For all the patents that end up going nowhere, a much smaller amount are destined to become cultural icons. The Game Boy, the iPhone, and the Kindle are all such success stories, and the team behind Retro Patents has found a way to make art from their humble beginnings.
According to TechCrunch, the newly launched online store offers prints of classic patents. Gaming enthusiasts can purchase posters of the patents for the Nintendo 64 or the Sony PlayStation to hang above their consoles at home. For designs that are even more old-school, there are patents for a photographic camera from 1962 and one of IBM’s first computing machines from 1942. The selection also includes concepts for contemporary apps like Uber and Airbnb.
In addition to making for interesting artwork, the pieces are meant to provide inspiration. Craig Watson and Aidan Sliney founded the social music app Soundwave together before collaborating again on Retro Patents. Watson told TechCrunch:
“When we set up Soundwave, we were always looking for motivational art to decorate our homes and offices[…]We used to find early screenshots of successful startups (Instagram, Evernote etc) and print these out and laminate them by hand! It was a good way of reminding us that every great company started out with a basic idea and not to get bogged down in all the other distractions that often get in the way of scaling out a startup.”
Retro Patents is the duo's way of sharing this inspiration tool with a wider audience. Prints come in two sizes—12-by-18-inches for $25 and 24-by-36-inches for $40—and can be purchased from the company’s website. If you're hesitant to commit to a poster, Retro Patents also provides links to all the original patents for your browsing pleasure.
All images courtesy of Retro Patents.