stars & stripes

G R E A T   A M E R I C A N   I N V E N T O R S

Great American Inventors

stars & stripes

( 1890 - 1954 ) 

    super heterodyne 


His crowning achievement ( 1933 ) was the invention of wide-band frequency modulation, now known as FM radio. The inventions of engineer Edwin Howard Armstrong were so important that to this day every radio or television set makes use of one or more of his developments.
MATTHIUS BALDWIN ( 1795 - 1866 )

Baldwin Locomotive

Matthius Baldwin

American inventor who started off as a printer who worked at wood engraving and book making. He had already revolutionized the printing of calico cloth. He had also invented his own steam engine to power his shop. In 1830 Baldwin designed and built a demonstration railway, right away a Philadelphia firm hired him to build a full scale locomotive, in 1832 "Old Ironsides" his first commercial locomotive was built. His second locomotive, completed in 1834, outperformed all engines built in England. By the time he died in 1866 he had designed and produced 1500 steam locomotives.
( 1908 - 1991 ) 
( 1910 - 1989 )
( 1902 - 1987 )

Physicists John Bardeen, William B. Shockley, and Walter Brattain shared the 1956 Nobel Prize for jointly inventing the transistor, a solid-state device that could amplify electrical current. The transistor performed electronic functions similar to the vacuum tube in radio and television, but was far smaller and used much less energy. The transistor became the building block for all modern electronics and the foundation for microchip and computer technology.


( 1847 - 1922 )
Bell Phone

Alexander Graham Bell was only twenty-nine years old when he was issued a patent for the telephone, one of his inventions. Bell's words to his assistant, Thomas A. Watson, were the first words ever transmitted by telephone.

( 1851 - 1929 ) 



Emile Berliner invented the microphone that became part of the first Bell telephones, and his gramophone was the first record player to use disks. The carbon microphone transmitter he developed varied the contact pressure between two terminals as a voice acted against it.
( 1866 - 1934 ) 
Edwin Binney

Edwin Binney was in a partnership with C. Harold Smith, who co-discovered Crayola crayons with him. 1903, soon after developing them, Binney & Smith sold the first box of eight Crayola crayons for one nickel. The box includes black, brown, blue, red, purple, orange, yellow, and green. Alice Binney (Edwin's wife) came up with the name Crayola, by combining two French words that mean "oily chalk." The top favorite crayon color among Americans is blue. Binney & Smith also introduced the first white dustless blackboard chalk.

CLARENCE BIRDSEYE ( 1886 - 1956 )   

Clarence Birdseye was the founder of the frozen food industry. In 1912 he went to Labrador on a fur-trading expedition and when he returned to the US in 1916 began experimenting with freezing foods, aiming at commercial application. He developed a method of freezing fish and in 1924 he was one of the founders of the General Foods Company, which began manufacturing various frozen food products. In 1929 the company was bought by the Postum Company ( later the General Foods Corp ) for $22 million. By 1949, Birdseye had perfected the anhydrous freezing process, reducing the time needed for the operation from 18 hrs. to 1-1/2 hrs.

( 1875 - 1941 )
J. Stuart Blackton
American animation owes its beginnings to J. Stuart Blackton, a British filmmaker who created the first animated film in America. Before creating cartoons, Blackton was a vaudeville performer known as "The Komikal Kartoonist." In his act, he drew "lightning sketches" or high-speed drawings. In 1895, he met Thomas Edison. Can you guess what this meeting with the famous inventor inspired him to do? After meeting Edison, Blackton became interested in putting his drawings on film. He and Albert E. Smith formed one of the first film studios, the Vitagraph Company. They made a series of "trick films," using techniques including stop motion (stopping and starting the camera while making a change in the scene being filmed), dissolves (the first scene slowly fades out at the same time that a second scene slowly fades in), and multiple exposures (filming one image, then rewinding the film and shooting a second image) to achieve what they called "magical effects." (Today we call them special effects.)
THOMAS BLANCHARD ( 1788 - 1864 )

He created a lathe for turning irregular forms after a given pattern, like felloes, gun stocks, and oval shaped picture frames. The pattern and work rotate on parallel spindles in the same direction with the same speed, and the work is shaped by a rapidly rotating cutter whose position is varied by the pattern acting as a cam upon a follower wheel traversing slowly along the pattern.

