Why don’t we just celebrate all year long?

Once upon a time, August was designated as National Inventors Month and then it was changed to May.

Promoting a positive image of inventors and the real contributions they give to this world is a big deal and recognition on a national level with specific time frame set aside for it is certainly awesome.

(Of course, for all other recognition worthy moments throughout the year, there’s patentplaques.com)

Just what is National Inventors Month?
Continue reading “A Day Late and a Dollar Short”

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”

It can melt in high temps and shatter if it gets too cold but, imagine life without the effects of foam rubber?

Difficult to fathom, chances are there’s only one word that can aptly describe not having comfy seats or good night’s sleep.

Yes, hard is what we’d have if it weren’t for British Scientist EA Murphy.

On July 3rd in 1929, Murphy inadvertently whipped up the first batch of foam rubber which would later lead to the cushioning of the things we may assume were always soft.
Continue reading “Rubber Never Sounded So Cozy; Thanks EA Murphy”

Think of Thomas A. Edison and a light bulb appears.

Think of a grasshopper and, most will think about a bug but, there was more about Edison than just electricity and the “Grasshopper telegraph” was in fact, the invention of Edison and a man named Ezra T. Guililand.

Young Edison selling newspapers and candy on the local railroad

Young Edison sold newspapers and candy on the local railroad

The two received a patent for it on June 19, 1888.

Read more about Edison the inventor here: www.nps.gov

However, something that’s not mentioned in the biography is US patent #384830 obtained for a railway signaling system known as “the grasshopper telegraph” or, “a system of inductive train telegraphy.”

Also according to Wikipedia: Inductive train telegraphy or the “grasshopper telegraph” was a system of wireless telegraphy developed in the early 1880’s which allowed Morse Code signals to be sent back and forth from moving trains to fixed telegraph systems, by means of electrical induction.
Continue reading “Edison and Guililand Patent “The Grasshopper Telegraph””

In June 1914, the FC Taylor Fur Company of St. Louis Missouri patented a set-gun device and US Patent number 1,098,742 became the Taylor Fur Getter for sale to suppliers.

Meanwhile after a train wreck in Siberia in 1919, Lieutenant John Brandon, from St. Cloud Minnesota (now named Yevgeny Roskovski) was adjusting to his new life.

One cold and snowy day, he set out dressed completely in animal skins and furs on a trapping and hunting trip carrying his beloved .30-40 Krag. (wait, what? No Fur Getter?)
Continue reading “Taylor Fur Getter Turns 100!”

Man invents structural skeleton from which tall buildings are constructed, gets patent, then ridiculed, dies in sleep, forgotten by world.

Cabinet photograph of Leroy Buffington 1895, Photographer: George W. Floyd

Photograph of Leroy Buffington 1895, Photographer: George W. Floyd

For Leroy S. Buffington, his may not have been the most fairytale-ish life of all, but, if not for his invention, Sky Scrapers may not be or have been built as we now know them – and Superman’s adventures could have been considerably fewer.

In 1888, it was all about looking up in downtown with Leroy S. Buffington  – not Brown – when he applied for (in 1887) then received the US patent 383,170 on May 22, 1888 “for the steel skeleton method of construction, the basis upon which modern skyscrapers were and still are built.”

However, according to archinect.com “despite ridicule from fellow architects, (Buffington) proceeded to defend his patent by initiating a series of lawsuits aimed at collecting royalties for patent infringement. These suits dragged on through the courts, in the end winning Buffington nothing, but instead costing him $30,000 in legal fees.

In addition, the cases dragged on for so long in court, the patent rights eventually expired.
Continue reading “Man of the Modern Skyscraper; Forgotten by World”

Augustin-Jean Fresnel's Prism Crystal Glass

Augustin-Jean Fresnel’s Prism Crystal Glass

While it may never be known if the grass is ever really greener on or before any particular day in May, sand near the sea still sparkles from the light that would lead French engineer and physicist, Augustin-Jean Fresnel to study, then develop what is now known as the Fresnel lens. – which was not one lens, but numerous tiers of prisms.

Prism crystal glass that is.

Born on May 10, 1788, Augustin-Jean Fresnel was said to be a slow learner as a child however, Fresnel impressed his young friends by increasing the power of popguns and bows and for that they called him a genius.
Continue reading “Light fifteen miles out to sea?”

First Transcontinental Video CallTiming is everything.

When history catches up with the present, going back to the future is as easy as hopping onto the no. 7 train to 111th Street in Queens, New York.

It should start to feel like 1964 again after exiting the subway station and a brief walk down Roosevelt Avenue brings into view a couple of rocket ships, a twelve story sphere and towers that look like they’re capped with flying saucers.

Going back to the futuristic affair held in Flushing Meadows Corona Park (a.k.a. World’s Fair fifty years ago) would also mean reliving the moment when the first glimpse into the future of face timing occurred:

April 20 marked the day when the picture phone was used to place the first transcontinental video call.
Continue reading “Timing is Everything: The First Transcontinental Video Call”

Paul Louis Toussaint Heroult was born on April 10, 1863 in Harcourt, France.

Twenty-two years later, in an effort to reduce the price of aluminum, (which was once as expensive as silver and more valuable than gold) Heroult would invent an electrolytic process for producing aluminum, reducing its cost from $8 to .53/volume.

Hall Heroult Cell

Another young man, Charles Martin Hall, also age 22, would register a patent for the identical process around the same time as Heroult.

This led to what is now known as Hall-Heroult process and, what helped to make aluminum an inexpensive commodity rather than a precious metal.

Continue reading “Paul Lois Toussaint Héroult (1863-1914)”

If the name maser doesn’t ring a bell, maybe laser will.

The first working laser was reported in 1960 and described as “a solution looking for a problem.”

“Today, lasers are everywhere: from research laboratories at the cutting edge of quantum physics to medical clinics, supermarket checkouts and the telephone network.” (The First Laser, Charles H. Townes from A Century of Nature: Twenty-One Discoveries that Changed Science and the World.)

laser-patent-292922March 22 marked the day in 1960 when Arthur L Schawlow and Charles H. Townes were granted US Patent 292922 for the maser which is now known as the Laser.

But, before thoughts of an Obi-wan Kenobi/Darth Vader duel dance in your head, ponder this: it took more than a few Nobel prize winning physicists to study atoms doing a jig –to pave the path and forge into the future –with the light beams now known as lasers.

Explained, a Laser or, light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation are powerful light beams driven by energy (excited atoms) “that are capable of zooming miles into the sky or cutting through chunks of metal” Continue reading “Molecules, Microwaves, Masers and Lasers”