Timeline of United States inventions (before 1890)

Last updated
Eli Whitney (1765-1825) is best known for inventing the cotton gin in October 1793 and patenting it on March 14, 1794; a key invention of the Industrial Revolution that shaped the economy of the antebellum South. Eli Whitney by Samuel Finley Breese Morse 1822.jpeg
Eli Whitney (1765–1825) is best known for inventing the cotton gin in October 1793 and patenting it on March 14, 1794; a key invention of the Industrial Revolution that shaped the economy of the antebellum South.

The United States provided many inventions in the time from the Colonial Period to the Gilded Age, which were achieved by inventors who were either native-born or naturalized citizens of the United States. Copyright protection secures a person's right to his or her first-to-invent claim of the original invention in question, highlighted in Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution, which gives the following enumerated power to the United States Congress:

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To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

In 1641, the first patent in North America was issued to Samuel Winslow by the General Court of Massachusetts for a new method of making salt. [3] [4] [5] On April 10, 1790, President George Washington signed the Patent Act of 1790 (1 Stat. 109) into law proclaiming that patents were to be authorized for "any useful art, manufacture, engine, machine, or device, or any improvement therein not before known or used". [6] On July 31, 1790, Samuel Hopkins of Pittsford, Vermont became the first person in the United States to file and to be granted a patent for an improved method of "Making Pot and Pearl Ashes". [7] The Patent Act of 1836 (Ch. 357, 5 Stat. 117) further clarified United States patent law to the extent of establishing a patent office where patent applications are filed, processed, and granted, contingent upon the language and scope of the claimant's invention, for a patent term of 14 years with an extension of up to an additional 7 years. [6] However, the Uruguay Round Agreements Act of 1994 (URAA) changed the patent term in the United States to a total of 20 years, effective for patent applications filed on or after June 8, 1995, thus bringing United States patent law further into conformity with international patent law. [8] The modern-day provisions of the law applied to inventions are laid out in Title 35 of the United States Code (Ch. 950, sec. 1, 66 Stat. 792).

From 1836 to 2011, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has granted a total of 7,861,317 patents [9] relating to several well-known inventions appearing throughout the timeline below.

Colonial Period (1500s–1775)

1717 Swim fins
1730 Octant
Hadley's octant design Hadley's octant.png
Hadley's octant design
1742 Franklin stove
1744 Mail order

1749 Lightning rod

1752 Flexible urinary catheter

1761 Armonica

Independence and the Federalist Era (1776–1801)

1776 Swivel chair

1782 Flatboat

1784 Bifocals

Bifocals can provide a magnification factor of 10x to read text US Navy 090617-N-1783P-009 Bob Gore uses bifocals that provide a magnification factor of 10x to read text.jpg
Bifocals can provide a magnification factor of 10x to read text

1785 Artificial diffraction grating

1787 Automatic flour mill

1792 Cracker

1793 Cotton gin

1795 Wheel cypher

Jefferson's disk Jefferson's disk cipher.jpg
Jefferson's disk

1796 Rumford fireplace

1796 Cupcake

Two cupcakes iced with the Wikipedia logo on their tops WikiXDC Cupcakes A.jpg
Two cupcakes iced with the Wikipedia logo on their tops

1801 Suspension bridge

1801 Fire hydrant

1802 Banjo clock

An example of a banjo clock Banjo clock 001.JPG
An example of a banjo clock

1804 Burr Truss

1805 Amphibious vehicle

1805 Vapor-compression refrigeration

Schematic of Gorrie's 1841 ice machine Gorrie Ice Machine.png
Schematic of Gorrie's 1841 ice machine

1806 Coffee percolator

1808 Lobster trap

An example of a lobster trap used in Devon, England Lobster pots at Beer, Devon.JPG
An example of a lobster trap used in Devon, England

1812 Columbiad

1813 Circular saw

1815 Dental floss

1816 Milling machine

1818 Profile lathe

1827 Detachable collar

1829 Graham cracker

A stack of graham crackers Graham-Cracker-Stack.jpg
A stack of graham crackers

1830 Platform scale

1831 Flanged T rail

1831 Multiple coil magnet

1831 Doorbell (electric)

1833 Sewing machine (lock-stitch)

1834 Combine harvester

A John Deere combine harvesting corn Combine-harvesting-corn.jpg
A John Deere combine harvesting corn