( 1857 - 1898 )

Adding Machine

William Seward Burroughs

William Seward Burroughs invented the first practical adding machine. Burrough, , s submitted a patent application in 1885 for his "Calculating Machine" and the patent was awarded in 1888. In 1886 Burroughs and several St. Louis businessmen formed the American Arithmometer Co. to market the machine. The first machine, however, required a special knack in pulling the handle to execute the calculation correctly. More often than not novice users would get wildly differing sums depending on the vigor they employed in using the invention. In 1893 Burroughs received a patent for an improved calculating machine, which incorporated an oil- filled 'dashpot,' a hydraulic governor. This device enabled the machine to operate properly regardless of the manner with which the handle might be pulled.
( 1849 - 1929 ) 
Brush Arc Lamp

Charles Francis Brush

Charles Francis Brush was an American pioneer, inventor and industrialist in the commercial development of electricity.   His inventive genius ranked with an elite group of electric pioneers including Thomas A. Edison.   Brush designed and developed an electric arc light system that was adopted throughout the United States and abroad during the 1880's.   He also devised a generator that produced a variable voltage controlled by the load and a constant current.
( 1876 - 1950 )    


American engineer and inventor Willis Haviland Carrier developed the formulae and equipment that made air conditioning possible. The world's first spray type air conditioning equipment was Carrier's ' Apparatus for Treating Air ,' which he correctly predicted would be used to enhance comfort as well as improve industrial processes and products.
( 1873 - 1975 )
Coolidge Tube

William D. Coolidge

William D. Coolidge's name is inseparably linked with the X-ray tube popularly called the " Coolidge tube ".   This invention completely revolutionized the generation of X-rays and remains to this day the model upon which all X-ray tubes for medical applications are patterned.
( 1919 - PRESENT )
Super Glue

Harry Coover

Coover’s invention of a new class of adhesives has influenced medicine, industry and consumers.   At Eastman Chemical, Coover discovered cynoacrylate adhesives (CA), soon known as superglue.   Early use of CA during the Vietnam War allowed for the quick closure of wounds.
( ???? - ???? )

George Crum

The Potato chip was invented in 1853 by George Crum. Crum was a Native American/African American chef at the Moon Lake Lodge resort in Sarasota Springs, New York, USA. French fries were popular at the restaurant and one day a diner complained that the fries were too thick. Although Crum made a thinner batch, the customer was still unsatisfied. Crum finally made fries that were too thin to eat with a fork, hoping to annoy the extremely fussy customer. The customer, surprisingly enough, was happy - the potato chip was invented !
( 1802 - 1851 )
Davenport DC Motor

Thomas Davenport

Thomas Davenport was an American blacksmith and inventor who invented the first DC electrical motor in 1834 and made a small model of electrical railway in 1835. He patented a device for "Improvements in propelling machinery by magnetism and electromagnetism" in 1837 (his electric railway). Davenport used his DC electrical motor to power shop machinery, it was the first practical application for the electric motor. Davenport later started a workshop in New York City and published a journal on electromagnetism.

( 1873 - 1961 )
Audion Tube


Inventor of the Audion vacuum tube, which made possible live radio broadcasting and became the key component of all radio, telephone, radar, television and computer systems before the invention of the transistor in 1947.
( 1892 - 1961 ) 

Earle Dickson

Earle Dickson was an employee at Johnson & Johnson when he invented the band-aid in 1921. He was inspired to invent the  band-aid by his wife, Josephine Dickson, who was always cutting her fingers in the kitchen while preparing food. Earle Dickson noticed that gauze and adhesive tape would soon fall off active fingers. He decided to create something that would stay in place and protect small wounds better. Dickson took a piece of gauze and attached it to the center of a piece of tape, and then covered the product with crinoline to keep it sterile. His boss, James Johnson, saw Earle Dickson's invention and decided to manufacture band-aids to the public.
( 1799 - 1869 ) 

Joseph Dixon

American inventor and manufacturer who pioneered in the industrial use of GRAPHITE. Originally a printer and lithographer, Dixon discovered in experiments with typecasting, that graphite crucibles withstood high temperatures. In 1827 he began the manufacture of lead PENCILS. His pencils gained the name Ticonderoga from the location of graphite mines near old Fort Ticonderoga, NY.
( 1901 - 1965 )


