16th May 2013 by Invention Geek No Comments
Hughes' US Patent 14,917 for a Telegraph Machine
It’s time to wish “Happy Birthday” to another inventor time sometimes seems to have forgotten, although it probably shouldn’t have.
You see, without music professor and serial tinkerer David Edward Hughes, a lot of modern conveniences – tv, radio, telephone, and music recording namely – probably wouldn’t exist. Although he was awarded countless honors in his lifetime, it seems he’s hardly a household name today.
Then again, as a man as well-known for his humility for his genius, maybe that’s how he’d have wanted it.
25th April 2013 by Invention Geek No Comments
Science & innovation are border-blind. That is, great minds come from all corners of the planet, inspired by infinite experiences.
Every year, The World Intellectual Property Organization celebrates World IP Day on April 26, commemorating the day it was established in 1970. Organizations all over the world will hold events to celebrate innovation and encourage future generations of great thinkers.
Of course, we can all thank the future of innovation on the great work of those who have come before us. So today, on the eve of World IP Day 2013, we’d like to share (in no particular order!) 6 great, inspirational quotes from a few of the greatest contributors to our innovative history: Continue reading…
11th April 2013 by Invention Geek No Comments
"Congreves," the first successful friction matches ever successfully sold.
This week we commemorate the 186th anniversary of the first-ever sale of friction matches.
As the story goes, a young Englishman named John Walker had become rather sickened by his surgeon apprenticeship and left the field in 1818 for a less gruesome job as a chemist: something he was apparently (and quite fortunately) good at!
By Walker’s time, a number of chemicals were known to create fire quickly, but none had yet figured out how to keep this quick flame alive and transfer it to a slower burning substance like wood or coal. Walker found himself dedicating many hours in his High Street shop in Stockton-on-Tees to the discovery of such a solution. Continue reading…
3rd April 2013 by Invention Geek No Comments
Does this man look familiar? He should.
This week we celebrate one of the most important patents ever to cross a USPTO examiner’s desk.
The patent describes a process for a producing a material we use nearly everywhere – our homes, our cars, our offices, our hospitals – we even use it in space!
It’s one of the most abundant materials on the planet, and it is infinitely recyclable.
But, without the work of one brilliant young scientist, its full potential might never had been realized.
Do you know what it is? Continue reading…
28th February 2013 by Invention Geek No Comments
Diesel's German Patent on the diesel engine, February, 28, 1892
The fourth week of February is somewhat “lucky” for Rudolf Diesel, the man who’s responsible for a fuel, an engine, and a combustion process bearing his name. And it was this week in history, on February 28, 1892 that Rudolf Diesel received the patent for his groundbreaking compression-ignition engine in Germany.
But, as lucky as this week may be this month, maybe it is a little ironic, too, that same week in September happens to be a most terrible one for dear Mister Diesel.
You see, on September 29, 1913, Rudolf Diesel disappeared – presumably into the English Channel – never to be seen again.
Not alive, at least.
It’s a story that’s as unfortunate as it is mysterious…
13th February 2013 by Invention Geek 3 Comments
Happy Birthday, Thomas Edison!
This week, we celebrate the 166th birthday of Thomas Edison, arguably America’s most famous inventor.
As great a contributor as Edison might have been to the development of so many technologies, it is sometimes easy to forget he was also just a man. A brilliant, stubborn man, but a man nonetheless.
So, to pay homage to the man behind the legend, here are 5 fun, fascinating, and quintessentially “human” facts about the one and only Thomas Edison, as only he could tell you himself. Continue reading…
16th January 2013 by Invention Geek No Comments
This week we celebrate the 307th birthday of America’s First Inventor, Benjamin Franklin.
The Founding Father’s inventions include the Franklin Stove, bifocals, the lightning rod, and even the odometer. In addition to creating everyday objects for the benefit of everybody, he also helped organize a number of firsts in the public service industry. Franklin helped standardize routes for the post office, he was the first to chart the Gulf Stream, and he created the first fire department and the first fire insurance company; he even is credited with creating the first political cartoon!
Franklin was a Renaissance man in the truest sense, constantly looking at ways to participate in and improve the world around him. Continue reading…
5th December 2012 by Invention Geek No Comments
Today is Walt Disney’s 111th birthday.
In a few months, the invention that made Disney famous will turn 72.
Disney's 1937 Multi-Plane Camera - photo credit: flickr
You see, when Disney first started in the business in 1919, animation involved layering transparencies of moving elements right on top of an opaque background. This primitive multi-layer technique allowed artists to focus more on the actual animation process than the stationary background, but it still had its limitations.
The largest of these was the problem of creating realistic depth and scale in the two-dimensional drawings.
In the 1930s Walt Disney set out to improve this process because, as he relates in his patent, “it is extremely difficult for the artist to properly create, by drawing, the shadow of the character upon these background objects.”
30th November 2012 by Invention Geek No Comments
This Sunday, the PEZ Dispenser celebrates its 60th Patent Birthday.
On December 2, 1952, the iconic flip-top candy dispenser was granted its first American patent. It was designed to look like a cigarette lighter, a nod to the candies initial design as an alternative to smoking.
At the time I don’t think the company could have imagined the cult phenomenon they were creating. The first character dispensers were on the market by the mid 1950s. Sixty years on, children young and old remain “PEZmerized” by the over 600 varieties of character dispensers that have been introduced.
Words can’t describe that excitement, and since we already wrote about the history of PEZ in a previous post, I thought we’d commemorate this moment with some pictures, instead. Continue reading…
13th June 2012 by Invention Geek No Comments
I’ve had a hard time holding my tongue about this for the past few weeks, but I’ve finally been given the “go ahead” to let the cat out of the bag:
Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page have been welcomed into the exclusive Stanford Inventor Hall of Fame alongside sixteen other modern innovators.
The best part? Continue reading…