18th Century Open Source.
Thomas Chippendale's The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director, a catalogue of his furniture designs was published in 1754 and as Johnnie Moore points out was an early example of open source. It was also an example of what I wrote about yesterday - about standing for something - in this case excellence.
Chippendale gave customers a straight choice - you can have my furniture or someone's imitation of it. He effectively said this is what I do, maybe it will inspire you, maybe it will show competitors what can be achieved. Anyone is welcome to copy me and implicitly and most important of all, anyone is free to try to do better than me, but I'm confident they won't succeed.