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Most prolific inventors of all time

  • Most prolific inventors of all time
    1/ Hulton Archive/Getty Images

    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 Instead, the Father of Invention has been superseded by a cohort of contemporary mega-minds in fields ranging from microbiology to computer systems and information technology.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
    2/ Pixabay

    #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
    3/ NASA

    #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
    4/ Steve Jurvetson // Flickr

    #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
    5/ {xHere

    #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
    6/ DRs Kulturarvsprojekt // Wikicommons

    #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
    7/ North Charleston// Wikicommons

    #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
    8/ PxHere

    #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
    9/ Divulgacao Petrobras // Wikicommons

    #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
    10/ Pexels

    #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
    11/ Christopher Michel // Wikicommons

    #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


     

  • #15. John F. O'Connor
    12/ Popular Science

    #15. John F. O'Connor

    U.S. Patents: 949
    Country of origin: USA
    Selected patents: draft gearing, side bearing, draft-rigging and other railway innovations


     

  • #14. George Albert Lyon
    13/ CZmarlin // Wikicommons

    #14. George Albert Lyon

    U.S. Patents: 993
    Country of origin: Canada
    Selected patents: Automobile bumpers, metal tire covers, steel wheel covers, wheel-trim rings


     

  • #13. Donald E. Weder
    14/ PxHere

    #13. Donald E. Weder

    U.S. Patents: 1,000
    Country of origin: USA
    Selected patents: Packaging materials, preformed decorative wrapper, method for making contoured decorative glass, floral stem supports


     

  • #12. Edward K. Y. Jung
    15/ Bando26 // Wikicommons

    #12. Edward K. Y. Jung

    U.S. Patents: 1,013
    Country of origin: USA
    Selected patents: Systems for facial expression enhancement, food attribute indicators, privacy filters, data management systems


     

  • #11. Clarence T. Tegreene
    16/ Wrightmt // Wikimedia Commons

    #11. Clarence T. Tegreene

    U.S. Patents: 1,065
    Country of origin: USA
    Selected patents: Power supply systems, information flow regulation, visual imaging arrays, notification of incoming projectiles


     

  • #10. Thomas Edison
    17/ PxHere

    #10. Thomas Edison

    U.S. Patents: 1,084
    Country of origin: USA
    Selected patents: Incandescent light bulb, phonograph, motion pictures, electrographic vote recorder

     

  • #9. Leonard Forbes
    18/ PxHere

    #9. Leonard Forbes

    U.S. Patents: 1,102
    Country of origin: Canada
    Selected patents: Image sensors, memory cells, transistors, semiconductors


     

  • #8. Paul Lapstun
    19/ Lanty // Flickr

    #8. Paul Lapstun

    U.S. Patents: 1,286
    Country of origin: Australia
    Selected patents: Light field displays, camera systems, data decoding systems, electronic pens


     

  • #7. Gurtej Sandhu
    20/ ObjetivoTV // WIkimedia Commons

    #7. Gurtej Sandhu

    U.S. Patents: 1,292
    Country of origin: India
    Selected patents: Cell structures, photonic isolators, nanoparticle positioning techniques, memory arrays


     

  • #6. Jun Koyama
    21/ PxHere

    #6. Jun Koyama

    U.S. Patents: 1,320
    Country of origin: Japan
    Selected patents: Illumination devices, memory devices, semiconductors, magnetic sensors


     

  • #5. Kangguo Cheng
    22/ Pixnio

    #5. Kangguo Cheng

    U.S. Patents: 1,389
    Country of origin: USA
    Selected patents: User access verification, transistors, resistors, cyber attack prevention


     

  • #4. Roderick A. Hyde
    23/ USPTO

    #4. Roderick A. Hyde

    U.S. