Martin Galese, a 31-year-old lawyer in New York, routinely searches the USPTO (US Patent Office) archives for the design DNA of antique inventions. He then “reinterprets” them as design files for 3D printers like the Atmel-powered Makerbot and RepRap.
“If you look at the figures in older patents, the 19th century patents are really beautiful. They’re really works of art,” Galese recently told the New York Times.
“You’re holding the 19th century by way of something that was produced in the 21st century. There is so much more design in our world, so many more objects.”
Galese says he has already experimented with and printed a chopstick holder from the 1960s, a portable chess set from the 1940s, a pot scraper from 1875 and a 1989 bookmark / pen holder.
Additional 3D projects based on expired patents can be found on Martin’s blog or Thingverse.