Difference Engine No. 1 (mechanical calculator)

Mathematician Charles Babbage is credited as being one of the forefathers of the computing era. It is said that the use of Jacquard punch cards, chains, and subassemblies, and the logical structure of the modern computer all stem from his early ideas.

Formula Translator

John Backus developed Fortran, or Formula Translator, one of the first general purpose, high-level computer programming languages.

Innovations in Programming Languages and Real-Time Computing

Computer scientist David Bacon makes it his mission to improve the efficiency of computer programming languages.

Bakelite (Plastic)

It's in our homes. It's the most common material in the workplace. Sometimes it's even in our bodies. We may be in the Information Age, but it's hard to believe that we are not living squarely in the Plastic Age.

Magnavox Odyssey

The smashing success of home video games, one of the world’s fastest growing and most popular forms of entertainment, was made possible with the advent of a number of technological developments, such as TV sets, computer technology, and graphic design software.

Plane (tool)

Leondard Bailey was a tool designer in the 19th century. Working on his own and later for Stanley Rule and Level Co. (now Stanley Black & Decker), designed Bailey, Victor, and Defiant bench planes, or tools used to smooth the surface of wood.  His designs became models for most planes made after mid-1800s.

Atlas Powered Ascenders

Think Spider Man’s ability to scale walls quickly looks like a skill that could come in handy in real life? That notion is now a reality with the invention of the Powered Rope Ascender, developed by Nathan Ball and classmates when he was a mechanical engineering student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Bacterial Cement

Sookie Bang invented a process that induces bacteria to create a natural, environmentally friendly cement that can be used to repair faults in rock and concrete from the inside out.

Benjamin Banneker, one of the nation's best-known African American inventors, was born in 1731 in Maryland, which was then a British colony.

Digital Packet Switching

Paul Baran, computer technologist and entrepreneur, was responsible for one of the fundamental concepts that enable today’s advanced computer networking systems: digital packet-switching.

Optic-Flow Sensors

Some of the most profound technological inventions take their inspiration from what is found in nature. Such is the case with the innovative optic-flow sensors developed by engineer and inventor Geoffrey Barrows.

Statue of Liberty

On February 18, 1879, the French sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi (1834-1904) earned US Patent #11,023 for a "Design for a Statue." This statue, "Liberty Enlightening the World," would become one of the most famous monuments of world history.


The deep sea is a mysterious frontier, difficult to reach for exploration and seen by a very small number of scientists who brave the dangers of submerging themselves hundreds, even thousands of feet below the surface.

                                Laserphaco Probe

Dr. Patricia Bath, ophthalmologic surgeon, inventor, and activist for patients’ rights, was born in Harlem, New York in 1942 to Rupert Bath, an educated and well-traveled merchant seaman, and Gladys Bath, a homemaker and housecleaner. They were loving and supportive parents who encouraged their children to focus on education and believe in their dreams and ideas.


As the environmental movement continues to build momentum, many hopeful scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs are striving to serve a growing need and demand for environmentally friendly, sustainable building products.

Wind-up Radio

Many individuals around the world, particularly in third world countries, lack access to electricity, which makes it difficult for government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to pass potentially life-saving information to them in times of crisis or when battling epidemics.

Beach Pneumatic Transit System

Alfred Ely Beach was born on September 1, 1826 in Springfield, Massachusetts.  During his lifetime, he became a prominent figure in the world of invention not only because of his numerous patents and technological advances but also for his involvement in establishing the popular periodical Scientific American, a magazine he purchased with a colleague as a young man in 1846.

The pH meter

Over 60 years ago, Arnold O. Beckman invented the world’s first pH meter, initiating a long and distinguished career as a businessman, philanthropist, and inventor of scientific instruments.


Charles William Beebe, one of the United States' most significant oceanic pioneers, was born July 29, 1877 in Brooklyn, New York.

Magnetic Recording

Magnetic recording technology, introduced in the later part of the 19th century, inspired an entirely new world of electronic communication. German-American inventor Semi Joseph Begun made contributions in this field that sped the development of the broadcasting industry.

Genetically engineers viruses to create new products

Over hundreds of millions of years, microorganisms have become efficient at building practical, durable structures and materials from available elements, working at nanoscale dimensions.

The Telephone

When the word "inventor" is mentioned, Alexander Graham Bell, creator of the telephone, is undoubtedly one of the first names that springs to mind.

Easy-Care Cotton

Over the span of more than fifty years and through more than fifty patents granted, Ruth Rogan Benerito used her broad scientific training to transform the cotton, wood, and paper industries. The most noteworthy benefit for consumers has been easy-care clothing.

Benton Hologram

Stephen A. Benton was the Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and director of the MIT Center of Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS).

The disk gramophone

Emile Berliner (1851-1929) emigrated from Hanover, Germany to Washington, D.C. at the age of 19. He studied at the Cooper Institute (now Cooper Union), worked as an assistant in a chemistry lab, and sold dry goods to support himself.

The World Wide Web

In the complex history of innovation flowing to and from the Internet, one major achievement is uncontested:  Between 1989 and 1991, Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web.

“What I appreciate most about science and research is that, although you don’t aid people on a day-to-day basis as physicians do, you have the potential to impact society as a whole,” says David Berry. In 2005, Berry was named the $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize winner for his innovations in both stroke and cancer treatments.

Hailing from Mt. Kisco, New York, Berry didn’t always know he’d become an inventor. Berry says he was a kid who liked to tinker, build, disassemble, and try to put things back together again.

