Past ExhibitsSalesman Samples

Salesman Sample of Resistol Hats

These hats Resistol were used by salesmen
as a display when meeting with store owners
about potential sales.
Article # 3077

Nickel Plated Brass Bed Salesman Sample

This nickel plated brass bed is an exact duplicate of its full size counterpart including the folding head and foot boards as well as the complete bed spring assembly. The attention to detail is exceptional and its usefulness as a selling tool must go without question. This is item considered to be in near mint condition and is a highly sought after collectable.

Article # 3066


Thedore Christian of New York, N.Y. was granted a patent on September 7, 1858 for his “Improvement in Operating Window Blinds.” In this invention the slats are made in the ordinary way, but the tenon which forms the axis of the slat passes into the stile and into a hole considerably larger than the tenon. This is the actual patent model submitted in 1858.
Article # 3186

Salesman Sample Childs Lawnmower

This fine example of a child’s toy lawnmower is made of cast iron and wood just as the full size adult model would have been. It is eleven inches by four inches with working movable blades and a rear roller. At the time of its production this would have been considered to be both a rare and valuable toy.

Article # 3152


As with any other industry shipping companies sought out ways to increase productivity as their employees struggled with oversized loads of goods and equipment. These Salesman samples gave shippers the ability to view working models of tools designed to make their jobs easier without the necessity of bringing full sized operating models to the workplace.

Article 3174


Nathan Post Norfolk, St. Lawrence County New Work was granted a patent on July 22, 1843 for an improvement in the way horse collars were to be made. In his patent application Mr. Post stated, “What I claim as my invention is the manner of constructing horse collars of felt, or felted cloth, or leather, in combination with sponge stuffing.” This is the actual patent model submitted in 1843.

Article Coll 200


James O. Bennett of Morrison, Illinois invented the first wheeled barrel cart and was issued a patent on Feb. 19, 1878. Since that time changes and improvements have been made to the design but the concept has remained almost unchanged. This salesman sample was no doubt useful in presenting an otherwise oversized tool to a prospective customer.
Article Coll 245

1871 Salesman Sample Bed

This bed was made by R.A. Smith
Of East Weare, New Hampshire.
It features a folding design and is
made of wood and leather.

Article # 3070

Salesman Sample Chair Table

An early salesman sample chair table. Made of birch with a nice dry but rich surface patina and wooden peg construction. With the table top down it is for all intents & purpose a table. Of course you know that in the early days most household items served more than one purpose. Measuring only 6.5” high x 4.5” x 4” it is still easy to see what the customer could have imagined the full sized product would look like and how useful it might have been.

Article 3156

1890’s Plow- Salesman Sample

This is a Salesman Sample of a
plow used in farming in the late
1890’s. It was hand-made of
metal and solid wood.

Article #3106


Eli Salesman Sample No. 10 One Horse Hay Press. The Eli No. 10 Press is patterned after the well-known Eli No. 3 Press and has developed a capacity almost equal to the average 2-horse balers. It was brought out to meet the demand of the small farmer.
Article 3180


Walker & Co. Signs, Detroit – Outdoor Advertising & Signage. They are an old advertising company, started in 1883. In the early 1900’s, they were building porcelain signs for the city of Detroit at least as far back as 1911. They were mentioned In a Michigan Supreme Court case from July 1914 for being the makers of a sign that fell off its mount and landed on a lady as she walked underneath it.
Article 3245


A walking stick is a device used by many people to facilitate balancing while walking. Walking sticks come in many shapes and sizes, and can be sought by collectors. Some kinds of walking stick may be used by people with disabilities as a crutch. The walking stick has also historically been known to be used as a defensive or offensive weapon, and may conceal a knife or sword as in a swordstick.
Article 3171

Salesman Sample Porcelain Sink and Toilet

Back in the day before catalogs and the Internet, salesmen used to sell furniture and household items door to door using sample size replicas of beds, dressers, hutches, desks, and yes, toilets. These “salesman samples” were produced in very limited quantities, and have become quite valuable to collectors. This replica is a very good example of such an item.
Article 3172

Salesman Sample Bath Tub

“Contour” Bath by American Standard in pink. This sample is made exactly like its larger counterparts but has no plumbing or drain system. It enabled the salesman to brink an otherwise impossible product directly to his customer without the aid of a truck and work crew.

Article 3135


A handcar is a railroad car powered by its passengers, or by people pushing the car from behind. It is mostly used as a maintenance of way or mining car, but it was also used for passenger service in some cases. A typical design consists of an arm that pivots, seesaw-like, on a base, which the passengers alternately push down and pull up to move the car.
Article 3181

Salesman Sample Wooden Door Display

This early example of a salesman’s door display shows just how important such items were in contacting potential customers with large cumbersome items for sell. The product line has been shrunken to hand held size without losing any of the detail or craftsmanship of the otherwise heavy and cumbersome product.

Article 3182

Macklanburg-Duncan Co. Salesman Sample

Anyone who visits Oklahoma quickly discovers a consistent fact of life in that great state: It is windy. Combine this wind with a few dry years and the result is a nice dust storm. This was the situation in the 1920’s when L.A. Macklanburg built his first form of weather-strip in order to keep dust from coming under his front door. He then built a brass-folding hand-cranked weather-strip machine and took his product to the Oklahoma State Fair in early July, 1920. Just like that a new entity was born which endures to this day.