DuMont was a brilliant inventor, television manufacturer and broadcaster. His electronic accomplishments include better cathode ray tubes, improving the picture size, reliability and operating life of what would become the television picture tube. His company offered a 14" television set in 1938. Immediately after World War II, Dumont took the lead in developing larger and larger direct-view tubes, up to 30 inches in size.
( 1854 - 1932 )  


Among George Eastman's many innovations in photography were flexible film on rolls and a small, lightweight camera called the KODAK, which made it possible for ordinary people to take photographs.
THOMAS ALVA EDISON ( 1847 - 1931 )
Edison Light 
     Edison Thomas Alva Edison has been called the greatest inventor who ever lived. His inventions, such as the electric light bulb, phonograph and motion pictures, changed the lives of millions. Edison described his genius as " one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.
( 1803 - 1889 )
USS Monitor

John Ericsson

John Ericsson is the man who revolutionized naval history with his invention of the screw propeller. He was also the designer of the U.S.S Monitor, the ship that ensured Union naval supremacy during the Civil War.
( 1755 - 1819 )

Steam Engine


Oliver Evans, one of America's pioneering inventors, created the high-pressure steam engine and advanced the milling industry by automating flour-mills. Although James Watt had already invented the low-pressure steam-engine, Evans' idea was for a high-pressure engine. Evans had hope for steam-powered land locomotion, but his ideas were ahead of his time.
( 1906 - 1971 )  

 Farnsworth TV 


Philo T. Farnsworth invented the first cold cathode ray tubes and the first simple electronic microscope. He used radio waves to get direction ( later called radar ) and black light for seeing at night ( used in WWII ). His inventions took all of the moving parts out of televisions and made possible today’s TV industry, the TV shots from the moon, and satellite pictures.
( 1934 - PRESENT ) 
 L C D  


James Fergason holds a series of patents that form the foundation of the multi-billion dollar LCD industry which has rapidly grown since 1971. In 1970, Fergason made the first operating LCDs. Prior to this invention, LCDs used a large amount of power, provided a limited life, and had poor visual contrast. In 1971, the first LCDs were demonstrated publicly and were enthusiastically accepted. LCD technology, starting with quartz watches and calculators, has completely redefined many industries, such as computer displays, medical devices, industrial devices, and the vast array of consumer electronics.
REGINALD FESSENDEN ( 1866 - 1932 )


    FESSENDEN Reginald Fessenden is known for discovering amplitude modulation ( AM ) radio and explaining its scientific principles. With this heterodyne ( mixing ) principle, he put into practice the idea of mixing two high frequency signals to carry the audible low frequency of the human voice. - Fessenden became fascinated with the idea of wireless telegraphy as a child when he saw Bell demonstrate his telephone. He wondered from that point on if he could transmit voice without using wires. In 1900 he did just that, transmitting his voice with his wireless telephone. Six years later, history was made on Christmas Eve when Fessenden transmitted the first radio broadcast from Brant Rack Station, Massachusetts. Ships at sea heard a broadcast that included Fessenden playing O Holy Night on the violin and reading a passage from the Bible.
(  1862 - 1944 )
Fey Liberty Bell

Charles Fey

The first mechanical slot machine was the Liberty Bell, invented in 1895 by Charles Fey, a San Francisco car mechanic. Fey's slot machine had three spinning reels, with diamonds, spades, hearts and one cracked Liberty Bell painted around each reel. Three bells in a row produced the biggest payoff, a grand total of fifty cents or ten nickels.
( 1863 - 1947 )


The Ford Motor Company was the first to mass- produce a gas-powered automobile. They called it the Model T. Henry Ford's assembly line method of production kept costs down and made it possible for ordinary Americans to own automobiles.
BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN ( 1706 - 1790 )
  franklin stove


Benjamin Franklin was an American scientist and statesman who invented bifocal glasses, the lightning rod, and the heat-efficient Franklin stove. Franklin's bifocals were divided into two parts: one for seeing far away and one for reading. Franklin's lightning rod protected buildings from being struck by lightning and catching fire. The Franklin stove used less fuel and produced more heat than other stoves of the time.
( 1849 - 1933 )  
   Froelich Tractor

John Froelich

In 1892, John Froelich invented the first successful gasoline powered engine that could be driven backwards and forwards. The word "Tractor" wasn't used in those days, but that's what it was. In 1918 his company was bought out by John Deere.
( 1765 - 1815 )  


