SOURCE: Maker Media

Maker Media

December 14, 2015 09:00 ET

New From Make: Books 'Inventing a Better Mousetrap'

America's First Makers and the Patent Models They Built Teach History, Ingenuity, and the Building Blocks of Today's Maker Movement

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - Dec 14, 2015) - On April 10, 1790, President George Washington signed a patent bill that recognized the right of an inventor to profit from his or her invention. There was a caveat: In order to receive a patent, the inventor first had to submit a reproduction of the invention in question.

For the next 90 years, inventors dutifully and ingeniously created small-scale replicas of their larger visions, many of which were displayed for the public to admire. By 1880, some 200,000 patent models had been built and submitted, many of which are still around today.

Authors Alan and Ann Rothschild have made it their life's work to collect and showcase more than 4,000 patent models at their Patent Model Collection in upstate New York. Inventing a Better Mousetrap (Maker Media; $24.99) tells the tale of these fascinating models while also telling the story of the Industrial Revolution -- and setting the stage for today's newest revolution, the Maker Movement.

Inventing a Better Mousetrap not only catalogues hundreds of the Rothschild's own models but shows you how to build your own replicas using 3D printers, CNC mills, Legos, and other 21st century technology. Through fascinating historical tales, Mousetrap chronicles the stories, challenges, and triumphs of our country's first Makers.

"Probably the most important thing I learned in compiling the collection is that you don't have to be a genius to be an inventor," says author Alan Rothschild. "While it's certainly true that many inventors have had extra ordinary minds, the vast majority have been ordinary, everyday people. These patent models illustrate the innovation that shaped what America is today, but also serve as an inspiration for the future."

With an oversized coffee-table layout and hundreds of handsome full-color photos to illustrate our forefathers' creativity, Inventing a Better Mousetrap tells fascinating stories of the past while prompting the reader to look to tomorrow.

"The future and success of our country is in the hands of our creative, inventive and entrepreneurial individuals who are willing to think out of the box," Rothschild says.

Praise for Inventing a Better Mousetrap:
"The Rothschild Patent Model Collection lets us see how different our lives would be without the spirit of invention. Seeing what other inventors have done is what motivates us to think outside of the box and to look at life differently. Do we want to watch life go by or be a part of it?" -- Steve Wozniak, co-founder, Apple Computer

"A national treasury of inspiration for tinkerers, model makers, inventors, hobbyists, innovators, and designers. Both the ingenious mechanisms animating each of these inventions as well as their delightful small-scale mode embody a genius that is celebrated by this unique book." -- Kevin Kelly, co-founder, Wired magazine

"This book illustrates how ideas hatched going back as far as 200 years ago become innovations that were often protected by patents that helped advance our economy. Our culture's embrace of ingenuity and creativity encourages the inventors of our country to continue pursuing their ideas, and those patents are absolutely the center of our global leadership in business." -- Senator Chris Coons, (D-Delaware)

Additional Resources
For more information about the book, see:

About Alan and Ann Rothschild
Alan and Ann Rothschild own the largest privately owned collection of publicly-viewable patent models in the U.S., the Rothschild Petersen Patent Model Museum. Containing nearly 4,000 patent models and related documents, the collection spans America's Industrial Revolution. Alan -- an inventor himself -- and his wife Ann have constructed an impressive facility to display hundreds of the models, along with a workshop/laboratory where the remaining models are stored, studied, and cared for.

About Maker Media
Maker Media is a global platform for connecting makers with each other, with products and services, and with our partners. Through media, events and ecommerce, Maker Media serves a growing community of makers who bring a DIY mindset to technology. Whether as hobbyists or professionals, makers are creative, resourceful and curious, developing projects that demonstrate how they can interact with the world around them. The launch of MAKE Magazine in 2005, followed by Maker Faire in 2006, jumpstarted a worldwide Maker Movement, which is transforming innovation, culture and education. Located in San Francisco, CA, Maker Media is the publisher of Make: Magazine and the producer of Maker Faire. It also develops "getting started" kits and books that are sold in its Maker Shed store as well as in retail channels.

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