Inventors and Patents From the City of Boston
Inventors and patents from Boston continue to generate a diverse and rich tradition of invention. The Boston area is home to many technical minds that evolved from tinkerers and academic research groups to multi-million dollar conglomerates. Some of the city’s most notable inventors include Jan Matzeliger, who in 1883 patented a machine that revolutionized the shoe industry.
Lemelson invented bar-code labels
Jerome H. Lemelson is a well-known inventor of bar-code labels. In fact, he co-invented the bar code along with Norman Joseph Woodland. However, his obituaries often do not mention Lemelson. The man was able to make more than $500 million from suing companies over the use of bar codes and the development of the Hot Wheels track. Despite the fact that Lemelson is considered a co-inventor, he was the only one to make money from the patents.
Symbol and Cognex, two companies that design machine vision products, have filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Lemelson. In 1998, Lemelson started to send letters to its customers claiming that their products infringed on their patents. In response, both companies filed legal actions against Lemelson, seeking to void the patents and get a declaration that Lemelson invented bar-code labels.
While the invention of the barcode may seem like a one-time event, the history is far more complex. Many groups have claimed the invention of the barcode, as more than one group was responsible for the development of this technology. Barcode technology was already widely used in several industries by the mid-1950s, but it wasn’t until the widespread use of lasers that the system could be commercially viable.
Latimer invented bar-code labels
George Laurer, an inventor of barcodes, was approached by an electronics company and was asked to design a bar code for its products. The company wanted a barcode that was small enough to fit on a package, could be read from any angle, and was easy to reproduce. Laurer decided to use stripes instead of letters and numbers. They were much easier to produce and were a success.
The development of the bar code began in Florida in 1951. Woodland was inspired by Morse code, and made the first barcode by writing the number on a piece of sand. Later, he adapted optical soundtracks from movies to create a simple, linear code. This system works by detecting the reflected light from the barcode and converting it into numbers. Although this system was still experimental, it has since made a great impact on production lines.
This new technology made it possible to monitor and trace products. Originally, these labels were printed on packages of food or other items. In the 1980s, the technology became more widespread, and radio tags became a popular way to track railroad cars. The barcodes were soon adopted as a method of tracking freight and passenger trains. But it took decades before they reached the market, and a barcode system wasn’t feasible for every business.
During the Civil War, Boston was the epicenter for technical innovation and commercial activity. Ingenious young men returning from the war sought new jobs and were drawn to the city. Many found them in the city. One such man was Lewis Latimer, who worked his way up the corporate ladder to become the city’s top patent draftsman. Today, the city is thriving with technology and the invention of new products.
Inventors like Smith are the backbone of the American economy. The United States is the world’s leading innovation economy, and Boston is home to some of the world’s best-known inventors. With the help of the Boston area’s strong innovation culture, the city has become a hub for invention. The city’s rich culture of innovation has led to the invention of thousands of products.
Rines was a trailblazer in invention, education, law, and public policy. He was born in Boston in 1922 and earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from MIT, shortly before the United States entered World War II. While in the Signal Corps, Rines became interested in microwave technology and went on to help develop radar systems. His work is still used today, underpinning the early warning systems of aircraft.
At one of these conferences, Rines met Bill Hayes, a keynote speaker. They married the next year and became the most influential tag team in the independent inventor community. The pair also bought Inventors’ Digest magazine and began crusading for independent inventors’ rights. They spoke at conventions and gave press interviews on the importance of patent reform and became the face of independent inventor rights.
However, the anti-Rines sentiment is still high in some circles. Former ally Beverly Selby said that big companies will abuse new reexamination rules to their advantage. Another former ally of Joanne, John Trudel, called Joanne’s comments “uninformed.”
Many of Lewis Latimer’s contemporaries were from the City of Boston, a city that was an active hub of technological innovation and commercial activity during the Civil War. Young, intelligent, energetic men were returning from the war, and the city was a magnet for these men, who climbed the corporate ladder, rising from office boy to chief patent draftsman. This history of innovation in Boston is a fascinating one.
During the 1860s, the black community in Boston mobilized in support of Latimer’s case. His father, a renowned abolitionist, had forced Latimer to leave the family for the safety of their son. At this time, more than one fifth of Boston’s black population was from the slave states, and immigrants from the South were particularly active.
Latimer’s parents had fled a Virginia plantation six years before he was born. After Latimer was freed, his father, a light-skinned man, posed as the master of Rebecca Latimer. The Virginia plantation owner soon learned of Latimer’s whereabouts. After a series of failed attempts to track him down, the abolitionists hid Rebecca Latimer. After the abolitionists had gathered enough money, Latimer’s freedom was purchased. As a result, he continued to work for the abolitionist movement.
Chauncey Smith, Inventors And Patents From the City of Boston is a historical work that examines the relationship between inventors and the patent system. Smith was born in New York City and obtained his B.S. from the City College of New York. He subsequently earned his M.S. from the University of Michigan. Smith joined 3M in 1951 and retired in 1992 as a corporate scientist. Smith held 30 U.S. patents and received the American Chemical Society’s Creative Invention Award in 1988.
After several years of calling four successive patent commissioners, Smith managed to obtain an appropriation of $300. With this appropriation, Smith was able to have four Patent Office clerks compile a list of women inventors. The list includes the name of the inventor, address, patent title, and issue date. In addition to identifying women inventors, Smith also published an index of their patents.
Chauncey Smith’s firm
DeAnn Smith is a registered US patent attorney and has over 25 years of experience. She has worked with many pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and life sciences companies. She has extensive experience in intellectual property portfolio strategy, patent inventorship disputes, and Section 337 actions before the International Trade Commission. She is currently involved in several patent inventorship disputes in the US, Europe, and Japan.