Patterns for machinery
I have three or four boxes of these old black and red patterns for various machinery parts. They are quite beautiful. Does anyone know if they are worth anything?
They are worth a fortune,
Seriously, you need to put up a picture
The owner of Oliver Machines puts Oliver patterns up for sale on Ebay with the history of the part, what it fit. Doesn't get a lot for them, but
at least they're not getting burned. A box of patterns may have ZERO value unless they can make something still useful. If patterns were worth a fortune,
I'd be a millionaire, since I have HUNDREDS of machine tool patterns. BUT they're NOT worth a dime unless you can make something with them.
Many years ago, in the gift shop of the Slater Mill in Pawtucket, RI, I paid a few bucks for an old wood pattern of a bearing cap for some engine or machine. They had a few patterns to choose from. I like it, even though SWMBO does not want it on display in our home.
I suggest you see about donating the patterns to the American Precision Museum in Windsor, VT. The patterns are probably useless and worthless except as decoration. The museum could try to sell them in their gift shop and raise a little money. The people who visit the museum, like the people who hang out here on PM, would be likely buyers, but not for much money.
I agree with larry, if the AP museum doesn't want them, send them to the american history museum in washington. i would make the smithsonian a second choice because there they will probably spend eternity sitting in a warehouse, whereas the AP museum will do something creative with them.
Yes,I know about the Smithsonian warehouses. I used to be able to go up there and work behind the scenes when I was musical instrument maker in Williamsburg. They have so much stuff sitting in their warehouses,and comparatively so little space to display it,much never gets seen by the public.
The stat that i heard was that at any given time, less than 5% of their collection is ever on display. the rest is in storage.
Most museums, I believe, have to make tough decisions about what to exhibit in their available space and what to store. That certainly is the case with the Maine Maritime Museum. While treasure stashed away in bushel baskets down in the basement cannot be appreciated by the public, I think we ought to be grateful that it's there, and probably catalogued in some fashion, however informal. For those to whom what's down there is genuinely important, access is almost always available in my experience. The time to really worry about the storage issue is when the museum hires eager young curators who have been to eager young curator school, and go around saying "docent" and "deaccession" and "signage". Along with their joke paychecks, they are given the authority to make decisions about when it's time to throw those dirty old patent models into the dumpster.
johannagardner, please let us know about your experience with the patterns.
unfortunately, very true. its all an odds game. smaller museums have a higher likelyhood of their artifacts appreciated by the general public. bigger museums ensure that they will be saved and preserved for a long time to come, but not necessarily displayed for the public.
If they are for the right brand and type of machine they are worth something.
If for example you had the patterns for the often broken parts of American Tool Works lathes I bet you could make a few $. Handwheels or some other items that sticks out..
I'd certainly like to see some pictures of your patterns. You could include a ruler in your images so that we can see the size. The instructions for posting a picture are at the top of the forum.
Years ago, I saw a large lot of patterns from the Todd Shipyard being sold at United Housewrecking in Stamford. More recently, I saw a small lot for sale at an antique shop in central NY. Their value as "object d' art" depends on their appearance. You stated that yours are beautiful - all the more reason to show pictures. Plus, the members can offer opinions as to what parts these pattern make.
A few years ago, I passed up a box of patterns to make various sizes of journal brasses for engines. It was a big assortment, covering journal sizes from about 1" to 6" DOH!!! I should have grabbed them, as the price was very low. I don't own any engines but I'd bet that those patterns could have been used by someone. What really hurts is that I think they were patterns for valve and driving rod brasses of a steam locomotive.