Robert Fulton was an American who invented the first successful steam-powered ship.
( 1901 - 1987 )  
Fluorescent Lights 


Edmund Germer's development of the fluorescent lamp significantly increased the efficiency of lighting devices, allowing for more economical lighting while producing less heat than incandescent light.
ROBERT H. GODDARD   ( 1882 - 1945 )
     Robert Goddard Robert Goddard pioneered modern rocketry and space flight and founded a whole field of science and engineering.   Goddard's interest in rockets began in 1899, when he was 17.   He conducted static tests with small solid-fuel rockets in 1908, and in 1912 developed the detailed mathematical theory of rocket propulsion.   In 1915 he proved that rocket engines could produce thrust in a vacuum and therefore make space flight possible. 
( 1906 - 1977 )

CBS Color Wheel Converter

Dr. Peter Carl Goldmark

Worked as a construction engineer until joining the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) in 1936. There he developed the first commercial color television system, which used a rotating three-color disk. Although initially approved by the Federal Communications Commission, it was later superseded by an all-electronic color system that was compatible with black-and-white sets. Goldmark also developed the 33 1/3 LP phonograph that greatly increased the playing time of records.
CHARLES GOODYEAR ( 1800 - 1860 )
Spinning Tire 


Natural or India rubber, as it was known, was of limited usefulness to industry. Rubber products melted in hot weather, froze and cracked in cold, and adhered to virtually everything until the day in the mid 19th century when inventor Charles Goodyear accidentally dropped some rubber mixed with sulfur on a hot stove. Goodyear's discovery of what came to be known as vulcanization strengthened rubber so it could be applied to a vast variety of industrial uses, including, eventually, automobile tires.
( 1803 - 1855 )
Gorrie Ice Maker

Dr. John Gorrie

An early pioneer in the invention of the artificial manufacture of ice, refrigeration, and air conditioning, was granted the first U.S. Patent for mechanical refrigeration in 1851. Dr. Gorrie's basic principle is the one most often used in refrigeration today; namely, cooling caused by the rapid expansion of gases.

( 1920 - )


Gordon Gould coined the word laser and patented optically pumped and discharge excited laser amplifiers now used in most industrial, commercial and medical applications of lasers.
( 1858 - 1937 )

Ear Muffs

Chester Greenwood

Chester Greenwood was born in Farmington, Maine in 1858. A grammar school dropout, he invented earmuffs at the age of 15 (1873). While testing a new pair of ice skates, he grew frustrated at trying to protect his ears from the bitter cold. After wrapping his head in a scarf, which was too bulky and itchy, he made two ear-shaped loops from wire and asked his grandmother to sew fur on them. He patented an improved model with a steel band which held them in place and with Greenwood’s Champion Ear Protectors, he established Greenwood’s Ear Protector Factory. He made a fortune supplying Ear Protectors to U.S. soldiers during World War I. He went on to patent more many other inventions. In 1977, Maine’s legislature declared December 21 "Chester Greenwood Day" to honor a native son and his contribution to cold weather protection.
 ( 1863 - 1914 )


Charles Martin Hall

Charles Martin Hall discovered the electrolytic method of producing aluminum cheaply, bringing the metal into wide commercial use. As a young chemist experimenting in a woodshed, Charles Hall invented a method for extracting pure aluminum from its ore. Understanding aluminum's potential, Hall founded and industry that contributed to many others, particularly to the manufacture of aircraft and automobiles. By 1914, Hall's process had brought the cost of aluminum down to 18 cents a pound. Aluminum, once a precious metal used for fine jewelry, is now inexpensive enough for everyday packaging.
( 1797 - 1878 )

Joseph Henry

American physicist, taught mathematics and natural philosophy. From 1846 he served as the first secretary and director of the newly found Smithsonian Institution. Before assuming his responsibilities at the Smithsonian Institution, he had made notable contributions to the physical sciences, especially in electromagnetism. Henry improved the electromagnet, increasing its strength and fitting it for practical use. He discovered self-inductance, the unit of inductance is called the Henry in his honor. He also discovered the principle of induced current, basic to the dynamo, transformer and many other devices. He is also responsible for the invention of the electric motor.
( 1868 - 1946 )  


