Museum of gears & toothed wheels



Thank you for stopping by at Geararium, a museum dedicated to the history of gears and toothed wheels. Gear - is a toothed machine part, such as a wheel, cylinder, or section of a shaft that meshes with another toothed part to transmit motion or to change speed or direction. Rium - is a Latin word for a place. Early gears, also called cogs, sprockets, ratchets and other interesting objects with exposed toothed wheels have been gathered in one place to become sources of inspiration for artists, historians, designers, engineers and everybody else who is passioned about arts and early technology.  Geararium is an ongoing non-profit museum project originated in Surrey, BC, Canada by the group of enthusiasts interested in antique engineering. At this time museum has an on-line status, but soon it might become a travelling exhibition or a permanent place open to visitors.

Museum is constantly looking for the early examples of gears! Let us know if you have any old wooden gears or their casting patterns that you would not mind to donate, sell or trade. Please, scroll down to see some objects from the museum's collection. If you have any questions or suggestions, you are welcome to contact Roma, a museum curator:


"Occupational CDV photo of engineers and a pattern of a gear"
Origin: United States, 1865-1880
Size: W=54 mm, H= 89 mm
Note: An occupational photograph, CDV or Carte De Visite depicting workers, millwrights or engineers taking measurements of a gear pattern in a studio. Notice a carpet on a floor and missing teeth on the pattern. It is possible that this pattern was intended for casting a wallover, a toothed wheel for a windmill. Early pattern is a wooden prototype of a part, in our example it is a gear, that is going to be cast out of iron. A pattern is skilfully crafted out of multiple pieces of wood by a pattern maker. It is then goes to hands of foundry worker. The pattern is placed inside a box filled with special sand to leave a cavity. Hot metal is poured then into a cavity creating a metal copy, a perfect cast iron gear widely used in early industrial machiniery.


"Casting pattern of a gear with curved reinforcements of spokes"
Origin: United Kingdom, 1850-1880
Material: Wood
Size: D=910 mm
Note: This early pattern of a gear features a very unusual curved design of reinforsement plates between
the spokes. Such design could have a decorative purpose to enhance the appearance of an exposed gear or a functional purpose, to reduce the stress on freshly cast metal during cooling period.


"Antique occupational CDV photo of an engineer and a pattern of a gear segment"
Origin: United States, 1865-1875
Size: W=54 mm, H= 89 mm
Note: It is possible that Thomas Hick, a gentleman on this photograph could be a Civil War engineer. He is holding a hammer resting it on a wooden segment of a gear. Such a segment would be cast multiple times and then assembled together to make a bigger size of a gear.


"Casting pattern of a gear with curved spokes"
Origin: United States of America, 1890-1900
Material: Wood
Size: D=700 mm
Note: This pattern has an interesting starfish-like design of the spokes. Such curved design not only adds pleasant apperance to the cast gear but also reduces the stress on spokes.


"Pinion and rack demonstational model for a technical school"
Origin: France, 1860s
Size: L=600 mm, W=145mm, H=200mm
Note: Models like this one were made in the technical schools across France and other European countries. They were demonstrating the principles of mechanical movements and were skillfully crafted by the students as apprentice projects and by the professional woodworkers. Notice the two openings on each side of a pinion gear designed for oiling the model.


"Wooden pattern of a gear with a square center and round hub"
Origin: Saxton, PA, United States, 1840s
Material: Wood
Size: D=620 mm
Note: This early example of a pattern of a gear has been covered with a layer of shellac. Pattern makers of the past were using such material to protect the pattern from wood borers and also prevent it from drying and shrinking. Notice the silhouette of a square hub at the center. It has been replaced with a small round hub possibly due to modifications in the manufactured machinery.


"A group photograph of Leitelt Bros. Machine Shop workers with a bevel gear"
Origin: United States, 1870-1880
Note: The person at the front row is holding a pattern fo a bevel gear and a measuring tool.


"Casting pattern of a gear. 24 Regent Bridge"
Origin: United Kingdom, 1870-1890
Size: D=330mm


"Occupational stereoview (stereo card) of a tower clock mechanic"
Origin: France, 1870-1890
Note: A detail of an occupational stereoview picturing a gentleman with a pocket watch holding a handle of a tower (turret) clock made somewhere in 1700s. A stereoview card is slightly warped. This was made in order to create a better illusion of depth for viewing in a stereoscopic apparatus.