1835 Steam shovel

1835 Solar compass

William Austin Burt's solar compass William Burt Solar Compass.jpg
William Austin Burt's solar compass

1835 Relay

1836 Morse code

A typical "straight key" model used for transmitting and transcribing Morse code J38TelegraphKey.jpg
A typical "straight key" model used for transmitting and transcribing Morse code

1836 Gridiron (cooking)

1836 Circuit breaker

400 kV SF6 live tank circuit breakers 400kv.jpg
400 kV SF6 live tank circuit breakers

1837 Self-polishing cast steel plow

1839 Corn sheller

1839 Sleeping car

1839 Vulcanized rubber

1839 Babbitt (metal)

1840 Howe truss

1842 Inhalational anaesthetic

1842 Grain elevator

1843 Ice cream maker (hand-cranked)

An early example of a hand-cranked ice cream maker WhiteMountainFreezer.jpg
An early example of a hand-cranked ice cream maker

1843 Multiple-effect evaporator

1843 Rotary printing press

1844 Pratt truss

1845 Pressure-sensitive tape

1845 Maynard tape primer

1845 Baseball

A sketch of an early baseball game played at Elysian Fields, Hoboken, New Jersey Baseball1866.JPG
A sketch of an early baseball game played at Elysian Fields, Hoboken, New Jersey

1846 Transverse shuttle

1846 Printing telegraph

1847 Gas mask

A gas mask from the Czech Republic OM10-M side.jpg
A gas mask from the Czech Republic

1847 Doughnut (ring-shaped)

1848 Pin tumbler lock

1849 Jackhammer

Drilling a blast hole with a jackhammer Tennessee Valley Authority Douglas Dam French Broad River Sevier County TN man with jackhammer 1942.gif
Drilling a blast hole with a jackhammer

1849 Safety pin

1850 Dishwasher

1850 Feed dogs

1850 Vibrating shuttle

A vibrating shuttle in its carrier Singer.VibratingShuttle.InShuttleCarrier.jpg
A vibrating shuttle in its carrier

1850 Inverted microscope

1851 Rotary hook

1851 Fire alarm box

1852 Elevator brake

1853 Burglar alarm

1853 Potato chips

1853 spring Clothespin

A clothespin with metal lever action Clothespin.jpg
A clothespin with metal lever action

1854 Breast pump

1855 Calliope

1856 Egg beater

A vintage egg beater VintageMixer.jpg
A vintage egg beater

1856 Condensed milk

1856 Equatorial sextant

1857 Toilet paper (mass-produced and rolled)

1857 Pink lemonade

1857 Brown Truss

1858 screw top Pepper shaker

A pepper shaker with a screw-on cap Poivre.JPG
A pepper shaker with a screw-on cap

1858 Mason jar

1858 Pencil eraser

An eraser attached to a graphite pencil Barnstar-eraser.png
An eraser attached to a graphite pencil

1858 Ironing board

1858 Twine knotter

1858 Dustpan

1859 Electric stove

1859 Escalator

A typical escalator tube on the London Underground London Underground Escalator.jpg
A typical escalator tube on the London Underground

1860 Vacuum cleaner

1860 Repeating rifle (lever action)

Civil War and the Reconstruction Era (1861–1877)

1861 Jelly bean

A handful of jelly beans 100 1373.JPG
A handful of jelly beans

1861 Twist drill

1861 Kinematoscope

1861 Postcard

1861 Machine gun (hand-cranked)

1863 Breakfast cereal

A bowl of breakfast cereal filled with milk and topped with raspberries NCI Visuals Food Meal Breakfast.jpg
A bowl of breakfast cereal filled with milk and topped with raspberries

1863 Ratchet wrench

1863 Quad skates

1863 Double-barreled cannon

The double-barreled cannon prototype located in Athens, Georgia Doublebarreledcannonathensgeorgia-I.jpg
The double-barreled cannon prototype located in Athens, Georgia

1864 Spar torpedo

1865 Cowboy hat

1865 Rotary printing press (web)

1866 Urinal (restroom version)

1866 Chuckwagon

1867 Motorcycle (steam-powered)

An 1860s drawing of the Roper steam velocipede Roper steam velocipede 1868 The Standard Reference Work.png
An 1860s drawing of the Roper steam velocipede