Felix Hoffman

Felix Hoffmann first made acetylsalicylic acid, better known today as aspirin, to ease his father's arthritis.   However, aspirin's history begins long before Hoffmann's work while he was a chemist for Bayer.   Hippocrates realized that juice from willow tree bark killed pain.   Scientists in the 19th century realized it was the salicylic acid in the willow that made the painkiller work, but it was hard on the stomach and had to be buffered.   In 1899, Hoffmann developed the acetylsalicylic acid formula.
( 1910 - 1980 ) 


Donald F. Holmes invented the process for making the multipurpose material polyurethane. He received a patent in 1942. This method is the basis today for the manufacture of all polyurethanes. Flexible polyurethane foam is used as an upholstery material, and the rigid foam is commonly used as a heat-insulating material in homes, offices, and refrigerators. Polyurethane is also used in life-saving artificial hearts, safety padding in modern automobiles and in carpentry.
(  1837 - 1920 )

John Wesley Hyatt

Celluloid is a plastic made from cellulose ( it is derived from plants ). This very flammable material was invented in 1869 by John Wesley Hyatt ( it was invented to be a substitute for elephant ivory used for billiard balls ). Celluloid was one of the first plastics invented; it can be damaged by moisture.
( 1831 - 1900 )

D. E. Hughes

Invented in 1878, David Hughes's microphone was the early model for the various carbon microphones now in use. Hughes discovered that a loose contact in a circuit containing a battery and a telephone receiver created a situation where sounds in the receiver matched the vibrations upon the diaphragm of the telephone mouthpiece or transmitter. Hughes also invented the induction balance, often used as a type of metal detector, and researched the theory of magnetism
( 1743 - 1826 )

Wheel Cipher

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson was not only the 3rd president of the United States, but was on of Virginia's largest planters, considering agriculture to be " a science of the very first order," and he studied it with great zeal. Of particular interest to the innovative Jefferson was farm machinery, he developed a plow that would dig deeper than those used in his day. Other inventions of his include the dumbwaiter, the polygraph copying machine, a secret coding machine called the " Wheel Cipher " and a mechanical device to make macaroni.
Charles Francis Jenkins
( 1867 - 1934 ) 


One of the better known experimenters with "mechanical television" was Charles Francis Jenkins, a prolific American inventor. In May 1920 Jenkins introduced his " prismatic rings " as a device to replace the shutter on a film projector. The invention laid the foundation for his first " radio vision " broadcast. He claimed to have transmitted the earliest moving images on June 14, 1923, but his first public demonstration of these images took place in June 1925. Jenkins actively promoted enthusiasm and experimentation in the short-wave radio community, and the U.S. experienced its first television boom, with an estimated 20,000 lookers-in.
WHITCOMB L. JUDSON ( ???? - 1909 )   
  Judson Clasp Locker

Whitcomb L. Judson

Whitcomb L. Judson was an American engineer from Chicago, Illinois, who invented the metal zipper device with locking teeth in 1890. Judson patented his " clasp-locker " on August 29, 1893, later in 1893, he exhibited this new invention at the Chicago Worlds Fair. He never succeeded in marketing his new device. The B. F. Goodrich company in 1923, after receiving the patent rights gave it its common name, the Zipper.
( 1873 - 1949 ) 

 Atwater-Kent Breadboard Radio


Arthur Atwater Kent started the Kent Electrical company in 1895, making motors and fans. He started manufacturing small electrical devices that soon branched into automotive components and eventually radios in 1902. The radios were constructed on wooden planks that became known as "breadboards". Atwater Kent radios were later produced in chassis that fit beautiful wooden cabinets. In the 1920's his radio company was the worlds leader in radio technology. The Great Depression put a damper on the sales of the more expensive console radios that commanded higher prices. Some companies survived switching to the manufacture of smaller table-model radios and by sacrificing quality. In 1936 Atwater Kent closed his factory doors for good. Radio sets never saw Atwater Kent quality again.
CHARLES KETTERING ( 1876 - 1958 ) 
     Charles Kettering The first electrical ignition system or electric starter motor for cars was invented by Charles Kettering, a General Motors engineer and founder of DELCO products. The self starting ignition was first installed in a Cadillac on February 17, 1911. The invention of the electric starter eliminated the need for hand cranking. DELCO products brought automobiles into the Age of Electricity.
( 1923 - )   
1st Integrated Circuit 
In 1959 electrical engineer Jack S. Kilby invented the monolithic integrated circuit, which is still widely used in electronic systems. In 1958 he joined " Texas Instruments Inc. " in Dallas where he was responsible for integrated circuit development and applications.
( 1913 - 2000 )

