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  1. 13 Inventors You've Never Heard of
  2. List of inventors
  3. Inventor Overview

Bell's real contribution was "to vary the strength of the current to capture variations in voice and sound," Lemley writes. In this tweak, he was racing against Thomas Edison. Even Bell's final product -- which combined transmitter, fluctuating current, and receiver -- had company. Elisha Gray filed a patent application on the exact same day as Bell, only to lose the patent claim in court. Lemly's conclusion: "Bell's iconic status owes as much to his victories in court and in the marketplace as at the lab bench.

As just about everyone is taught, Thomas Edison invented the light-bulb. And as just about everyone later learns, Thomas Edison in no way invented the light-bulb. Electric lighting existed before him, incandescent light bulbs existed before him, and when other inventors got wind of Edison's tinkerings, they roundly sued him for patent infringement. So what did Edison actually do? He discovered that a special species of bamboo had a higher resistance to electricity than carbonized paper, which means it could more efficiently produce light.

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Edison got rich off the bamboo, and filthy disgusting rich from superior manufacturing and marketing of his product. But within a generation other inventors had developed better filaments and today's light-bulbs. Most of these stories here are about how we mistake incremental improvements for eureka moments.

But the story of the movie projector is simpler. It's basically a story about theft. But his financial backer stole the Jenkins prototype and sold it to a theater chain, which called it the "Edison Vitascope" for no better reason than the word Edison was familiar and useful for branding. That Edison was tinkering with his own movie projector is true, but besides the point. His legacy here was mostly the work of a thief. Today's cars bear the names of their founders and innovators: Benz, Peugeot, Renault.

But have you ever heard of a Dodge bicycle? Or a Mercedes tricycle? In fact, both companies specialized in bikes before moving the autos. The car industry represents the epitome of incremental innovation. Take a tricycle.

Add an engine. You've got a car. Just look at the picture to the right, of the the original Benz Motorwagen from Condensing the invention of cars to those six words leaves out a lot of detail and a few main characters.

It was Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach who designed the first four-wheel car with a four-stroke engine and Henry Ford who perfected the assembly line. But the long story short is that the car was a typical "invention" that was far too complicated for one person to conceive on his won.

13 Inventors You've Never Heard of

Speaking of building bikes, that's exactly what Orville and Wilbur Wright did before they became the first team to fly a heavier-than-air machine. But, as we've learned, every great inventor stands on the shoulders of giants. But the Wrights solved one of the most nagging problems facing airplane developers -- stability -- by having "a single cable warp the wing and turn the rudder at the same time.

The "Farnsworth Invention" was named after Philo T. Farnsworth, the nominal father of television. But his invention was neither his nor an invention. Teams of scientists and tinkerers all around the world were working to build, essentially, a radio for images -- i. In order to survive after William's death, Josephine Cochrane began developing her idea for a dishwashing machine further, which she constructed with the help of mechanic George Butters. The Cochrane Dishwasher was born. In the beginning, she started selling dishwashing machines to her friends.

Josephine Cochrane was the inventor of the first commercially successful automatic dishwasher. Then the individual compartments were placed inside a wheel that lay flat within a copper boiler. A motor turned the wheel while hot soapy water squirted from the bottom of the boiler and rained down on the dishes. Josephine's invention was a success. She showed the dishwasher at the Chicago World's Fair.

Soon, Josephine Cochrane was receiving orders for her dishwashing machine from restaurants and hotels in Illinois. The Garis-Cochrane Company she had initially founded to manufacture her dishwashers became KitchenAid. Two men tried to reproduce Josephine's success. Alexander improved on the device with a geared mechanism that allowed the user to spin racked dishes through a tub of water.

They insisted on having their own way with my invention until they convinced themselves my way was the best, no matter how I had arrived at it. However, neither of the devices was particularly effective and Josephine's remain the only commercially successful dishwashing machine. The U.

List of inventors

Patent and Trademark Office granted Josephine Cochrane patent number , on December 28, , for her invention of the dishwasher machine. Josephine Cochrane died of a stroke or exhaustion in Chicago, Illinois on August 14, She was 74 years old. Josephine was buried in Glenwood Cemetery in Shelbyville, Illinois.

In , she was posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Maria Beasley was born in Philadelphia in In , she got married. Maria held several jobs including dressmaker.

Between and , Chicago directories listed her occupation as an inventor. Maria Beasley's first invention, the barrel-hooping machine, made her quite a lot of money.

Inventor Overview

Maria's invention could make a total of 1, barrels a day. Her life rafts were also patented in Great Britain and used on the Titanic. Maria wanted to create a better life raft that was fire-proof, compact, safe, and readily launched. In , she invented her new design which included guard railings surrounding the raft and rectangular metal floats.

This design was able to fold and unfold for easy storage, even with the rails. Maria Beasley is best known for the invention of a life raft. She received a patent for her invention on April 6, Maria Beasley was granted her first patent in for her invention of the barrel-hopping machine. She showed this invention at the World Industrial and Cotton Exposition in together with her improved life raft, which Maria had patented in Little is known about an exact date of Maria Beasley's death.

It is believed that she died in Elizabeth J. Magie was born in Macomb, Illinois in Her father was James Magie, a newspaper publisher, and an abolitionist. He accompanied Lincoln as he traveled around Illinois in the late s.