"Iron gear with 6 curved spokes"
Origin: United States, 1890-1900
Material: Cast iron
Size: D=300 mm


"Casting pattern of a gear Squiers & Rich"
Origin: United States, 1880-1900
Size: D=660 mm
Note: This pattern mentions interesting information about the weight of its cast iron copy. According to a pattern maker the cast gear is going to weight 275 Lbs. Also, craftsman made a spelling mistake and fixed it stamping the last letter "H" instead of "K".


"Occupational photograph of the workers of J.S. Kern Machine Shop"
Origin: Germany, 1893
Note: It appears that many gears presented on this photograph have been used in agricultural machinery. Small local workshops like this one were involved in casting and repairing variety of gears and other moving parts.


"Antique pattern of a gear with Y-shaped spokes"
Origin: United States, 1870-1890
Material: Wood
Size: D=770 mm


"Wooden pattern of a ratchet 973"
Material: Wood
Size: D=140 mm


"Square hub pattern of a gear "
Origin: United States, Galena, IL, 1850-1880
Material: Wood


"Stereoview of Fairmount Water Works featuring gears of the turbine"
Origin: United States, 1870-1885
Note: This card was made by New Jersey Stereoscopic View Co. The beveled gears pictured here have teeth that are made of wood. Such innovation helped to lower the costs and time of any repairment job that had to be done in case of any teeth breakage.


"Antique foundry pattern of a ratchet with double rows of teeth"
Material: Wood
Note: This is an extremely rare example of gearing, a pattern of a ratchet type gear that has two rows of teeth goign in opposite direction. Notice also the curved endings of the spokes with knobs.


"Pattern of a roll gear"
Origin: United States
Material: Wood
Size: D=1130 mm
Note: Notice the size of Gabby, a small Chihuahua dog, and a big pattern of a gear. The pattern weights over 60 Lbs.


"US Patent model of a geared velocipede submitted by Henry Ackermann"
Origin: United States, 1878
Size: L=90 mm
Material: Copper, brass
Note: This is an original partial patent model submitted by the inventor from Chicago, in the county of Cook and State of Illinois. Unfortunatelly, the two front wheels and guiding level have been lost. Notice an interesting gear train that includes three gears (cog wheels). It is possible that this velocipede, pre-bicycle or four-wheeler has never been put into production. It would be interesting to make a real-size prototype and to try Ackerman's version of a geared velocipede.


"Pattern of a sprocket 103C"
Material: Wood, metal
Origin: Canada
Note: This pattern consist of the multiple pieces of wood attached to a metal plate hidden inside.


"William Gleason and his bevel gear cutting machine"
Origin: United States, 1870-1885
Note: This is a rare stereoview photograph of the inventor of a gear planer, bevel gear cutting machine. Notice that this photograph was taken in winter time outside of the factory. You can see a big curtain stretched behind that provided a backdrop for the photo. Also, notice that there is quite a bit of snow around the machine. Probably the machine and the inventor had to stay outside during the photo session because of the better lighting needed much for the early photographic process. Hopefully Mr. Gleason did not catch a cold during this photo session.


"Pattern of a gear with hexagon center hub reinforcement"
Material: Wood
Origin: United States


"Dexterity game The Cogwheel puzzle"
Origin: United States, 1930-1940


"Antique wooden gear pattern BRIDGE DG B113"
Origin: United Kingdom, 1870-1880
Material: Wood
Size: D=470 mm
Note: It would be interesting to know what bridge used this pattern as a part of a lifting mechanism.


"Stereoview No.4 of Machinery in Western Annexe"
Origin: London, United Kingdom, 1862
Note: This stereoview was made by London Stereoscopic and Photographic Company. It is from the series of The International Exhibition. Notice the shiny spur gears of a lathe on the right and the beveled gears of a drill on the left of the photograph.