Hedy Lamarr

A famous 1940's actress not formally trained as an engineer, Lamarr is credited with several sophisticated inventions, among them a unique anti-jamming device for use against Nazi radar.   Years after her patent had expired, Sylvania adapted the design for a device that today speeds satellite communications around the world.
( 1902 - 1978 ) 

William Lear
Lear's design of a practical car radio launched the Motorola Company. He then turned to navigational aids for aircraft and formed Lear, Inc. LearAvia Corp., and then Learjet, a leading supplier of corporate jets. He also designed the eight-track tape player.
( 1809 - 1884 )
McCormick Reaper

Cyrus McCormick

Cyrus Hall McCormick invented the mechanical reaper, which combined all the steps that earlier harvesting machines had performed separately. Patenting his invention in 1834, McCormick started to manufacture the machine on the family estate in 1837. Six years later he began to license its manufacture in other parts of the country. In 1847 he set up a factory in Chicago, founding what eventually became one of the greatest industrial establishments in the United States.
( 1791 - 1872 )  


Samuel Morse's electric telegraph was the first to be successfully developed in the United States. Morse's code was developed to send messages via telegraph.
ELISHA GRAVES OTIS ( 1811 - 1861 ) 

Elisha Graves Otis

Elisha Graves Otis was an American mechanic and inventor. Otis invented the elevator brake, which greatly improved the safety of elevators. He used a ratchet on a spring to catch the elevator in the event of an accident ( like a broken cable ). In 1854, at the Crystal Palace Exposition in New York, Otis demonstrated how safe his elevator was by cutting the elevator’s cable with an ax, and the elevator car stayed where it was in the shaft. Otis' invention spurred the development of skyscrapers, changing the look of cities around the world forever. Otis also invented a railway safety brake and improvements to turbine engines and brass bed frames.
( 1831 - 1888 )

Coca Cola

John Pemberton

In May, 1886, Coca Cola was invented by Doctor John Pemberton a pharmacist from Atlanta, Georgia. John Pemberton concocted the Coca Cola formula in a three legged brass kettle in his backyard. The name was a suggestion given by John Pemberton's book keeper Frank Robinson.
It was a prohibition law, enacted in Atlanta in 1886, that persuaded physician and chemist Dr. John Stith Pemberton to rename and rewrite the formula for his popular nerve tonic, stimulant and headache remedy, "Pemberton's French Wine Coca," sold at that time by most, if not all, of the city's druggists.
So when the new Coca-Cola debuted later that year--still possessing "the valuable tonic and nerve stimulant properties of the coca plant and cola nuts," yet sweetened with sugar instead of wine--Pemberton advertised it not only as a "delicious, exhilarating, refreshing and invigorating" soda-fountain beverage but also as the ideal "temperance drink."
Though Pemberton died just two years later--five months, in fact, after his March 24, 1888, filing for incorporation of the first Coca-Cola Co.--the trademark he and his partners created more than one hundred years ago can claim wider recognition today than that of any other brand in the world.


( 1910 - 1994 ) 
  Teflon Tape


Chemist Roy J. Plunkett discovered tetrafluoroethylene resin while researching refrigerants at DuPont. Known by its trade name, Teflon, Plunkett's discovery was found to be extremely heat-tolerant and stick-resistant. After ten years of research, Teflon was introduced in 1949. Teflon has become an important coating for everything from satellite components to cookware.
( 1861 - ???? )  

Jesse Reno

In 1891, Jesse Reno patented a moving stairway - actually a moving ramp - that was known as the " inclined elevator ". In 1896, Reno installed his version of an escalator at the Old Iron Pier at Coney Island. The amusement park ride, which transported riders on a conveyor belt built at a 25-degree angle, was considered a novelty by the 75,000 people who rode it during its two-week Coney Island exhibition. A wooden stairway with moving steps was displayed at the international exhibition in Paris in 1900, where the word "escalator" was coined. The Otis Elevator Company bought the rights to both patents merging the two designs to create the escalator that is in common use today.
( 1836 - 1918 )   


