Invention Takes Flight - New USPTO Museum Exhibit Opens to Celebrate the Centennial of Aviation

Press Release

Ruth Nyblod

A new exhibit opened today in the Department of Commerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) museum. "Invention Takes Flight," is a year-long celebration of aviation-related innovation and of the men and women who have dared to reach for the stars. Special attention is given to the inventors who have been inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for their patented aviation and aerospace technologies.

No invention has inspired more awe than the flying machine. Throughout the century since Orville and Wilbur Wright's first successful flight at Kitty Hawk in 1903, inventors have built new, better and faster flying machines, reaching loftier and loftier heights. "Invention Takes Flight" examines not only the role aviation and aerospace inventions have played in sparking the imagination of the entire world, but also in creating whole new industries that provide jobs for millions of Americans. The museum exhibit highlights a 100-year timeline featuring significant patents and trademarks and accompanying artifacts that have earned a place in aviation history.

Included in the exhibit is a rare 1902 patent model of an early airplane propeller. In 1880, because of space limitations, the patent office ended the practice of requiring models of inventions for most patent applications. However, at that time, the commissioner of patents required models for flight-related inventions to prove that they worked. Also on display are artifacts from space shuttle missions and many model airplanes that help visitors visualize how deeply the world has been affected by the inventions of flight.

Established in 1995, the Patent and Trademark Museum strives to educate the public about the patent and trademark registration systems and the important role intellectual property protection plays in our nation's social and economic health. The museum also features a permanent exhibit that explains what intellectual property is and how it is protected.

"Invention Takes Flight" runs through December 2003, and can be seen at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Museum, 2121 Crystal Drive, Suite 0100, Arlington VA, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., closed federal holidays.