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These Beautifully Illustrated Posters Turn Iconic Patents Into Wall Art

From the original Lego brick to the light bulb.

According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark office, 600,000 patents were filed and 300,000 issued in 2014 alone. Meanwhile, litigation rates continue to climb as “patent trolls” buy up dubious patents to sue allegedly infringing companies. As these legal battles continue to play out in the news, an awareness in the world of intellectual property has also increased, and with it a new-found appreciation for patent art.

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Now, How a Car Works, a website dedicated to publishing illustrated automobile guides, is elevating patent drawings to the realm of wall decor. The website has “remastered” eight classic patents, making them suitable for printing and framing in its office. It also made these high resolution versions available for download on its site, so that anyone else can follow suit.

Culling all of the drawings from Google Patent Search, the website chose some serious gems. The beautifully detailed diagrams and illustrations range from classic toys–such as Lego bricks, the Slinky, and the original Barbie doll–to legendary industrial inventions like the light bulb or the first jet engine. Even something as simple as a Phillips screw driver reveals a highly specific diagram dissecting all of the elements.

Any of these designs can be downloaded and made into your own geeky wall art–though if you have your eye on Charles B. Darrow’s patent for Monopoly, I’d first read this article about the actual origins of the board game (SPOILER: it was invented by an anti-capitalist woman name Lizzie Magie as a lesson in the evils of land-grabbing monopolies).

But the buck doesn’t stop with Darrow. Lucky for us, How a Car Works is taking submissions for more printable patent drawings. Our votes? Posters made from the plans for Buckminster Fuller’s Geodesic Dome, the fantastically-detailed patent illustration for the Eames Stacking Chairs or the Eli Whitney’s cotton gin, which dates all the way back to 1880. The site estimates, after rounding up some quality A3 paper and an Ikea frame, that each print will cost you about $8.

[via The Next Web]

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About the author

Meg Miller is an associate editor at Co.Design covering art, technology, and design.

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