"A gear with ornate spokes from an antique clock mechanism"
Origin: United States, 1850-1880
Material: Brass


"Antique gear pattern by Berks Engineering"
Origin: United States, 1910-1930
Material: Wood


"Smiling three eyed monster gear from an old parking meter"
Origin: United States, 1920-1950
Material: Metal


"Antique gear with replaceable teeth"
Origin: Japan
Material: Wood
Size: D=250 mm


"Pattern of a ratchet type gear by Schuckl & Co"
Origin: United States
Material: Wood
Size: D=500 mm


"A smiling gear"
Origin: Japan
Material: Wood
Size: D=295 mm, W=35 mm
Note: This old gear came from Japan. On the left side you see the original photograph of a gear and on the right side, an artistic vision of a gear with a smile. The gear is carved from a single piece of hard wood. Eight teeth have been reinforced with the wooden pegs.


"Occupational a lbumen photo of Stringer Barr & Co. workers with a gear"
Origin: United States, Munnsville, NY, May 5th, 1886
Note: The date of this photograph is written on a flywheel or a pulley laying in a center. The man on the left might hold a real cast iron gear or its wooden pattern. Iron gear might be way too heavy to hold.


"A perfect couple of sprockets"
Origin: United States, 1900-1920
Note: Hand in hand, together these two patterns of sprockets simply match each other :)


"Pattern of a bull gear"
Origin: United States
Material: Wood
Size: D=310 mm


"Gears in hockey"
Origin: United States, 1970S
Material: Metal


"Pattern of a sprocket with an ornate sign"
Origin: United States
Material: Wood
Size: D=330 mm
Note: Notice an ornate frame for the letters that was made by a pattern maker. It shows that even such a small detail as curved corners of a sign can make a big difference on appearance of a pattern.


"Occupational photograph of foundry workers with a young helper, tools and gears"
Origin: France, 1880-1895
Note: Notice a small pile of bevel gears near the youngest worker on this photograph.


"Pattern of a sprocket with 6 spokes and 6 teeth"
Origin: United States
Material: Wood
Size: D=565 mm


"Gear & Eagle phonograph"
Origin: Japan, 1920-1935
Material: Wood
Note: This is a quite unusual name for a brand of a phonograph. It is possible that this phonograph was made for Japanese market only.



"Gears in music. The Cogs of 1960 record"
Origin: United States
Note: This is one of the early record with the image of gears. Does anybody know the very first music record with gears on a jacket?


"Pattern of a gear with triangular teeth"
Origin: United States
Material: Wood


"Buttons with gears"
Origin: United States, 1930-1950
Material: Bakelite


"A foundry casting pattern of a simple ratchet type wheel"
Origin: United States, 1890-1910
Material: Wood
Size: 290 mm



"Brotherhood of engineers L.B. mug"
Origin: Germany, 1890-1910
Material: Clay, glaze
Size: H=113 mm, D=82 mm


"Pattern of a ratchet type gear"
Origin: Canada, 1930-1940
Material: wood


"Pattern of a sprocket with a square hub"
Origin: Canada, 1940-1960
Material: wood
Size: D=240 mm


"Occupational photo of French carpenters and pattern makers. S&C workshop"
Origin: France, 1905


"Pattern of a gear damaged by termites"
Origin: United States, 1900-1940
Material: Wood
Size: D=620 mm
Note: This unfortunate pattern got almost half eaten by the insects that love wood for its great taste, termites. Such appetite for wood can partially explain rapid disappearance of the antique patterns of gears :)


"Antique wooden gear with 12 teeth"
Origin: Japan, 1870-1910
Material: Wood, metal
Size: D=320 mm
Note: Notice the hand forged staples that were placed in order to stop the gear from further splitting.


"Pattern of a gear 28D with unusual spokes"
Origin: Belgium, 1890-1910
Material: Wood


"Pattern of a gear 28D with four spokes, smaller size"
Origin: Belgium, 1890-1910
Material: Wood


"Photograph of the workers with a wooden pattern of a gear.
Iron foundry G. Chokier & Co."

Origin: Louvroil, France, 1911


"Pattern of a roll gear with uneven inner diameter"
Origin: United States, 1870-1890
Material: Wood
Size: D=510 mm


"Quite a scary looking warning poster"
Origin: France, 1963
Material: Paper
Note: With this poster that reminds of an early horror movie an artist from France wanted to show the real danger of rotating spur gears. Back in the days there were many cases of serious injuries caused by exposed gears of the machinery in factories and other working places. The solution for a better protection was placing a safeguard to shelter the rotating gears.


