Together, with your help, we can return our cultural heritage to its rightful place.
For More Information:
- Help the National Archives Recover Lost & Stolen Documents
- US National Archives Archival Recovery Team on Facebook
via the AOTUS Blog: The Impact of Theft
File under: Undertaking, Coffins, Life Signals.
In case Eisenbrandt’s spring-loaded coffin wasn’t creepy enough, on December 5, 1882 J. G. Krichbaum patented his device for indicating life in buried persons. We’re curious if this was ever successfully employed?
Patent Drawing for J. G. Krichbaum’s Device for Indicating Life in Buried Persons, 12/05/1882
“Life-Preserving Coffin, In Doubtful Cases of Actual Death”
Drawing for a Life-Preserving Coffin, 11/15/1843
The fear of being buried alive led Christian Henry Eisenbrandt to patent a “life-preserving coffin in doubtful cases of actual death.” In his application, he claimed that through a series of springs and levers, even the slightest motion of the head or hand would instantaneously open the coffin lid.
(Also fun at parties)
Lifeboat for One
John Macintosh submitted an application for his invention of a new and improved lifeboat in 1837. In his patent application, he claimed that, “this life-boat may be used for the saving of persons and property, for the conveyance of troops, baggage, and other articles across rivers…and for various other useful purposes.”
Drawing of a Life Boat, 11/11/1837
Patent Drawing for G. L. Witsil’s Sandwiched Bread, 10/11/1881
“As a new article of manufacture, sandwiched bread or bread containing pieces of meat which have been distributed in a raw condition throughout the dough of which the bread is composed and have been cooked at the same time therewith, substantially as hereinbefore set forth.”
Tired of having to build those complicated sandwiches with their messy fillings? Or did you ever want the fruitcake experience, but with meat?