Bioorthogonal Chemical Reactions

A pioneer inventor in the field of biotechnology, Carolyn Bertozzi is internationally renowned for her research in the biopharmaceutical industry. Bertozzi has more than 225 publications, a prestigious election to the National Academy of Sciences, and is one of the youngest recipients ever of a MacArthur “Genius” Award. She has been recognized by the American Chemical Society, selected for a Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering, and also received the $500K Lemelson-MIT Prize in 2010.


Bessemer Converter

“Man of Steel” Henry Bessemer was born on January 19, 1813 in Charlton, Hertfordshire, England.  The first to develop a process for mass-producing steel inexpensively, this son of an engineer was a prolific and diverse inventor throughout his life.

Synthetic Diamond Processes

Diamond is the hardest known material, natural or manmade, in existence, as well as a lasting and beautiful component of fine jewelry, and extremely valuable for industrial use, especially in drill bits, on cutting wheels, and in other pieces of machinery. Its scarcity and expense make it somewhat impractical for many to use it in this way.


Patricia Billings of Kansas City, Missouri has invented one of the most revolutionary – and potentially profitable – substances in the history of the modern construction industry: a building material that is both indestructible and fireproof.


Young children express their creativity more than anything else with their box of crayons. This has been true for over a hundred years and is largely due to the efforts of one American company.

Babybird Respirator

Forrest Bird, inventor of the first reliable, low-cost, mass-produced medical respirator, was born in Stoughton, Massachusetts in 1921.

Birdseye Frozen Foods

Clarence Birdseye (1886-1956) found a way to flash-freeze foods and deliver them to the public - one of the most important steps forward ever taken in the food industry.

Long Lasting Lipstick

Long-lasting lipstick was one of the first modern cosmetics of its kind, one that took advantage of advances in chemistry and was designed with improved customer experience in mind.

Intelligent Training System

Workplace fires cause billions of dollars in damage each year. Unfortunately, in many cases, much of that damage could be prevented if an individual who happened to discover the flames early enough knew how to properly use a fire extinguisher.

Stair-climbing wheelchair

Most of his over a dozen patented inventions have been in textile machinery, surgical apparatus, or devices that assist the physically challenged.

Nonreflecting Glass

With a master's degree in hand at age 19, Katherine Blodgett (1898-1979) was the first female scientist to be hired by General Electric's Research Laboratory in Schenectady, New York in 1917.

Electronic Feeding Device

She made significant breakthroughs in assistive technologies and forensic science, becoming a role model for women and African Americans for her pioneering work.

Bogdon Reception Stick

Candymaker Walter Bogdon created the delightful novelty confection known as the Bogdon Reception Stick. Born in Krakow, Poland in 1903, he emigrated to the United States with his parents when he was four years old.

Three-Point Safety Belt

In 1939, he completed his BS in mechanical engineering at Harnosand Laroveik. In 1942, he began working for Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget (Saab Aircraft Company) as an aircraft designer.

Condensed Milk

Gail Borden, Jr., creator of the first commercial process of condensing milk, was born in Norwich, New York on November 9, 1801.

Direct / reflecting audio speakers

Amar Bose used his instincts and education to produce stereo speakers that are world-famous for giving high-end performance despite their modest size.

The Modern Athletic Shoe

Rubber-soled shoes were first mass-marketed as canvas top "sneakers" by U.S. Rubber, with its Keds® in 1917.

Cloning of Genetically Engineered Molecules

Herbert Boyer and Stanley Cohen combined their efforts in biotechnology to invent a method of cloning genetically engineered molecules in foreign cells.

Improved Electrical Resistor

African American inventor Otis F. Boykin’s work on improved electrical resistors made possible the steady workings of a variety of now-ubiquitous electronic devices.


If you’re a PC user, you’ve probably used “Control-Alt-Delete.” The well-known keystroke combo can get you out of a tight spot when your machine freezes up, but have you ever stopped to wonder how this technique actually came to be?

Rubber Lug Sole

Mountaineers, hikers, and everyday walkers alike have Turin, Italy, native and inventor Vitale Bramani to thank for creating the world’s first rubber lug sole, a shoe component that has become standard among outdoorsmen worldwide.

Foot Measuring Device

The Brannock Device is the standard foot measuring tool for the world’s footwear industry. But few people are able to call the device by name, much less identify its inventor, Charles Brannock.

Automotive air bags

Allen K. Breed is an inventor, entrepreneur, and pioneer in one of the most significant advances in automotive safety of recent times, the air bag.


Heavy computer users, a group that includes millions of people and growing, know that wrist and hand pain is a common problem that can be incredibly debilitating and may prevent them from being able to do their work.

The antifungal drug Nystatin

One of the most famous tales in the history of American medical science is the long-distance collaboration of Elizabeth Lee Hazen (1885-1975) and Rachel Fuller Brown (1898-1980), who developed and patented a wonder drug of the 20th century: the world's first successful fungus-fighting antibiotic.

The "Idaho" Potato

At the age of 19, he was profoundly impressed by Charles Darwin's treatise "The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication," which opened up a new world to him.

Adding Machine

In the 1870s, he was working as a bank clerk at the Cayuga County National Bank in Auburn, New York where he became interested in solving the problem of creating an adding machine.

Catalytic Cracking

The crude oil upon which we depend for so many types of fuel and other products does not come out of the ground ready for all of its various uses.

The Memex

Vannevar Bush was a headstrong child who showed an early aptitude for math. After graduating high school, he enrolled at Tufts University in Massachusetts to study engineering.


Growing up in Utah in the 1940s, Bushnell had a childhood typical of a budding inventor. His early inspirations included a third grade science project on electricity. His early setbacks included nearly burning down his family’s garage with a homemade liquid-fuel rocket mounted on a roller skate.


After being laid off from his job at an architecture firm in 1931, Alfred Mosher Butts fell on hard times. He was out of work for quite some time when he decided to get creative.