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Most prolific inventors of all time

  • Most prolific inventors of all time

    As famously stated in Plato’s Republic: “Necessity is the mother of invention.” This ‘necessity’ to which he is speaking manifests itself in our lives in varying degrees of regularity. For many of us, our day-to-day needs and desires have been experienced so many thousands of times that innumerable individuals throughout history have thought up unique methods of addressing them. However, as we become more deeply entrenched in the technologically-driven age, new problems arise every single day, each one demanding a creative, meticulously-designed solution.

    Thomas Edison’s name has become so culturally synonymous with the concept of invention that it may surprise you to learn that he is not the most prolific inventor of all time; as it turns out, he just barely cracks the top ten. Instead, the Father of Invention has been superseded by a cohort of contemporary mega-minds in fields ranging from microbiology to computer systems and information technology.

    Stacker referenced data from the United States Patent and Trademark Office in order to compose a list of the 25 most prolific inventors ever, sorted according to the number of registered U.S. utility patents held. As our world becomes ever more digitized and new innovative opportunities perpetually arise, this list is subject to change in the future.

  • #25. Warren Farnworth

    U.S. Patents: 772
    Country of origin: USA
    Selected patents: Semiconductor testing devices, microelectronic imaging units, device for reducing information exchange, modular sockets


  • #24. Jordin T. Kare

    U.S. Patents: 783
    Country of origin: USA
    Selected patents: Laser-powered unmanned aircraft operators, pasteurization systems, antenna systems, accident documentation device


  • #23. Nathan Myhrvold

    U.S. Patents: 791
    Country of origin: USA
    Selected patents: Gas transport vessels, photonic fences, wireless sensor packages, dry steam ovens


  • #22. Ahmadreza Rofougaran

    U.S. Patents: 832
    Country of origin: USA
    Selected patents: Wireless receivers, phased array antenna panels, wireless signals transceivers, axial radios


  • #21. Rick Allen Hamilton II

    U.S. Patents: 874
    Country of origin: USA
    Selected patents: Cost-determining mechanisms, virtual inventory managing systems, video recorders, message request router


  • #20. Michael J. Sullivan

    U.S. Patents: 880
    Country of origin: USA
    Selected patents: Golf balls, tooth-whitening agents, electric motors, thermoplastic dual core


  • #19. Francis H. Richards

    U.S. Patents: 894
    Country of origin: USA
    Selected patents: Envelope printing machines, door-opening mechanisms, weighing machines, sewing mechanisms


  • #18. Melvin De Groote

    U.S. Patents: 925
    Country of origin: USA
    Selected patents: Demulsifiers, oil well output enhancers, process for breaking petroleum emulsions, water-soluble esters


  • #17. Shou-Shan Fan

    U.S. Patents: 933
    Country of origin: China
    Selected patents: Carbon nanotube arrays, light filaments, field emission devices, optical polarized light source


  • #16. Jay S. Walker

    U.S. Patents: 943
    Country of origin: USA
    Selected patents: Gaming systems, apparatus for displaying gaming content, bonus round play apparatus, game outcome algorithms


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