"A set of early gear patterns"
Origin: New Brunswick, United States, 1840-1880
Material: Wood


"Gear from a tower clock"
Origin: Germany, 1780-1820
Material: Bronze, lead


"Vintage pattern of a ratchet type gear"
Origin: Vancouver, BC, Canada, 1940-1960
Material: Wood
Size: 430 mm


"Pattern of a gear with 4 curved spokes"
Origin: United States
Material: Wood
Size: 560 mm


"Pattern of a gear with 3 curved spokes"
Origin: Verdun, France, 1890-1920
Material: Wood
Size: 140 mm


"A group photograph of foundry workers with tools and gears"
Note: The sign "Grandpa Huffman" is addressed to a gentleman with a beard sitting in a bottom row. Notice a gentleman with a hat looking through the big gear on the right.


"Wooden gear pattern 2283 by B.E. Co "
Origin: USA
Material: Wood
Size: D=405 mm


"Gear pattern by Farley"
Origin: USA
Material: Wood
Size: D=670 mm


"Antique g ear pattern of mining machinery"
Origin: USA, 1850-1880
Material: Wood
Size: D=170 mm


"Big cabinet card photograph of Revel Machine Works workers with many patterns of gears"
Origin: Revel, Estonia, 1895
Note: This occupational group photograph was taken when Estonia was a part of Russian Empire. Now Revel is being called Tallinn and it is the capital of the Republic of Estonia. The youngest workers have been placed at the very bottom of the photo along with tools and factory goods. Some of them hold wooden patterns of pinion gears.


"Vintage foundry pattern of a sprocket"
Origin: Milan, Italy, 1940-1950
Material: Wood
Size: D=470 mm


"Geared Glavmoloko logo"
Origin: Moscow, Russia, 1945
Note: Detail of an advertising poster printed in a Soviet era magazine. The heading says "Purchase the ice cream". Notice the logo of Glavmoloko, a state manufacturer of milk, that contains a gear with milk bottle inside.


"Foundry pattern of a gear"
Origin: USA
Material: Wood
Size: D=260 mm


"Key with a gear-like bit "
Origin: USA, 1910-1920
Material: Metal


"Antique gear pattern by J.B. foundry"
Origin: USA, 1850-1870
Material: Wood
Size: D=345 mm


"Victorian double sided advertising card of Deering Binder"
Origin: USA, 1880-1890
Note: This racially inappropriate trading card features a hand drawn Deering Binder machine with a variety of exposed gears or sprockets. Notice that a pregidous cartoonist who was probably too busy caricaturing the Zulu people, forgot to draw teeth on the second gear on the opposite side of the card.


"Fun portrait of a family of gears or sprockets"
Origin: USA, 1920-1950
Material: Wood
Note: These are the three patterns of toothed wheels, possible sprockets or gears with digitally added eyes. This way they look like a family.


"USSR sport achievements medal with a gear"
Origin: Russia, 1970-1980
Note: Thsi medal was presented to the leading labor group at the one of the Soviet factories. Notice the word "Labor" placed on a gear symbol.
Size: D=55 mm


"Hexagonal pattern of a sprocket"
Origin: USA, 1920-1930
Material: Wood
Size: D=440 mm


"Foundry pattern of a sprocket N 193"
Origin: United States, 1920-1930
Material: Wood
Size: D=730 mm


"A set of gears by Brio"
Origin: Sweden, 1980-1990

"Pattern of a gear with a ring shaped reinforcement of the spokes "
Origin: United States, 1880-1890
Material: Wood
Size: D=1420 mm
Note: This is the biggest pattern in the museum's collection.


"Antique pattern of a windmill gear"
Origin: England, late 1890-1900
Material: Wood
Size: 1230 mm



"Pattern of a bevel type cog"
Material: Wood
Size: D=200 mm


"Drilling artesian well"
Origin: France
Note: Hand colored engraving by E. Guerin.
Excerpt is taken from Histoire Naturelle, 1836
Size: Full page 7" x 12"


"Antique pattern of a steamship gear"
Origin: Vancouver, BC, Canada, 1910
Material: Wood
Size: D=600 mm


"Computa Bank 707"
Origin: United States, late 1965-1975
Material: Plastic
Note: A toy coin sorter that even somehow managed to receive a model number 707.
In this model, gears serve as pockets for coins.


