History of Innovation

What in the World Does That Invention Do?

Quiz: Match these gorgeous 18th- and 19th- century patent models to their purpose.

June 11 2014 8:02 AMThe Bear NecessitiesThe grizzly history of bear pepper sprays.
June 4 2014 9:13 AMTrendy Technologies Never Live Up to the Hype. Until They Do.
May 28 2014 3:03 PMPatent StyleA fashionista’s guide to the history of American intellectual property.
May 20 2014 11:07 AMForget the Dos Equis GuyThis man sued the pope, made a movie with Steven Spielberg, advised Indira Gandhi, and invented the banana slicer.
May 12 2014 10:00 AMScales of JusticeHow a terrible Supreme Court decision about player pianos made the cover song what it is today.
May 7 2014 10:03 AMThe Surprisingly Engrossing History of Patent ExaminersIn the 19th century, they were celebrities!
May 2 2014 12:06 PMThe Poorest Man’s CopyrightDo nothing.
April 22 2014 5:35 PMHow to Tell If You’re DeadThe 19th-century doctor who wanted to create a “death thermometer.”
June 10 2014 11:56 AMFollow Her LeadHow a mysterious woman’s 1908 patent exemplifies the drama of dogs in America.
May 29 2014 8:48 AMAbraham Lincoln’s Steampunk PresidencyThe only commander-in-chief to hold a patent presided over one of the country’s most inventive periods.
May 21 2014 2:28 PMThe Lesson of the Power LoomWhat the Industrial Revolution’s inventors can tell us about open innovation today.
May 19 2014 5:45 AMThomas Edison Was a “Patent Troll”Patent litigation isn’t nearly as new as people think it is.
May 7 2014 11:49 PMIn Pursuit of Knowledge, and ProfitHow universities aid and abet patent trolls.
May 4 2014 11:44 PMIs the Infomercial Dead?The format thrives, but big companies are taking over.
April 24 2014 2:48 PMTaking Rube Goldberg SeriouslyWhat fictional inventions say about American ingenuity.
April 13 2014 9:21 PMJonas Salk: Good at Virology, Bad at EconomicsHe didn’t patent his vaccine, but that doesn’t mean others shouldn’t.