The mechanical cash register was invented in 1879 by James Ritty. Ritty was an American tavern keeper in Dayton, Ohio. He nicknamed his cash register the " Incorruptible Cashier " and started the National Manufacturing Company to sell them. When a transaction was completed, a bell rang on the cash register and the amount was noted on a large dial on the front of the machine. During each sale, a paper tape was punched with holes so that the merchant could keep track of sales ( at the end of the day, the merchant could add up the holes ) His company eventually became " NCR " National Cash Register.
( 1823 - 1896 ) 

Sylvestor Roper with his Steam Bike

Sylvester Howard Roper was an American inventor from New Hampshire who developed a coal-powered, two cylinder, steam driven wooden Motorcycle in 1867. Roper also developed a steam-driven car. Roper died at age 73 while testing a new motorcycle.
CHARLES M. SCHULTZ ( 1922 - 2000 ) 
  Charlie Brown

Charles M. Sch, ulz

Charles M. Schultz is the most widely syndicated cartoonist in history, with his work appearing in over 2,300 newspapers. He has published more than 1,400 books, won Peabody and Emmy awards for his animated specials, and is responsible for the most-produced musical in the American theatre, entitled "Your A Good Man, Charlie Brown". And all this diversity and recognition and continuous success began in 1950 when United Feature Syndicate ran the first installment of a comic strip it dubbed "PEANUTS".
(  1889 - 1972 )

Igor Sikorsky

One of aviation's greatest designers, Igor Sikorsky began work on helicopters as early as 1910. By 1940, Igor Sikorsky's successful VS-300 had become the model for all modern single-rotor helicopters. He also designed and built the first military helicopter, the XR-4.  The very first piloted helicopter was invented by Paul Cornu in 1907, however, this design was not successful.  Igor Sikorsky is considered to be the "father" of helicopters not because he invented the first. He is called that because he invented the first successful helicopter, upon which future designs were based.
( 1811 - 1875 ) 
     Singer Machine


Isaac Merritt Singer was the most flamboyant of the 19th century sewing machine inventors, having sharpened his skills as an actor before becoming an inventor. Around 1850, he began concentrating to improve an existing sewing machine. Success followed quickly. In 1853 his patent claims were for the methods of feeding the cloth, regulating the tension on the needle thread, and lubricating the needle thread so that leather could be sewn. The development of practical sewing machines contributed to the growth of the ready-made clothing industry in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
CHRISTOPHER SHOLES ( 1819 - 1890 ) 

Christopher Sholes

Christopher Sholes invented the first practical typewriter and introduced the keyboard layout that is familiar today. As he experimented early on with different versions, Sholes realized that the levers in the type basket would jam when he arranged the keys in alphabetical order. He rearranged the keyboard to prevent levers from jamming when frequently used keys were utilized. The rearranged keys in the upper row formed the order QWERTY, and the design exists to this day.
(  1894 - 1970 )

Spencer Microwave oven

Percy L. Spencer

Percy Spencer, already known as an electronics genius and war hero, was touring one of his laboratories at the Raytheon Company. He stopped momentarily in front of a magnetron, the power tube that drives a radar set. Feeling a sudden and strange sensation, Spencer noticed that the chocolate bar in his pocket had begun to melt. Spencer, who obtained 120 patents in his lifetime, knew how to apply his curiosity. So he did what any good inventor would -- he went for some popcorn. Spencer didn't feel like a snack, he asked for unpopped popcorn. Holding the bag of corn next to the magnetron, Spencer watched as the kernels exploded into puffy white morsels. From this simple experiment, Spencer and Raytheon developed the microwave oven. The first microwave oven weighed a hefty 750 pounds and stood five feet, six inches. At first, it was used exclusively in restaurants, railroad cars and ocean liners -- places where large quantities of food had to be cooked quickly.
( 1857 - 1934 )
Sprague Trolley

Frank Julian Sprague

Frank Julian Sprague was an assistant to Thomas Edison in 1883 and independently created a superior electric motor that was readily adaptable to industrial machinery.   He also improved systems of electric energy and wheel suspension systems from which he developed the first electric street railway, installed at Richmond, Va., in 1887.
( 1749 - 1838 )