1867 Paper clip

1867 Barbed wire

1867 Ticker tape

1867 Water-tube boiler

1867 Refrigerator car

1868 Paper bag

Two paper bags Two paper bags.jpg
Two paper bags

1868 Tape measure

1869 Vibrator

1869 American football

A quarterback preparing to throw a pass Shea Smith-edit1.jpg
A quarterback preparing to throw a pass

1869 Pipe wrench

1869 Clothes hanger

1870 Bee smoker

Firing a bee smoker Bee Smoker.jpg
Firing a bee smoker

1870 Can opener (rotary, side-opening)

1870 Sandblasting

1870 Feather duster

1871 Rowing machine

1872 Railway air brake

A valve on a railway air brake Railway air brake 7.jpg
A valve on a railway air brake

1872 Diner

1873 Earmuffs

1873 Silo

Two farm silos Farm silos.jpg
Two farm silos

1873 Jeans

Jeans are trousers generally made from denim. Jeans became popular among teenagers starting in the 1950s which remains as a distinct icon of American fashion. In 1873, Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis co-invented and co-patented the idea of using copper rivets at the stress points of sturdy work pants. After one of Davis' customers kept purchasing cloth to reinforce torn pants, he had an idea to use copper rivets to reinforce the points of strain, such as on the pocket corners and at the top of the button fly. Davis did not have the required money to purchase a patent, so he wrote to Strauss suggesting that they both go into business together. Early Levis, called "waist overalls", came in a brown canvas duck fabric and a heavy blue denim fabric. His business became extremely successful, revolutionizing the apparel industry. [202]

1873 Knuckle coupler

Two railway cars interlocked and joined together by a knuckle coupler Auto brake.JPG
Two railway cars interlocked and joined together by a knuckle coupler

Also known as a Janney coupler and the buckeye coupler, the knuckle coupler is the derivative of a coupling device that links and connects rolling railway cars such as passenger, refrigerator, freight, and stock cars together on railroad track. The knuckle coupler have a bifurcated drawhead and a revolving hook, which, when brought in contact with another coupler, automatically interlocks with its mate. Knuckle couplers replaced the much more dangerous link-and-pin couplers and became the basis for standard coupler design for the rest of the 19th century. The knuckle coupler was invented and patented by Eli H. Janney in 1873. [203] [204] [205]

1874 Fire sprinkler (automated)

A fire sprinkler is the part of a fire sprinkler system that discharges water when the effects of a fire have been detected, such as when a pre-determined temperature has been reached. Henry S. Parmelee of New Haven, Connecticut invented and installed the first closed-head or automated fire sprinkler in 1874. [206]

1874 Spork

A spork or a foon is a hybrid form of cutlery taking the form of a spoon-like shallow scoop with three or four fork tines. The spork is a portmanteau word combining spoon and fork. The spork was invented in 1874 by Samuel W. Francis. U.S. patent #147,119 was filed on January 22, 1874, and issued to Francis on February 3, 1874. [207]

1874 Ice cream soda

1874 Quadruplex telegraph

1874 Jockstrap

Marpage jockstrap and packaging, circa 1930 Marpage jockstrap and package 02.JPG
Marpage jockstrap and packaging, circa 1930

A jockstrap, also known as a jock, jock strap, strap, supporter, or athletic supporter, is an undergarment designed for supporting the male genitalia during sports or other vigorous physical activity. A jockstrap consists of a waistband (usually elastic) with a support pouch for the genitalia and two elastic straps affixed to the base of the pouch and to the left and right sides of the waistband at the hip. The jockstrap has been part of men's undergarments since 1874 when it was invented by C.F. Bennett of Chicago to protect and support bicycle riders (back then they were known as "jockeys") who were navigating the cobblestone streets common to the era. [210] [211]

1874 Forstner bit

Forstner bits, also known as Forstner flange bits or webfoot augers, bore precise, flat-bottomed holes in wood, in any orientation with respect to the wood grain. Forstner bits can cut on the edge of a block of wood, and can cut overlapping holes. Because of the flat bottom to the hole, they are useful for drilling through veneer already glued to add an inlay. Forstner bits were invented and patented by Benjamin Forstner in 1874. [212]

