Category Archives: Patents

A Brief Visual History of American Innovations

    In a series of papers studying the history of American innovation, Packalen and Bhattacharya indexed every one-word, two-word, and three-word phrase that appeared in more than 4 million patent texts in the last 175 years. To focus their … Continue reading

Posted in Innovation, Patents | Leave a comment

Edison’s First Movie Projector: A Phonograph for Pictures

Today in 1888, Thomas Edison filed a patent for the first movie projector, the “Optical Phonograph,” which projected images just 1/32-inch across.  Steven Lubar in InfoCulture: “Thomas Edison was thinking about the phonograph when he decided to invent a moving picture machine. … Continue reading

Posted in consumer electronics history, Film, Patents, Recorded sound, This day in information | Leave a comment

First Patent Application for a Rotary Dial Telephone

Today in 1923, Antoine Barnay filed the first patent application for a rotary dial telephone in France. From The Aesthetic: The old phones have an aesthetic that new phones sorely lack. They ring, for one thing, with real bells. All that … Continue reading

Posted in Patents, Telephone | Leave a comment

The Dvorak Keyboard: Network Effect or Market Efficiency?

Today in 1936, U.S. patent No. 2,040,248 was issued to August Dvorak and William Dealey for their keyboard layout design, later to be commonly known as the Dvorak keyboard.  Wikipedia: “A discussion of the Dvorak layout is sometimes used as an … Continue reading

Posted in Business history, Economic Impact, Network Effect, Patents, This day in information | Leave a comment

First Integrated Circuit Patent Application

Today in 1959, Jack Kilby filed a patent application for the Integrated Circuit, titled: “Method of making miniaturized electronic circuit.” Harold Evans in They Made America: “The University of Illinois gave him only average grades in electrical engineering, a disappointment … Continue reading

Posted in Computer history, Patents | Leave a comment

First U.S. “Calculating Machine”

Today in 1850, the first US patent (US No. 7,074) for a push-key operated adding machine is issued to Dubois D. Parmelee of New Paltz, New York. The first commercially successful calculator will be invented forty years later by William Burroughs.

Posted in Computer history, Patents | Leave a comment

Patent for Multiple Telephone Switchboards Granted

Today in 1882,  U.S. Patent No. 252, 576  for a “a new system for multiple [telephone] switchboards” was granted to Leroy B. Firman. For more on telephone switchboards, see here and here and here.

Posted in Automation, Patents, Telephone | Leave a comment