"HMS G-3 Royal Navy submarine bevel gear (cog)"
Origin: United Kingdom, 1915-1922
Material: Bronze
Note: This gear is one of the two known survivors salvaged from a wreck of the submarine in 1922.



"Vintage foundry pattern of a sprocket number 269"
Origin: Milan, Italy, 1940-1950
Material: Wood
Size: D=630 mm


"Occupational photograph of Pneumatique Torrilhon worker with a broken gear"
Origin: France, 1890's


"Sand casting pattern of a gear YT-69"
Origin: USA
Material: Wood
Size: D=230 mm


"6 spokes gear pattern C44. by J.B. foundry"
Origin: United States, 1880's-1890's
Material: Wood
Size: D=280 mm
Note: Notice that pattern maker made a mistake stamping letters C44 backwards.


"Campylograph by F.N.Massa of Brooklyn, NY, an instrument for describing mathematical curves"
Origin: United States
Material: Brass
Note: This interesting portable machine or apparatus with numerous exposed gears is capable of drawing various geometrical curves on circular pieces of paper. The mechanism is coming alive with a help of a crank. The museum was not able to identify the machine until a descriptive article of Anita Chowdry appeared in her fantastic blog about ingenious machines. Then Dan from Philadelphia, PA contacted the museum with good news. He discovered that this machine was featured in August 15, 1903 edition of Scientific American. Because of the help pf these two wonderful people we now have the name of inventor and the description of this unique machine. You can watch a video of this apparatus in action here.


"Casting pattern of a gear with Meehanite tag. L & WN R.R. Co."
Origin: United States, 1920's-30's
Material: Wood
Size: D=1020 mm


"Foundry pattern of a sprocket with multiple holes in a center hub"
Origin: United States, early 1900's
Material: Wood
Size: D=250 mm
Note: The holes that are in a center of this pattern were left by a foundry worker who used a special tool in order to extract the pattern from compacted sand in a molding box.


"Y shaped teeth gear"
Material: Wood
Size: D=142 mm
Note: Even it looks like an early pattern for casting, this is an actual wooden gear with unusual, "Y" shaped design of the teeth. It still has the traces of machine oil-like substance on its surface.


"Pattern of a gear, cog or a sprocket by Mountain Steel Foundries"
Origin: United States, Parkersburg, West Virginia, early 1900's
Material: Wood
Size: D=1300 mm


"Vintage industrial plaque with a hammer and acorn inside a gear"
Origin: Germany, 1950-1970
Size: 190 mm


"Pattern of a gear by Talon Inc. "
Origin: United States
Material: Wood
Size: D=90 mm
Note: This antique gear pattern consists of two halves.


"Pattern of a sprocket from Union Iron Works"
Origin: USA
Material: Wood
Size: D=410 mm


"Industrial style earrings with gears"
Origin: Made by Lunch at the Ritz, 1985-1990
Material: Metal, plastic


"Well crafted pattern of a sprocket for a tractor"
Origin: United States, 1940-1950
Material: Wood


"LA Gear hand bag"
Origin: United States
Note: Notice that the company logo is placed inside a gear and even the zipper made as a yellow gear.


"Pattern of a pinion gear made by Canton Shop"
Origin: United Kingdom
Material: Wood
Size: D=190 mm


" Pattern of a sprocket K177"
Origin: Plymouth, Ohio, USA
Material: Wood
Size: D=515 mm
Note: This pattern was manufactured by Fate Root Heath Company.


"Pattern of a sprocket 103"
Origin: Canada
Material: Wood
Size: 475 mm


"Medal of industrial union"
Origin: Uruguay, 1946
Material: Metal
Size: D=32 mm


"Antique locomotive gear foundry pattern, mold number 130"
Origin: Plymouth, Ohio, USA
Material: Wood
Size: D=305 mm
Note: This pattern was manufactured by Fate Root Heath Company. It has very unusual design of the teeth. Notice that one tooth has a little groove which makes it look like a fish tail.


"Antique machine age brooch with an owl, a drafting compass and a gear"
Origin: Possibly Vienna, Austria, 1880-1910
Material: Metal, gemstones
Size: D=40 mm


Please, note that all of the photographs presented on this web site are Rights Managed and not Royalty Free or Public Domain images. If you would like to use any image from this web site, please write to Roma, a museum curator, to obtain a written permission.

All images copyright protected Geararium 2011-2017.