1874 QWERTY

QWERTY is the most used modern-day keyboard layout on English-language computer and typewriter keyboards. It takes its name from the first six characters seen in the far left of the keyboard's top row of letters. The QWERTY design was invented and patented by Christopher Sholes in 1874. [213]

1875 Biscuit cutter

1875 Dental drill (electric)

1875 Mimeograph

1876 Synthesizer

1876 Airbrush

1876 Tattoo machine

1877 Phonograph

Thomas Edison's talking machine EdisonPhonograph.jpg
Thomas Edison's talking machine

The phonograph, record player or gramophone is an instrument for recording, reproducing and playing back sounds. The earliest phonographs used cylinders containing an audio recording engraved on the outside surface which could be reproduced when the cylinder was played. Later, the gramophone record with modulated spiral grooves set atop a rotating turntable. The phonograph was invented in 1877 by Thomas Alva Edison at his laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey. [221] [222] [223] [224] On February 8, 1878, Edison was issued the first patent (U.S. patent #200,521) for the phonograph. [225]

1877 District heating

District heating distributes heat generated in a centralized location for residential and commercial heating requirements. The heat is often obtained from a cogeneration plant burning fossil fuels but increasingly biomass, although heat-only boiler stations, geothermal heating and central solar heating are also used, as well as nuclear power. A system was built in France in the 14th Century and the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland began steam district heating service in 1853. However, the first commercially successful district heating system was launched in Lockport, New York, in 1877 by American hydraulic engineer Birdsill Holly, considered the founder of modern district heating. [226]

Gilded Age (1878–1899)

1878 Carbon microphone

1878 Free jet water turbine

1878 Bolometer

1879 mechanical production of Photographic plate

1879 Carton

1879 Cash register

An example of a cash register in Japan Cash register Japan2007.JPG
An example of a cash register in Japan

The cash register is a device for calculating and recording sales transactions. When a transaction was completed, the first cash registers used a bell that rang 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. Known as the "Incorruptible Cashier", the mechanical cash register was invented and patented in 1879 by James Ritty of Dayton, Ohio. John H. Patterson bought Ritty's patent and his cash register company in 1884. [233]

1880 Oil burner

An oil burner is a heating device which burns fuel oil. The oil is directed under pressure through a nozzle to produce a fine spray, which is usually ignited by an electric spark with the air being forced through by an electric fan. In 1880, Amanda Jones invented the oil burner in the oil fields of northern Pennsylvania where Jones completed her trial and error efforts of heating furnaces. [234]

1880 Candlepin bowling

Candlepin bowling is a North American variation of bowling that is played primarily in the Canadian Maritime provinces, Quebec, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. A candlepin bowling lane somewhat resembles lanes used in tenpin bowling. However, unlike tenpin bowling lanes that are flat, candlepin lanes are slightly depressed ahead of the pindeck. The candlepins themselves take on a cylindrical shape which are tapered at the tops and bottoms, thus giving them a resemblance to wax candles. In 1880, candlepin bowling was invented by Justin White of Worcester, Massachusetts. [235]

1881 Electric chair

1881 Metal detector

1881 Iron (electric)

1881 peristaltic pump
A peristaltic pump was first patented in the United States by Eugene Allen in 1881 (U.S. Patent number 249285) for the transfusion of blood.

1882 Fan (electric)

1883 Salt water taffy

1883 Solar cell

Solar panels at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada generating and absorbing the sun's natural light Nellis AFB Solar panels.jpg
Solar panels at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada generating and absorbing the sun's natural light

A solar cell is any device that directly converts the energy in light into electrical energy through the process of photovoltaics. Although French physicist Antoine-César Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect much earlier in 1839, the first solar cell, according to Encyclopædia Britannica, was invented by Charles Fritts in 1883, who used junctions formed by coating selenium with an extremely thin layer of gold. In 1941, the silicon solar cell was invented by another American named Russell Ohl. Drawing upon Ohl's work, three American researchers named Gerald Pearson, Calvin Fuller, and Daryl Chapin essentially introduced the first practical use of solar panels through their improvement of the silicone solar cell in 1954, which by placing them in direct sunlight, free electrons are turned into electric current enabling a six percent energy conversion efficiency. [241]

