After decades of stuffing themselves into seemingly barbaric undergarments, mostly of a corset-like nature, women around the world finally began to get fed up.  In 1913, a New York socialite decided to do something about it. The first modern brassiere was created by Mary Phelps Jacob. She patented her design, and now the brassiere is a standard part of nearly every modern woman’s wardrobe.

Personal Watercraft

A relatively recent but immensely popular addition to summertime leisure activities in the United States is the personal watercraft (PWC). Such vehicles have made it possible for people from all walks of life to enjoy fast-paced recreation on the open water without the encumbrance or expense of a full-sized boat.


Like Silly Putty, the Slinky® was an accidental by-product of World War II research and development that was transformed into a hugely successful children's toy.

Jarvik-7 Artificial Heart

Robert Koffler Jarvik, inventor of the first permanently-implantable artificial heart, was born in Michigan on May 11, 1946. He demonstrated his mechanical aptitude early, having invented such useful devices as a surgical stapler and other medical tools when he was just a teenager.

Helium-Neon Laser

Physicist Ali Javan invented one of the most practical and widely used types of lasers, the gas laser. Created in 1960, his helium-neon laser was the first to provide a continuous beam of light, making it possible to use the technology in fiber optics for telecommunications, medicine, and a variety of other scientific and consumer applications.

Xanthan gum

Listed among the ingredients of countless foods, such as salad dressing, ice cream, canned soup, and condiments, is a mysterious-sounding substance called xanthan gum. This groundbreaking product and a process for producing it in large quantities was discovered in the 1950s by chemist Allene Rosalind Jeanes. It has since become an indispensable thickening and texturizing agent not only for foods but also for a wide range of cosmetic, automotive, and healthcare products.

Patent System

Most of us know Thomas Jefferson as the man who authored the Declaration of Independence, the United States’ first Secretary of State, the third U.S. President, and the founder of the University of Virginia. But Jefferson was also an inventor with many accomplishments, including his great influence in the area of patent law.

Genetic Fingerprints

It may be difficult to imagine a world without the now-indispensable tool known as genetic fingerprinting, which analyzes the unique patterns found in human and animal DNA to determine an individual’s biological identity. But in fact, this scientific breakthrough, also known as DNA fingerprinting, was discovered fairly recently, in 1984, by British scientist Alec John Jeffreys at the University of Leicester, England. It is used around the world today in forensics, paternity testing, and for wildlife classification.

The Sunbeam “Mixmaster”

In the years between the First and Second World Wars, Ivar Jepson designed and built dozens of kitchen appliances, including the indomitable Sunbeam “Mixmaster.”

Apple Computer

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, the duo who began Apple Computer in 1976, are among the most well-known revolutionaries of the computing age. Their invention of the first true personal computer changed people’s ideas of what a computer could look like and what it could do to make their lives easier and their work more efficient. Apple continues to be one of the most popular brands of personal computing devices in the world.

Train Detecting Device

Like many inventors, Charles Johnson started inventing around the time he started grade school.  However, with his high school graduation approaching, he had already produced a portfolio of health and safety inventions that few young inventors can match.

The SuperSoaker®

For years, Lonnie G. Johnson has been inventing thermodynamics systems for NASA and other organizations, but he won his greatest fame for re-inventing the squirt gun.

Random Access Memory (RAM)

Reynold Johnson was born in 1906 in Minnesota. He attended the University of Minnesota, achieving his BS in education administration in 1929. He then began teaching science and math at a local high school.

Refrigeration Technology

Frederick McKinley Jones (1893-1961) applied the mechanical experience that he gained at work and at war to revolutionize two industries: cinema and refrigeration.

Conformal antenna systems

In a career spanning over forty years, Howard S. Jones, Jr. has become one of our nation's most respected inventors and mentors in advanced antenna systems.

Permanent Wave Machine

A revolution in the beauty industry occurred during the early 1920s when a group of female African American inventors developed products and processes with black women’s particular needs in mind. The aim was to help them to feel good about their looks and begin to improve their societal status in the United States and around the world.

The Zipper

Most of the fastening devices used in clothing today, like the shoelace, the button, and the safety pin, have existed in some form in various cultures for thousands of years. But the zipper was the brainchild of one American inventor, namely, Whitcomb Judson of Chicago.

Synthesis of Cortisone

Born in Montgomery, Alabama in 1899, Percy Lavon Julian, the grandson of a former slave, overcame a lifetime of discrimination by becoming an internationally acclaimed inventor of synthetic (man-made) medicines.