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Abraham Lincoln
Although just the 16th president of the United States, Lincoln remains till this day the only sitting president to obtain a patent for a device that lifts boats over shoals. Lincoln always displayed a unique passion for mechanical devices. In 1859 Lincoln claimed admiration for patent laws for having “secured to the inventor, for a limited time, the exclusive use of his invention; and thereby added the fuel of interest to the fire of genius, in the discovery and production of new and useful things.” For this reason, we decided to honor his legacy as a president that valued innovation with both inventions and social progress.
Thomas Jefferson
Best known as a president and Founding Father, Jefferson was also a scientist, inventor, and an architect. His most notable inventions (which continue to have an impact today) include the revolving bookstand, dumbwaiter, pedometer, and polygraph. We honor his legacy as a brilliant statesman, politician, thinker, and his most famous contribution, the Declaration of Independence.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin wore many hats throughout his lifetime: an ambassador, author, postmaster, scientist, and most notably, a Founding Father. Despite creating some of the world’s most popular inventions, he never patented a single one, sticking to his principle that ideas should be shared freely. He once said, “That as we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by an invention of ours; and this we should do freely and generously.” We honor his legacy as both an incredible thinker and American hero.
Albert Einstein
As a man whose name is synonymous with ingenuity, Einstein is considered to be one of history’s greatest thinkers. He wasn’t considered an inventor in the practical sense, but his theories regarding space, matter, energy and gravity continue to provide tremendous influence over future inventions. For this reason we honor his legacy as an innovator in the intellectual property space.
Thomas Edison
Often considered the man most responsible for creating the modern world, this Ohio native was a systems thinker and a project manager. He was obsessed with work and creation, best exemplified by his habit of sleeping at the office instead of his home. Many say Edison was the 20th centuries most prolific inventor, having amassed over 1000 U.S. patents during his lifetime, the first of which being issued when he was just 21 years old. We honor his legacy as perhaps the most important inventor in US history.
Marie Curie
Born into an intellectual but impoverished Polish family, Curie went against all odds and climbed to the top of a field that has been historically dominated by men. She is credited for the discovery of both polonium and radium and was later awarded two Nobel Prizes. Plagued with depression throughout her life, we honor her legacy as one of incredible success and resilience in the face of constant adversity.
Nikola Tesla
Called a “madman” by his enemies, and a genius by his friends, he stood out as an enigma to almost anyone who met him. As a complication man, he was, in a way, supernaturally gifted and failingly flamboyant. Tesla discovered, designed and developed many important inventions throughout his career, most notably his contribution to alternating-current electrical systems. We honor this compulsory inventor as one of history’s most innovative forward-thinkers.
Rosalind Franklin
Franklin always loved knowing the facts behind phenomena and therefore decided to become a scientist at the age of 15. She was known among peers as incredibly logical and precise while being rather impatient of things that were otherwise. We honor this meticulous x-ray crystallographer who formed the backbone of eventual DNA discovery as a pioneer in a field that was traditionally dominated by her male counterparts.