Frederick Jones was an inventor best known for the development of refrigeration equipment used to transport food and blood during World War II. James West is a U. Entrepreneur and inventor Sarah E. Goode was the first African-American woman to receive a United States patent. Aviator Charles Lindbergh became famous for making the first solo transatlantic airplane flight in Jim Henson was an American puppeteer best known for creating TV characters, including the Muppets, and for his work on the popular children's show Sesame Street.
Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel invented dynamite and other explosives. He used his enormous fortune from patents to institute the Nobel Prizes. Under Jobs' guidance, the company pioneered a series of revolutionary technologies, including the iPhone and iPad. Benjamin Franklin is best known as one of the Founding Fathers who never served as president but was a respected inventor, publisher, scientist and diplomat.
Really prolific inventors might file a few dozen patent applications during their lifetime, if they're lucky; but the world's most inventive company, IBM, files several thousand patents every single year. Companies like IBM have to keep on inventing to keep themselves in business: inventions are the fuel that keep them going. Photos: Nylon—the power behind your toothbrush: Could anyone develop such a fantastic material tinkering away in a garage?
Not likely. In our sophisticated 21st-century world, it takes well-funded corporate research labs to come up with amazing new chemical materials like this. Read how it was developed by Wallace Carothers for DuPont in our article on nylon. Think of inventions in the 19th century and you'll come across lone inventors like Charles Goodyear, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, George Eastman of Kodak —and many more like them.
It was Thomas Edison who transformed the world of inventing, from lone inventors to inventive corporations, when he established the world's first ever invention "factory" at Menlo Park , New Jersey, in These days, corporations dominate our world, and they dominate the world of inventing in exactly the same way. If it's your dream to become a great inventor, go for it and good luck to you—but be prepared to take on some very stiff, very well-funded, corporate competition.
Imitation may be the "sincerest form of flattery. That's why the world has patents. A patent is a legal document that records, in great detail, how an invention works, what makes it original, when it was first invented, and who owns the rights to it.
Society moves forward through the development of great ideas but, for that to happen, the people who come up with those ideas have to be able to make at least some money out of them even if they don't get rich. Patents make it possible for inventors to earn money from their inventions for a limited amount of time before the rights expire. At that point, society as a whole benefits because the idea behind the invention effectively becomes public property we say it enters the "public domain".
Filing a patent can be lengthy, complex, difficult, and expensive; typically, it takes about two years from the date when you apply for a patent to the time when it is formally granted to you largely because there are so many patents being applied for—several hundred thousand a year in the United States alone. Another problem is that patents apply only in certain territories so, if you want to protect an invention throughout the world, you have to take out patents simultaneously in multiple countries through agencies such as the US Patent and Trademark Office USPTO and the European Patent Office EPO.
One more difficulty is that not everything can be patented. Ideas and scientific discoveries are not covered, for example.
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Despite all these difficulties, taking out a patent is still an essential step to protecting an invention. I love reading these because you get to discover the inventor's own thoughts and ideas about how their machines worked.
Post-It is a registered trademark of 3M. Please rate or give feedback on this page and I will make a donation to WaterAid. Woodford, Chris. Inventors and inventions.
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What are patents and why do we need them? Granted June 13, Granted March 7, US patent , Electric lamp by Thomas Edison. Granted January 27, Granted May 22, Granted January 24, Granted March 22, Sponsored links. Find out more On this website History of cars History of computers Timeline of inventions and discoveries Other websites MIT Lemelson : A great website about inventors and their inventions.
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Inventors Digest : A very inspiring magazine for inventors that's been running for about 30 years. Although still print-based, there's a lot of good stuff on the website.
Inventions and inventors
Books Practical guides—for younger readers Get Inventing! Raintree, A simple introduction probably best for ages 7—9. A great introduction to the "serious" business of inventing, including things like how to enter an inventing contest and how to file a patent. Kids Inventing! Jossey-Bass, What do you do when you have a great idea? How do you turn that into a real invention? This book introduces children to the practicalities of inventing.
Inventions and inventors, past and present—for younger readers Inventions: A Children's Encyclopedia by John Farndon et al.
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DK, A good mixture of text and images for ages 8— Want to be an inventor? You'll need a good grasp of how things work—and there's no better place to start than here. This is the latest edition of the classic introduction to mechanical, electronic, and digital inventions for which I worked as a consultant. How to apply for a patent A step-by-step guide to the grant procedure Learn more. Official Journal email alerts Get the latest issues delivered direct to your inbox Subscribe now. President's blog Patent information: past, present and future. High-growth technology business conference November, Dublin, Ireland Register now.
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