Bar Code PatentOn October 7, 1952 Bernard Silver and Norman Joseph Woodland received US Patent 2,612,994 for “Classifying Apparatus and Method.”

In 1948, Bernard Silver, then a graduate student at Drexel University, overheard a conversation that would eventually lead to the development of the bar code. The president of a local food chain was looking for a system that would automatically read information during the check out process. Silver told another graduate student, Norman Joseph Woodland about the conversation and they began working on solutions.

Their first working system used patterns of ink that glowed under ultraviolet light. The ultraviolet ink had problems with stability and was extremely expensive to print. Still, Woodland was convinced that he had a workable idea. In order to have more time to work on the project, he quit Drexel, sold some stock and moved in with his grandfather in Florida. Continue reading “Invention of the Bar Code Patented: Saving You Time at Checkout”

42 Line BibleAccording to traditional dating, on September 30, 1452, Johann Gutenberg’s began printing his Bible which became the first book to be published in volume. The Bible, known as the 42-line Bible because there were 42 lines on each page, was very large consisting of 1280 pages. The Latin words were printed in black ink and then an illustrator added colorful designs in the margin. Two hundred copies of the two-volume Gutenberg Bible were printed, a small number of which were printed on vellum. 48 copies of this bible are known to still exist today.

Continue reading “Gutenberg: Inventor of First Printing Press”

philo farnsworthPhilo Taylor Farnsworth was an American inventor born August 19, 1906. He was best known for inventing the first fully electronic television system, including the first working electronic image pickup device (video camera tube), and for being the first to demonstrate fully electronic television to the public.

Farnsworth’s aptitude with electricity was evident at an early age. His parents had expected him to be a concert violinist. Instead his interests led him to experiments with electricity. He built an electric motor and produced the first electric washing machine his family had ever owned  at the age of 12. Continue reading “Entertainment at Its Finest – Who Invented the Television?”

Hedy LamarHedy Lamarr was an Austrian-born American actress and scientist. Through her career as an actress, she was in more than 30 films including her biggest success as Delilah in Cecil B. DeMille’s Samson and Delilah, the highest-grossing film of 1949.
Her contributions to science and technology have had a much more important and lasting impression.
In June 1941, Lamarr submitted the idea of a secret communication system with avant garde composer George Antheil. This early version of frequency hopping was intended to make radio-guided torpedoes harder for enemies to detect or jam. The invention used slotted paper rolls similar to player-piano rolls to synchronize the frequency changes in transmitter and receiver, and it even called for exactly eighty-eight frequencies, the number of keys on a piano.
On August 11, 1942 the two inventors were granted U.S. Patent 2,292,387. Continue reading “Famous Women Inventors: Hedy Lamarr – Contributor to the Invention of the Cell Phone”

Air Conditioning PatentThe next time you are enjoying an air conditioned movie theater, shopping mall or  a cool room in your house, you should thank Willis Carrier. As a young engineer at New York’s Buffalo Forge Heating Company, Willis was tasked with solving a humidity-control problem at a Brooklyn printing plant.

In trying to combat the natural forces of the unpredictably variable Northeast summers, Carrier came to invent the first air conditioner —  installed indoors July 17, 1902. Continue reading “The Discovery of Air Conditioning – A “Cool” Invention”

In 1903, it rarely occurred to anyone that rain on a moving vehicle’s windshield was a problem that could be eliminated. It was something drivers simply accepted and dealt with in their own ways, usually by stopping every once in a while and manually scraping off the windshield moisture that was causing them to see poorly while they were driving. A young woman named Mary Anderson changed all that with her invention of the windshield wiper, an idea that leapt into her mind as she traveled from Alabama to New York City.

Little is known about Mary Anderson, except for the incident that inspired her infamous creation. When Anderson got to New York, the weather was rather sloppy, and she saw drivers constantly stopping their cars and getting out to remove snow and ice from the windshields. Anderson decided this method could be improved. She began to draw up plans for a device that could be activated from inside the car to clear the windshield. Continue reading “Famous Women Inventors: Mary Anderson – Inventor of Windshield Wipers”

Thomas EdisonEdison executed the first of his 1,093 successful U.S. patent applications on 13 October 1868, at the age of 21. He filed an estimated 500–600 unsuccessful or abandoned applications as well.

Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931) was an American inventor and businessman who developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph and the long-lasting, practical electric light bulb. Dubbed “The Wizard of Menlo Park” by a newspaper reporter, he was one of the first inventors to apply the principles of mass production and large teamwork to the process of invention, and therefore is often credited with the creation of the first industrial research laboratory. Continue reading “How many patents was Thomas Edison granted?”