"Everything that can be invented has been invented." proclaimed Charles Duell, Director of the U.S. Patent Office, arguing in 1899 for the closure of his department. It seems he was wrong. The U.S. Patent Office is still busy. And the Web is full of inventions, inventors and advice on inventing.
The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation is part of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. Jumpstart your exploration by clicking on CenterPieces, a collection of interactive study units, such as The Quartz Watch, The Electric Guitar, and Whole Cloth ("Discovering Science and Technology through American Textile History.") Teachers will appreciate the classroom curriculum found under Short Cuts, and everyone will like the Windows and Macintosh screensaver that features toys invented by Jerome Lemelson.
Invention Dimension is another program funded by the Lemelson Foundation; this one administered by MIT's Department of Engineering. Each week a different invention and inventor is profiled. Archives can be browsed alphabetically by inventor or by category of invention. In the eleven-chapter Inventor's Handbook, aspiring inventors will find answers to many of their questions. "Is my idea patentable?" "How do I license my invention?" And last, but never least, visit the Games and Trivia section for fun quizzes that test your knowledge of inventors that have shaped our modern world.
"Where kids learn to invent and invent to learn." Enter through the kids', parents' or educators' portal to find cool invention activities, and guidance on how to use them. Kids will be delighted by the interactive invention workbook where they can record all aspects of their ideas and be guided along the way by Dr. Ed, author and inventor. A free membership is needed in order to save your work from one session to another. Teachers and parents will love the science curriculum and ideas on encouraging creative thinking.
From the inventor of the high-frequency alternator (Ernst Alexanderson) to the inventor of the cathode-ray tube (Vladimir Zworykin), this Web site lists all inductees into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in alphabetical order. Each inventor's page lists major accomplishments and life highlights. Some pages include audio clips. An alphabetical index of inventions is also available. The Hall of Fame was established in 1973 by the National Council of Patent Law Associations, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. New inductees are added each year at a celebration that corresponds with Thomas Edison's birthday.