Article # 3246


This grain mill was offered by the S. S. Fanning Company. The hand crank unit operates an internal paddle mechanism to churn the grain as it passes over a mesh screen to gather the finished product in a drawer located below.
Article Coll 244
General Store Window Display Box

Hand-made of solid wood, this 1920’s
Salesman Sample was used to show store
owners what a potential window display
box would look like in their business.

Article #3107

Salesman Sample Brass and Wood Ladder Wagon

This is an unusual piece of equipment with applications for firefighting to farming or wherever you might need a higher vantage point. This wooden and brass wagon extends from the middle for an additional 4 inches. Extension ladders at either end are affixed to turntables for full range of movement and placement.
Article 3195

Barber’s Chair Salesman Sample

Most men sat in barber chairs at least once a week for a cut and a shave in the 1920s. The fashion called for short, well-trimmed hair and clean-shaven cheeks flanking a sleek mustache. Stylish young women also visited barbershops, but to have their long hair cropped into bob cuts mimicking those worn by movie stars such as Louise Brooks.
Article 3163

Toilet with Trap Salesman Sample

Josam made this 1930’s toilet with trap as a salesman’s sample. It features
an entire working trap system and is seated on a linoleum base. The original box is displayed as well.

Article # 3079


This original salesman sample of a barnyard gate was made by D.F. Luse of Mithime, P.A. Wooden slat gate within wooden framework with steel hardware and latch mechanism. Stenciled “Patented” on both sides. Base swivels out for better stability. There are a few chips and scratches to paint, but structurally this is a very good sample of what early farmers would have been shown in an attempt to solicit a purchase.

Article 3076


Upon examination of this coin operated hot nut dispenser and the leather case in which is contained, it is quite obvious a traveling salesman attempted to sell this machine to potential customers. This was never intended for use, and strictly used as a sales tool of the production machine. Glass globes are intact with decals and an unusual feature is a red faceted jewel between coin slots that would light up, indicating the machine was heating the nuts. On the left side of the machine is a cylindrical glass tube with an aluminum base, which held paper cups that the hot nuts could be deposited into. In addition, an alternative to the glass cylindrical tube is a nickel plated steel tube. Unfortunately, there is no paperwork to accompany this piece, but there is no question whatsoever that this is the proper case for this machine. Machine is constructed of polished aluminum and overall condition is very fine to near mint with only minor loss to decals.
Article 3197


Unusual nickel and black painted metal display bottle consisting of three round covered receptacles and two floor cooler receptacles with rectangular lids marked “Prosper” in script. Top has three turn handles of unknown purpose (one handle missing). Round receptacles have screened windows on front and two dummy grinder levers each with drawers beneath to catch grounds. This two-sided bar is also set with six drawers that can open from either side. Set within its original carrying case with slide top and flip-down sides.

Article 3196


Mullikin Vault CO is a private company categorized under Wholesale Funeral Directors-Equipment and Supplies. It was established in 1970 and incorporated in Spartanburg, South Carolina. These are examples of their products on a much smaller scale than we would usually see. Due to the size of the product these samples became a necessary tool in the sales process.
Articles 3198, 3201, 3200

Jacob Finkelstein and Sons Salesman Sample Jacket

Jacob Finkelstein and Sons acquired the rights to manufacture iconic Brown’s Beach Jackets and Vests at his factory in Woonsocket, Rhode Island and received the prior advertising history of the Brown’s Beach products upon transfer of ownership. The print ads and dealer promotional items such as this are just a portion of this early Brown’s Beach Jacket advertising history. Information provided has Finkelstein and Son’s selling the garments across the country in addition to offering them via their outlet store in an old horse barn in Middleborough, MA (Mass.). Since the advertising history obtained by Jacob Finkelstein and Sons covers the time period up until 1955, the transfer of ownership and manufacturing move to Woonsocket Rhode Island seems to have taken place after 1955.

Article 3249


Pull down attic stairs are stairs which are designed to provide access to an attic, loft, or crawlspace without taking up room when they are not in use. A number of manufacturers build pull down attic stairs which can be easily installed in less than a day by competent people with the right tools. These stairs can be an excellent access option for a home in which available space is limited, but people want to be able to reach crawl spaces without having to drag out a ladder.

When pull down attic stairs are not in use, they are folded into the ceiling. When people want to utilize the stairs, they pull the stairs down, using a dangling tab or handle. As the stairs are pulled down, they unfold or telescope out so that they extend from the floor to the ceiling, providing access. Pull down attic stairs may include feet which are designed to grip the floor to make the stairway extremely safe and stable.

Imagine trying to explain this concept to a buyer in 1940 without having a working sample to show the customer just how it works, and to answer their questions.

Article 3081


For the person that has everything this all inclusive cased display houses germ-free protective paper toilet seat covers for a nickel. Distributed by the St. George Paper Company of New York City, it offered for a price what any good public establishment now gives for free.
Article 3199

1 Comment

  1. As a fellow collector I thought you might enjoy seeing my collection of patent model and salesman sample gates. Would love to have a photo of article #3079 Salesman Sample Gate to add to my photo file of sample gates. Love your collection. Hope to see it in person someday. I am a transplanted Texan living in Utah. Do visit Texas as often as possible.



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