3D printable objects modeled on expired 19th century patents

Martin Galese's Thingiverse account is full of amazing 3D objects modeled on 19th-century patent drawings. Galese, a patent attorney, has launched his project -- and an accompanying Tumblr of lovely patent drawings -- to help people understand the value he perceives in the patent system.

But why go to all the trouble of reproducing the past in painstaking detail? Why rebuild every curve and vector wrought by Urias Cramer in cast iron in the 1870s?

“You’re holding the 19th century by way of something that was produced in the 21st century,” said Mr. Galese, who finds in these objects a tangible link to the past. He’s also made a chopstick holder from the 1960s and a portable chess set from the 1940s.

3-D Printing the 19th Century [Amy O'Leary/NYT] (Thanks, Joly!)