1883 Thermostat

A thermostat is a device for regulating the temperature of a system so that the system's temperature is maintained near a desired setpoint temperature. The thermostat does this by switching heating or cooling devices on or off, or regulating the flow of a heat transfer fluid as needed, to maintain the correct temperature. The thermostat was invented in 1883 by Warren S. Johnson. [242]

1884 Machine gun

Maxim's machine gun on display at the Military Museum of Finland Maxim M 32-33.JPG
Maxim's machine gun on display at the Military Museum of Finland

The machine gun is defined as a fully automatic firearm, usually designed to fire rifle cartridges in quick succession from an ammunition belt or large-capacity magazine. The world's first true machine gun, the Maxim gun, was invented in 1884 by the American inventor Hiram Stevens Maxim, who devised a recoil power of the previously fired bullet to reload rather than the crude method of a manually operated, hand-cranked firearm. [160] [243] With the ability to fire 750 rounds per minute, Maxim's other great innovation was the use of water cooling to reduce overheating. Maxim's gun was widely adopted and derivative designs were used on all sides during World War I. [244]

1884 Dissolvable pill

A dissolvable pill is any pharmaceutical in tablet form that is ingested orally, which are crushable and able to dissolve in the stomach unlike tablets with hard coatings. The dissolvable pill was invented in 1884 by William E. Upjohn. [245]

1884 Skyscraper

A skyscraper is a tall building that uses a steel-frame construction. After the Great Fire of 1871, Chicago had become a magnet for daring experiments in architecture as one of those was the birth of the skyscraper. The edifice known as the world's first skyscraper was the 10-story Home Insurance Company Building built in 1884. It was designed by the Massachusetts-born architect William Le Baron Jenney. [246]

1885 Popcorn machine

1885 Photographic film

1885 Mixer (cooking)

1885 Fuel dispenser

A man using a fuel dispenser by pumping gasoline into plastic fuel containers FEMA - 14344 - Photograph by Nicolas Britto taken on 08-26-2005 in Florida.jpg
A man using a fuel dispenser by pumping gasoline into plastic fuel containers

A fuel dispenser is used to pump gasoline, diesel, or other types of fuel into vehicles or containers. As the automobile was not invented yet, the gas pump was used for kerosene lamps and stoves. Sylvanus F. Bowser of Fort Wayne, Indiana invented the gasoline/petrol pump on September 5, 1885. [251] Coincidentally, the term "bowser" is still often used in countries such as New Zealand and Australia as a reference to the fuel dispenser. [252]

1886 Filing cabinet (horizontal)

A filing cabinet is a piece of office furniture used to store paper documents in file folders. It is an enclosure for drawers in which items are stored. On November 2, 1886, Henry Brown patented his invention of a "receptacle for storing and preserving papers". This was a fire- and accident-safe container made of forged metal, which could be sealed with a lock and key. It was special in that it kept the papers separated. [253]

1886 Telephone directory

A telephone directory is a listing of telephone subscribers in a geographical area or subscribers to services provided by the organization that publishes the directory. R. H. Donnelley created the first official telephone directory which was referred to as the Yellow Pages in 1886. [254]

1887 Screen door

A screen door can refer to a hinged storm door (cold climates) or hinged screen door (warm climates) covering an exterior door; or a screened sliding door used with sliding glass doors. In any case, the screen door incorporates screen mesh to block flying insects from entering and pets and small children from exiting interior spaces, while allowing for air, light, and views. The screen door was invented in 1887 by Hannah Harger. [255]

1887 Gramophone record

A selection of gramophone records and an album LittleWonderAlbumDisplay.jpg
A selection of gramophone records and an album

A gramophone record, commonly known as a record, vinyl record, or phonograph record, is an analog sound storage medium consisting of a flat disc with an inscribed, modulated spiral groove. The groove usually starts near the periphery and ends near the center of the disc. Ever since Thomas Edison invented the phonograph in 1877, it produced distorted sound because of gravity's pressure on the playing stylus. In response, Emile Berliner invented a new medium for recording and listening to sound in 1887 in the form of a horizontal disc, originally known as the "platter". [256]

