Every American knows that Thomas Alva Edison's most famous invention was the light bulb, but who invented the pregnancy test? How was the airbag invented? How was the first computer patented? Stephen van Dulken examines the way inventions and patents such as these have helped to create the "American Dream."
Between 1911 and 1999, the number of registered U.S. patents rose from 1 million to 6 million. Showcasing dozens of those original patent drawings from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, American Inventions shows how trends in the history of the United States are reflected in the patent records. For example, the invention of the Frisbee dates back to 1920 when a Yale University student recalled throwing around the pie tins of the nearby Frisbie Baking Company, but it was not until 1948 that Fred Morrison and Warren Francioni capitalized on Americans' new-found fascination with flying saucers by applying for a patent on a plastic flying disk.
Van Dulken surveys the inventions and patents of the workplace, the home, the kitchen, the open road, and the beauty parlor, to name a few, to find the compelling stories and eureka moments in American history. From bobby pins to in-line skates, from the jukebox to the fax machine, American Inventions is a captivating catalog of the famous and not-so-famous contraptions that have shaped the American way of life.
"An amazing showcase...An extremely well-researched and fascinating tour of American thrift and ingenuity throughout the twentieth century." -The Midwest Book Review "This well-illustrated, in-depth study will not only reward and amuse readers but will leave them with much insight into the economic and society-shaping outcomes of the American genius for invention." -Foreword Magazine "Makes an excellent readable reference work." -New Scientist "Illustrated with diagrams from actual patent applications and organized into chapters on everything from babies, food, and wellness to entertainment, driving, and fashion, the book lives up to the author's promise." -Boston Globe "A collection of little-known facts." -Star Tribune - State Ed.