Inventors and Patents From the City of Dearborn
The Ford Motor Company filed a patent application on Feb. 2, 2018, and it was approved on Aug. 9, 2022. Although patents are required for inventions, they are not a guarantee of success. According to Dennis Crouch, co-director of the Center for Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship, roughly 50 percent of patents expire after their term expires due to costs. However, the city of Dearborn is proud of its history of inventions and inventors.
In a recent article for the National Post, I discussed Ford’s history. Ford was a committed anti-Semite. In fact, he supported the weekly Dearborn Independent, which published anti-Semitic pamphlets. In 1921, he published “The International Jew: The World’s Foremost Problem.” In 1938, he was awarded the Grand Cross of the German Eagle.
In addition to exhibiting his newest inventions, the museum also displays items that were common in the neighborhood before Ford came to town. Ford’s boyhood home stood in the way of development and was about to be torn down. However, he saw an opportunity to preserve the building and build a museum around it. He planned for two parts of the museum: an indoor exhibit hall that displays inventions and commercial architecture. Visitors can also view real life uses of the objects.
In 1891, Ford became an engineer at the Edison Illuminating Company and later became the chief engineer. While working for the Detroit Edison Company, Ford conducted personal experiments on gasoline engines and automobile engines. In 1896, he finished building a self-propelled vehicle, which he called a “quadricycle.” He test-drove the Quadricycle on June 4, 1896. He brainstormed ways to improve it. In 1894, he became a Freemason. He joined the Palestine Lodge #357 in Detroit and became a member of the Dearborn-based Freemasons.
In addition to Henry Ford, the city of Dearborn is home to several other notable inventors. Charles F. Kettering, head of General Motors’ research division, was a popular inventor. His father was willing to let him leave the farm to pursue a white-collar job. The museum is named after him and is dedicated to his memory and legacy. It is a perfect place to honor the man who made the automobile.
As a young man, George Carruthers built his first telescope. He later went on to earn his Ph.D. in aeronautical engineering from the University of Illinois. In 1964, he was hired by the U.S. Navy Research Laboratory. While there, he helped develop an ultraviolet camera/spectrograph that was used on the Apollo 16 mission to the moon. His inventions are still used today.
While in high school, Carruthers was one of the few African-Americans participating in science fairs. He won three awards, including first place for his telescope design. He went on to graduate from Chicago’s Englewood High School in 1957 and enrolled in the University of Illinois’ engineering program. He eventually won the National Medal for Technology and Invention from President Obama.
While teaching, Carruthers also combined his love of science with his teaching career. He is currently a professor of Earth and Space Science at Howard University, and teaches a course sponsored by NASA. In addition, he is a Distinguished Lecturer at the Office of Naval Research. He is also a member of the American Astronomical Society, American Geophysical Union, and American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Additionally, he was elected to the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2003.
In 1969, Carruthers was awarded a patent for a device that detects electromagnetic radiation in the short wavelengths. This instrument was used by NASA during the Apollo 16 mission and was the first to observe molecular hydrogen in space. This device helped to monitor levels of pollution in the Earth’s atmosphere. In the 1970s, this invention proved invaluable, as it helped to make the Moon accessible to humans.
Garrett Morgan was one of the early automobile enthusiasts in the United States, and he was interested in creating new things for the convenience of people. His invention, the traffic signal, was an improvement on stop signs that controlled traffic on congested city streets. In 1923, Morgan sold the patent rights for his traffic signal to General Electric for $4000, which developed an electric version of it.
In 1896, Morgan married Madge Nelson and divorced her two years later. He later married Mary Hasek. They had three sons. Unfortunately, Morgan developed glaucoma in his later years, and he lost most of his sight. He died in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 27, 1963. His death came during the centennial celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation, which is an important anniversary in American history. Morgan was honored as a pioneering citizen at the celebration, and he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
Aside from his inventions, Morgan also invented a breathing apparatus. This breathing apparatus helped firefighters protect themselves from harmful particulate materials. This invention was also patented, and it was used in a 1916 tunnel explosion, where Garrett Morgan and his brother Frank rescued five men trapped beneath a collapsed tunnel. Their work was acknowledged nationally when they used the safety hood to rescue a dozen miners in a tunnel.
Morgan, who died at the age of forty-four, was also a pioneer in the African American community. He was a member of the newly-formed National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and was active in the Cleveland Association of Colored Men. He also made donations to black colleges and opened an all-Black country club. He was also an active owner of the Cleveland Call newspaper, which eventually became the Call and Post.
Thomas Edison, Inventors and Patented from the City of Dearborn is a wonderful resource for anyone interested in the history of technology. Born in 1847, Thomas was a whiz kid who showed entrepreneurial spirit early on. As a teenager, he was a newsboy and concessionaire on the Grand Trunk Railroad, selling newspapers at train stations and buying produce from farmers along the way. Later, he was involved in developing a method of sending two messages across one wire.
While at the Menlo Park industrial research lab, Edison became friends with Henry Ford, Luther Burbank, Harvey Firestone, and others. In 1916, he began annual camping trips with them. Ford was a special Edison admirer, and recreated his Menlo Park lab in his museum in Dearborn, now the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village. In 1929, he reenacted one of his light bulb experiments at the museum.
Edison’s love affair with Mary Stilwell inspired him to create a machine that could communicate with the spirit world. As a skeptic, Thomas Edison described the machine as a measuring device for the “life units” that scatter after death. The idea was an important breakthrough for telegraphing, and his machine shop in Dearborn became a hub for scientific research.
During his childhood, Thomas Edison studied various subjects. He became particularly interested in chemistry. His parents gave him a book called “School of Natural Philosophy.” He began studying it at home and carried out his first experiments in it. At age twelve, he began to work, selling candy to fund his experiments. He later sold his candy on the Grand Trunk Railway line, which ran daily between Port Huron and Detroit. Thomas Edison also read in the public library in Dearborn. At times, he set up his own laboratory on the train.
Marie Van Brittan Brown
One of the first closed-circuit television systems was created by Marie Van Brittan Brown. Born in Queens, New York, she worked as a nurse for many years before launching her invention in the late 1960s. Her husband, an electronics technician, also helped her with her new invention. The couple’s fear of the high crime rate in Queens was the catalyst for Marie’s inspiration to create her own closed-circuit television security system.
The invention came about when Brown, a nurse from Queens, became concerned with the crime rate in her neighborhood. Her husband, an electronics technician, was also an inventor and helped her develop the system. Albert Brown and Marie Van Brittan Brown then patented their invention in 1969. Their system has been a part of security in homes since then. Her invention is still relevant today. It is now used in offices, apartment complexes, and banks.
Her invention was a doorbell camera that allows homeowners to see who is at their door. This was a first for the home security industry and allowed her to stay safe while traveling. A doorbell camera also allows you to speak to the person outside through the system. The system is easy to install and allows a homeowner to unlock the door remotely without opening the door.
Another early invention, closed-circuit television, was developed in the 1940s for military use. However, it wasn’t widely used until the 1960s. During this time, Browns proposed using the technology to create a modern home security system. A patent was granted three years later. While she did not make a living from her invention, she was still able to make an impact on the world.
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