Inventors Day is February 11th
Inventors Day is celebrated annually to celebrate the achievements of inventors and their contributions to society. Inventors Day was created to honor the anniversary of the patent filing of Alexander Graham Bell's telephone.
Alexander Graham Bell (born March 3, 1847; died August 2, 1922), transmitted the first wireless telephone message: "Mr. Watson, come here; I want to see you" on February 14, 1876. He was the first person to speak over a phone line to his assistant, Thomas Watson.
Many inventors and inventions have had an immeasurable impact on the world we live in today. Other honorable mentions include Thomas Edison, Guglielmo Marconi, Eli Whitney, and Bill Gates.
Thomas Edison (born February 11, 1847; died October 18, 1931) - Inventor and businessman.
- Edison was interested in science and invention from a young age. His curiosity led him to eventually accumulate more than 1,000 patents in his lifetime.
- Edison co-founded General Electric and was also the inventor of many useful items we still use today including: the lightbulb, phonograph and the stock market ticker.
- The light bulb that Edison invented was based on a design by Humphry Davy who created an electric lamp using a carbon filament. But, Edison's light bulb had the ability to stay on for longer periods of time and was more affordable than Davy's lamp.
- Edison worked on finding a way to record soundwaves so that they could be played back for entertainment purposes. After several years, he finally created the phonograph using wax cylinders as recording medium.
- In 1876, Edison received a patent for his invention of an electric stock ticker. The machine composed electrical signals from the New York Stock Exchange that were then sent across telegraph lines to be translated into prices and displayed on various ticker tape machines in brokerage houses around the country.
- Edison was also widely known for his development of efficient electric power systems, including the first large-scale electric power network that once lit up New York City.
Guglielmo Marconi (born April 25, 1874; died July 20, 1937) - Inventor and businessman.
- Marconi was an Italian inventor who is credited with developing the first practical system of wireless telegraphy and radio.
- The son of a wealthy Italian landowner, Marconi began inventing at an early age. He used his own money to help pay for university where he studied physics.
- Marconi's experiments with radio waves created the foundation for modern radio communication technology. He patented many variations of his invention, which helped to make the wireless telegraph an important form of communication around the world.
- After Guglielmo Marconi's death, his patent for a device that could transmit and receive radio signals was challenged by John Stone Stone in 1934. The United States Court of Claims later found that while Marconi invented the first practical system of wireless telegraphy, he did not invent the radio. The court concluded that Nikola Tesla's patent for a "wired wireless" system was similar enough to grant it precedence over Marconi's patent.
- In 1909, Marconi received an honor from King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy for his achievements in the development of wireless telegraphy.
Eli Whitney (born December 8, 1765; died January 8, 1825) - Inventor and businessman.
- As a child, Whitney became interested in designing machines that could help people with their work after seeing how difficult it was for his mother to operate her sewing machine.
- Whitney designed a cotton gin that sped up the process of separating cotton fibers from seeds and other debris. This invention made processing cotton more efficient, which was key to the growth of the Southern economy during this time.
- Whitney received a patent for his cotton gin in 1794. He then began working with other inventors to help market their inventions by creating his own company called Eli Whitney Jr. & Co.
- Whitney also developed a form of interchangeable parts for muskets that allowed more weapons to be manufactured faster and at less expense than before. His system gave birth to the concept of standardization which is still used today in many areas including manufacturing, mass production, supply chain management, etc.
- Whitney died after he was accidentally struck by a falling tree limb while he was clearing land for his father's farm.
- Some people view Eli Whitney as one of the most important inventors in American history.
Maria Mitchell (born August 1, 1818; died June 28, 1889) - Astronomer and educator.
- As a young girl, Maria Mitchell learned to use a telescope that belonged to one of her father's friends. This sparked her interest in astronomy and the stars.
- In 1847, Mitchell discovered a comet using a telescope located on Nantucket Island. She then spent many years working as an astronomer and educator at Vassar College and the Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association.
- In 1865, Mitchell became the first woman to be elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She was also one of the first members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. - As an educator, Mitchell is remembered for her commitment to women's education and women's rights.
- A crater on Venus is named after Mitchell, making her the first American woman to have a crater named in her honor.
William Henry 'Bill' Gates III (born October 28, 1955) - Businessman and philanthropist.
- As an eight grader, Bill Gates started his own business called Traf-O-Data which helped process parking lot traffic data. Gates had created this company with his friend Paul Allen, who was one of the co-founders of Microsoft Corporation along with Gates.
- In 1975, Gates dropped out of Harvard University to focus on creating a new computer operating system which became known as MS-DOS and later renamed Windows. Microsoft soon launched its first version of Windows in 1985.
- Gates' company continues to dominate the computer industry by designing software that runs on most of the world's personal computers, including Windows 10 and Microsoft Office 365. - Bill Gates is also known for his support of philanthropic causes through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He is one of the world's wealthiest people having an estimated net worth of $92.7 billion as of May 2017.
- Bill Gates will retire from Microsoft in July 2008 and work full time with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Today is Inventor's Day - Make something new!