John Bull

John Stevens
Colonel John Stevens is considered to be the father of American railroads. In 1826, John Stevens demonstrated the feasibility of steam locomotion on a circular experimental track constructed on his estate in Hoboken, New Jersey, three years before George Stevenson perfected a practical steam locomotive in England. The first railroad charter in North America was granted to John Stevens in 1815. Grants to others followed, and work soon began, on, the first operational railroads. John Stevens, with the able sons to help him, erected a circular railway at Hoboken as early as 1826, on which he ran a locomotive at the rate of 12 miles per hour, the " John Bull".
( 1839 - 1902 )  
   Strowger Switch

Almon Strowger

An Undertaker by trade, Almon Stowger was also an inventor, his electrical switch made it possible for telephones to be directly dialed eliminating the need for an operator's assistance.
( 1854 - 1940 )


Charles Tainter, along with Chichester Bell, and his famous cousin Alexander G. Bell, from 1881 to 1885 developed an improved phonograph they called the " Graph-o-phone ". They received several important patents in 1886 that would shape the future of the recording industry. Tainter's Graphophone would become a major competitor to Edison's Phonograph.
( 1772 -1852 )  
Terry Clock 


U.S. clockmaker. Born in East Windsor, Conn., he established a factory in Plymouth, Conn., in 1793. He made a specialty of one-day " wooden works " shelf clocks, especially his "perfected wood clock" known as the "Terry clock" (1814). Using interchangeable parts made by mechanized techniques, his production rose to as high as 10,000 - 12,000 Terry clocks per year.
( 1785 - 1859 )  
Seth Thomas Clock

Seth Thomas

U.S. clockmaker. Born in Wolcott, Conn. In 1807 became chief apprentice to master clockmaker Eli Terry. Terry sold his business to Seth Thomas and partner Silas Hoadley in 1811. Seth Thomas sold his interest to Hoadley in 1813 and moved to Plymouth Hollow, Conn. and founded the Seth Thomas Clock company. In 1814 began production of quality type wooden work clocks like Terry's. Seth Thomas clocks still being produced today.
( 1846 - 1914 ) 
 Westinghouse Locomotive


George Westinghouse became famous as an inventor of the railroad air brake. He later excelled as a businessman through his Westinghouse Electric Company, which became a world leader in providing electrical power and appliances. He aggressively developed technology for generating and transmitting electric power and applied it to industrial and consumer applications, such as the streetcar and the elevator.
( 1765 - 1825 )  

Cotten Gin

Eli Whitney

American inventor, pioneer, mechanical engineer and manufacturer, Eli Whitney is best remembered as the inventor of the cotton gin.   He also affected the industrial development of the United States when, in manufacturing muskets for the government, he translated the concept of interchangeable parts into a manufacturing system, giving birth to the American mass-production concept.
( 1887 - 1958 )   
  Traffic Light


He invented one of the world's first electric traffic lights in 1912. A wooden box with a slanted roof, the lights were colored with red and green dye and shone through circular openings. The box was mounted on a pole and the wires were attached to the overhead trolley and light wires. It was manually operated.
  ( 1921 -  )
           Bar Code

Joseph Woodland

Bar codes (also called Universal Product Codes or UPC's) are small, coded labels that contain information about the item they are attached to; the information is contained in a numerical code, usually containing 12 digits. UPC's are easily scanned by laser beams. UPC's are used on many things, including most items for sale in stores, library books, inventory items, many packages and pieces of luggage being shipped, railroad cars, etc. The UPC may contain coded information about the item, its manufacturer, place of origin, destination, the owner, or other data. The first "bullseye code" was invented by Norman Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver, from work which they began in 1948. On October 20, 1949, they patented their bullseye code (a series of concentric circles that were scannable from all directions, using regular light). Woodland and Silver patented a new UPC in October 1952; the UPC was also improved and adapted by David J. Collins in the late 1950's (to track railroad cars). UPC's were first used in grocery stores in the early 1970's.
( 1867 - 1912 )     
( 1871 - 1948 ) 
Wright Flyer


American brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright built the first successful airplane. Their historic first flight took place on December 17, 1903, at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, when Orville flew the plane 120 feet. It stayed aloft for 12 seconds.
( 1821 - 1868 ) 
      Yale An American mechanical engineer and manufacturer who developed the cylinder pin-tumbler lock and other types of combination locks. This very secure lock is still widely in use today in car doors and outside doors of buildings. The cylinder pin-tumbler lock consists of 5 pairs of bottom pins and top drivers, held in position by springs. When the right key is put into the lock, the bottom pins are pushed to the right position, allowing the key to turn and the lock to unlock.