- Historic Sites
Unwanted Treasures Of The Patent Office
Thousands of products of Yankee genius, in miniature models, have survived a British invasion, three fires, and a sale at Gimbels.
February 1958 | Volume 9, Issue 2
Again there were thousands of spectators but few buyers, with the exception of Gilbert, who took advantage of his partners’ disappointment to buy them out at cost. He shipped the 5,000 or so models which had been stranded at the two Gimbels stores (about 600 had been sold) to his museum at Center Sandwich, where they remained until 1952, when he purchased as a new museum an abandoned hospital at Plymouth, New Hampshire, and moved the entire display there. But in his barns at Garrison, still unopened, unseen since 1908, there are cases which contain anywhere from 100,000 to 120,000 more models.
Gilbert calculates that with the new museum he has put well over $85,000 into the models since acquiring them fifteen years ago, and he does not intend to invest any more. Those that are still packed will stay that way until he sees a good reason to open them. Sometimes he wishes the government would buy the collection back and put it someplace—Ellis Island, for instance. In the meantime he operates the Plymouth museum every summer. And when he and Mrs. Gilbert are at their home in Garrison, they occasionally go over to the barns and look at those rows on rows of boxes.