Long before a rapper delighted television audiences with his wizardry and spray paint, Henry Ford put the world on wheels.

Henry Ford Motor Company
It was September 27, 1908 … and a Model T was born.

A Piquette Avenue manufacturing plant in Detroit, Michigan was the birthplace of the Ford’s first Model T. Business started off slow but demand developed quickly. After an initial first trickle (eleven cars total) 12,000 Model T’s would later be rolled out and prior to a new plan: Production was moving to a new place in Highland Park, Michigan.

There, over 15 million more “Tin Lizzies” were made until production ceased in 1927. Wildly popular, consumers took to customizing the inexpensive, light weight, easy-to-repair ride for five.
Continue reading “Henry Ford Put The World On Wheels”

This week we celebrate the birth of a man whose life legacy can be summed up simply with the word sweet. The man who made milk chocolate his own was born September 13, 1857.

It’s a story of success and one that didn’t come easy, but, for Milton S. Hershey, the hardships were part of the journey that led to the destination we now know as Chocolate Town, USA, Hershey Park, Hotel Hershey, Hershey Sports arena and of course, Hershey’s chocolate.

Milton S. Hershey - thehersheycompany.com

Milton S. Hershey – thehersheycompany.com

Born on a farm in Derry Township located in central Pennsylvania, Milton Snavely Hershey would become a shrewd business man but with a big heart who would put his chocolate fortune to good use.

Not only would he have a chocolate bar named after him, he would become the founder of “the sweetest place on earth” and Hershey Industrial School for orphan boys.

But first, failure.

Hershey, however, was determined, ambitious and persistent.
Continue reading “The Man Who Made Milk Chocolate”

No matter what tone, language, with a smile, as a demand, or in curious anticipation, the standard salutation for answering the telephone has been “Hello” since 1877.

Although he didn’t invent the telephone or receive a patent for the word, history has it August 15, 1877 marks the date Thomas Edison first gets credit for how we greet after a call is connected.

Word according to wired.com is that “Hello” was entered into the dictionary by 1883.
Continue reading “Hola, Hallo, Hi, Hey, Salut and Shalom”

Dr. Robert H. Goddard: credited with first ever successfully launched liquid-fueled rocket

As visions of space travel danced in his head, Dr. Robert H. Goddard’s work with rocket apparatus earned him recognition along with numerous patents throughout his career.

And, if the words “space travel” brings to mind the misadventures of a futuristic family, set aside those thoughts of Jetson utopia to learn about the man who gets a good deal of credit for space travel as we know it.

Goddard made his mark on the world of science – with at least one misadventure – prior to receiving his patent for the first ever successfully launched liquid fueled rocket.
Continue reading “Goddard Made His Mark on the World of Science”

Does this man look familiar? He should.

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 “The True Story of a Boy Wonder Who Totally Changed the World”

Diesel's German Patent on the diesel engine, February, 28, 1892

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…

Continue reading “The Mysterious Disappearance of Diesel”

Today is Walt Disney’s 111th birthday.

In a few months, the invention that made Disney famous will turn 72.

photo credit: flickr

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.”

Continue reading “Walt Disney: Inventing the Art of Animation”

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 “History in the Making: Google Co-founders Inducted into Inventor Hall of Fame”

NiepcefirstphotoPhotography has come a long way from the first photographs. Photography has now progressed past the need for film and chemicals to the realm of sd cards and computer processing. The first photograph was taken by the Frenchman, Joseph Nicephore Niépce.

Joseph Nicephore Niépce was fascinated with lithography but he did not have a steady drawing hand. His son instead made the images for his experiments. In 1814, his son was drafted into the army and Niépce was left with no one to make his illustrations. He began looking for other ways to make images.

Niépce experimented with using silver salts and concocted his own light-sensitive coating. He used this on stones and glass plates. He was able to use this process to copy engravings. He is said to have created the first photogravure etching in 1822. The engraving of Pope Pius VII was his first successful attempt. Unfortunately, later when he tried to duplicate the image the first engraving was destroyed. Continue reading “Joseph Nicephore Niépce”

edisonbulbThe light bulb that is synonymous with Thomas Edison has reached the end of its hey day. After over 130 years, the light bulb whose design has virtually remained unchanged, will slowly no longer be imported or produced here in the United States. Starting on January 2, 2012, the 100W incandescent bulb will be the first to no longer be produced. The 75W bulb will stop being produced in 2013 and the 60W and 40W bulbs will follow in 2014. The incandescent bulbs are being replaced by compact fluorescent bulbs.

Thomas Edison was not actually the inventor of the light bulb. Edison built on the 75 years of work by other inventors and made major improvements on the bulb. He worked on over 3,000 different theories and materials for the building an efficient lamp. His basic idea consisted of a filament inside a glass bulb. A glass blowing shed at his laboratory provided him with the bulbs for this experiments.

On October 22, 1879, Edison tested his first successful, commercially practical light. The first bulb only lasted 13 hours. On November 4, 1879, Edison applied for a patent for his newly improved invention. He received US Patent 223, 898 on January 27, 1880 for an Electric-Lamp.

Experiments with the light bulb continued. Carbon filament in an oxygen-free bulb glowed as Edison as hoped but it burnt up after 40 hours. In order to make a bulb that would last much longer, Edison began testing carbonized filaments made from every plant he could find. He had fibers sent from tropical plants too. Eventually, in late 1880, it was the memory of a bamboo pole used on a fishing trip in Wyoming that led to finding the perfect filament. Carbonized bamboo filaments were burning in light bulbs for up to 600 hours.

In 1890, the first plant to manufacturer incandescent light bulbs was opened in Menlo Park, New Jersey. The success of the Edison style light bulb has been tremendous. Now, though this era has ended as Americans will slowly no longer be able to purchase the lightbulb that has looked almost the same since 1880.