How Invention Begins ch. 2

This book is about invention--where new technology comes from.  In elementary school you learn of some famous inventors, but it turns out to be more complicated than that.
machine for producing doughnuts
Who invented the doughnut?
History begins with the invention of writing, by definition

Do patents tell us who invented something?
Lienhard tells a story from his own experience of how it is more complicated than that--the idea goes through different hands and changes

The Patent System: Number of Patents granted annually by the U.S. Patent Office (U.S. Patent Activity, 1790-1997 )
1840 1860 1880 1900 1920 1940 1960 1980 2000
477 4,412 13,712 28,139 40,819
48,385 54,867

patent office fire
Patents before 1836 were lost in a fire:

recreated drawing for 1830 patent for mechanical fan
patent drawing

This page written and copyright Pamela E. Mack
HIST 122
last updated 8/24/07