1887 Slot machine

A slot machine is a casino gambling machine. Due to the vast number of possible wins with the original poker card based game, it proved practically impossible to come up with a way to make a machine capable of making an automatic pay-out for all possible winning combinations. The first "one-armed bandit" was invented in 1887 by Charles Fey of San Francisco, California who devised a simple automatic mechanism with three spinning reels containing a total of five symbols – horseshoes, diamonds, spades, hearts and a Liberty Bell, which also gave the machine its name. [257]

1887 Softball

As a bat-and-ball team sport, softball is a variant of baseball. The difference between the two sports is that softball uses larger balls and requires a smaller playing field. Beginning as an indoor game in Chicago, softball was invented in 1887 by George Hancock. [258]

1887 Comptometer

1888 Induction motor

Examples of modern induction motors Motors01CJC.jpg
Examples of modern induction motors

An induction motor is an AC electric motor in which the electric current in the rotor needed to produce torque is induced by electromagnetic induction from the magnetic field of the stator winding instead of using mechanical commutation (brushes) that caused sparking in earlier electric motors. They are also self-starting. The Serbian-American inventor Nikola Tesla explored the idea of using a rotating magnetic induction field principle, using it in his invention of a poly-phase induction motor using alternating current which he received a patent for on May 1, 1888. [260] [261] The rights to Tesla's invention were licensed by George Westinghouse for the AC power system his company was developing.

The induction motor Tesla patented in the U.S. is considered to have been an independent invention since the Europe Italian physicist Galileo Ferraris published a paper on a rotating magnetic field based induction motor on 11 March 1888, almost two months before Tesla was granted his patent. [262] [263] [264] [265] A working model of the Ferraris inductionmotor may have been demonstrated at the University of Turin as early as 1885. [266] [267] [268]

1888 Kinetoscope

The Kinetoscope was an early motion picture exhibition device. It was designed for films to be viewed individually through the window of a cabinet housing its components. The Kinetoscope introduced the basic approach that would become the standard for all cinematic projection before the advent of video, creating the illusion of movement by conveying a strip of perforated film bearing sequential images over a light source with a high-speed shutter. First described in conceptual terms by Thomas Alva Edison in 1888, his invention was largely developed by one of his assistants, William Kennedy Laurie Dickson, between 1889 and 1892. [269]

1888 Trolley pole

An example of a trolley pole used in Japan Torolley Pole; Kanden Tunnel Torolley Bus, Japan.jpg
An example of a trolley pole used in Japan

A trolley pole is a tapered cylindrical pole of wood or metal placed in contact with an overhead wire to provide electricity to the trolley car. The trolley pole sits atop a sprung base on the roof of the trolley vehicle, the springs maintaining the tension to keep the trolley wheel or shoe in contact with the wire. Occasionally, a Canadian named John Joseph Wright is credited with inventing the trolley pole when an experimental tramway in Toronto, Ontario, was built in 1883. While Wright may have assisted in the installation of railways at the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE), and may even have used a pole system, there is no hard evidence to prove it. Likewise, Wright never filed or was issued a patent. [270] Official credit for the invention of the electric trolley pole has gone to an American, Frank J. Sprague, who devised his working system in Richmond, Virginia, in 1888. [270] Known as the Richmond Union Passenger Railway, this 12-mile system was the first large-scale trolley line in the world, opening to great fanfare on February 12, 1888. [271]

1888 Drinking straw

The drinking straw is a tube used for transferring a liquid to the mouth, usually a drink from one location to another. The first crude forms of drinking straws were made of dry, hollow, rye grass. Marvin Stone is the inventor of the drinking straw. Stone, who worked in a factory that made paper cigarette holders, did not like this design because it made beverages taste like grass. As an alternative, on January 3, 1888, Stone got a piece of paper from his factory and wrapped it around a pencil. By coating it with wax, his drinking straw became leak-proof so that it would not get waterlogged. [272]

1888 Stepping switch

An example of a Strowger-type selector assembly Uniselector Stepper detail.jpg
An example of a Strowger-type selector assembly

In electrical controls, a stepping switch, also known as a stepping relay, is an electromechanical device which allows an input connection to be connected to one of a number of possible output connections, under the control of a series of electrical pulses. The major use for these devices was in early automatic telephone exchanges to route telephone calls. It can step on one axis (called a uniselector), or on two axes (a Strowger switch). As the first automated telephone switch using electromagnets and hat pins, stepping switches were invented by Almon Brown Strowger in 1888. Strowger filed his patent application on March 12, 1889, and it was issued on March 10, 1891. [273]

1888 Revolving door

A revolving door has three or four doors that hang on a center shaft and rotate around a vertical axis within a round enclosure. In high-rise buildings, regular doors are hard to open because of air pressure differentials. In order to address this problem, the revolving door was invented in 1888 by Theophilus Van Kannel of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Van Kannel patented the revolving door on August 7, 1888. [274]

1888 Ballpoint pen

The tip of a ballpoint pen BallpointMacro.jpg
The tip of a ballpoint pen

A ballpoint pen is a writing instrument with an internal ink reservoir and a sphere for a point. The internal chamber is filled with a viscous ink that is dispensed at its tip during use by the rolling action of a small sphere. The first ballpoint pen is the creation of American leather tanner John Loud of Weymouth, Massachusetts in 1888 which contained a reservoir for ink and a roller ball to mark up his leather hides. Despite Loud being the inventor of the ballpoint pen, it wasn't a practical success since the ink often leaked or clogged up. [275] [276] [277] Loud took out a patent (British patent #15630) in the United Kingdom on October 30, 1888. [278] However, it wasn't until 1935 when Hungarian newspaper editor László Bíró offered an improved version of the ballpoint pen that left paper smudge-free. [277]

1888 Telautograph

The telautograph, an analog precursor to the modern fax machine, transmits electrical impulses recorded by potentiometers at the sending station to stepping motors attached to a pen at the receiving station, thus reproducing at the receiving station a drawing or signature made by sender. It was the first such device to transmit drawings to a stationary sheet of paper. The telautograph's invention is attributed to Elisha Gray, who patented it in 1888. [279]

1888 Touch typing

1888 Salisbury steak

1889 Flexible flyer

A boy atop a flexible flyer sled in 1945 Boy on snow sled, 1945.jpg
A boy atop a flexible flyer sled in 1945

A flexible flyer or steel runner sled is a steerable wooden sled with thin metal runners whereby a rider may sit upright on the sled or lie on their stomach, allowing the possibility to descend a snowy slope feet-first or head-first. To steer the sled, the rider may either push on the wooden cross piece with their hands or feet, or pull on the rope attached to the wooden cross-piece. The flexible flyer was invented in 1889 by Philadelphia resident Samuel Leeds Allen. [282] U.S. patent #408,681 was issued to Allen on August 13, 1889. [283]

1889 Payphone

A payphone or pay phone is a public telephone, usually located in a stand-alone upright container such as a phone booth, with payment done by inserting money (usually coins), a credit or debit card, or a telephone card before the call is made. Pay telephone stations preceded the invention of the pay phone and existed as early as 1878. These stations were supervised by telephone company attendants or agents who collected the money due after people made their calls. In 1889, the first coin-operated telephone was installed by inventor William Gray at a bank in Hartford, Connecticut. However, it was a "postpay" machine that only accepted coins deposited after the call was placed. [284] [285]

See also

Footnotes

  1. "Eli Whitney's cotton gin". PBS.
  2. "Teaching With Documents: Eli Whitney's Patent for the Cotton Gin". U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.
  3. "History of Patent Law". IP Legal Services.
  4. Cortada, James W. (1998). Rise of the Knowledge Worker. Routledge. p. 141. ISBN   0-7506-7058-4.
  5. "Manufactures of the United States in 1860; compiled from the original returns of the eighth census, under the direction of the Secretary of the interior", Publisher: Government Printing Office, Washington, 1865, p. cxcix: "Salt-making was commenced at Salein in 1636, and in 1641 Samuel Winslow was allowed, for 10 years, the exclusive right of making salt in Massachusetts by a new method."
  6. 1 2 "Chapter 4: An Overview of Patents". Digital Law Online.
  7. "First U.S. Patent Issued Today in 1790". United States Patent and Trademark Office.
  8. "2701 Patent Term [R-2]". United States Patent and Trademark Office.
  9. "Table of Issue Years and Patent Numbers, for Selected Document Types Issued Since 1836". United States Patent and Trademark Office.
  10. 1 2 "Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World". Minnesota Historical Society.
  11. 1 2 "Benjamin Franklin: Inquiring Mind". PBS.
  12. "Some of Ben Franklin's Quirkiest Ideas". TechMediaNetwork.com.
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A kitchen stove, often called simply a stove or a cooker, is a kitchen appliance designed for the purpose of cooking food. Kitchen stoves rely on the application of direct heat for the cooking process and may also contain an oven, used for baking. "Cookstoves" are heated by burning wood or charcoal; "gas stoves" are heated by gas; and "electric stoves" by electricity. A stove with a built-in cooktop is also called a range.

Electric shaver

The electric shaver is a razor with a rotating or oscillating blade. The electric shaver usually does not require the use of shaving cream, soap, or water. The razor may be powered by a small DC motor, which is either powered by batteries or mains electricity. Many modern ones are powered using rechargeable batteries. Alternatively, an electro-mechanical oscillator driven by an AC-energized solenoid may be used. Some very early mechanical shavers had no electric motor and had to be powered by hand, for example by pulling a cord to drive a flywheel.

William D. Coolidge

William David Coolidge was an American physicist and engineer, who made major contributions to X-ray machines. He was the director of the General Electric Research Laboratory and a vice-president of the corporation. He was also famous for the development of "ductile tungsten", which is important for the incandescent light bulb.

Invention of the telephone

speaking into an early model telephone]]

History of electrical engineering

This article details the history of electrical engineering.

Timeline of United States inventions (after 1991)

A timeline of United States inventions encompasses the ingenuity and innovative advancements of the United States within a historical context, dating from the Contemporary era to the present day, which have been achieved by inventors who are either native-born or naturalized citizens of the United States. Patent protection secures a person's right to his or her first-to-invent claim of the original invention in question, highlighted in Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution which gives the following enumerated power to the United States Congress:

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

Timeline of United States inventions (1890–1945) Chronological list of advances

A timeline of United States inventions (1890–1945) encompasses the ingenuity and innovative advancements of the United States within a historical context, dating from the Progressive Era to the end of World War II, which have been achieved by inventors who are either native-born or naturalized citizens of the United States. Copyright protection secures a person's right to his or her first-to-invent claim of the original invention in question, highlighted in Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution which gives the following enumerated power to the United States Congress:

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

Timeline of United States inventions (1946–1991) Inventions by native-born or naturalized citizens of the U.S. dating from 1946-1991

A timeline of United States inventions (1946–1991) encompasses the ingenuity and innovative advancements of the United States within a historical context, dating from the era of the Cold War, which have been achieved by inventors who are either native-born or naturalized citizens of the United States. Copyright protection secures a person's right to his or her first-to-invent claim of the original invention in question, highlighted in Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution which gives the following enumerated power to the United States Congress:

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

Coffeemaker

Coffeemakers or coffee machines are cooking appliances used to brew coffee. While there are many different types of coffeemakers using several different brewing principles, in the most common devices, coffee grounds are placed into a paper or metal filter inside a funnel, which is set over a glass or ceramic coffee pot, a cooking pot in the kettle family. Cold water is poured into a separate chamber, which is then boiled and directed into the funnel. This is also called automatic drip-brew.

Henry E. Warren

Henry Ellis Warren was an American inventor credited with invention of the first synchronous electric clock which kept time from the oscillations of the power grid in 1918 as well as with 134 other inventions. Warren founded Warren Telechron Company in 1912 which later was acquired by General Electric in 1943. Warren was noted as the "father of electric time". Telechron went out of business in 1992. Just between 1916 and 1926 the company sold 20 million clocks. The clocks remained popular into the 1950s. In 1940 he also invented the "singing clock" which instead of a pendulum had a vibrating metal string.

Dawon Kahng

Dawon Kahng was a Korean-American electrical engineer and inventor, known for his work in solid-state electronics. He is best known for inventing the MOSFET, also known as the MOS transistor in 1959. Kahng and Atalla developed both the PMOS and NMOS processes for MOSFET semiconductor device fabrication. The MOSFET is the most widely used type of transistor, and the basic element in most modern electronic equipment.

Benjamin Franklin Miessner was an American radio engineer and inventor. He is most known for his electronic organ, electronic piano, and other musical instruments. He was the inventor of the Cat's whisker detector.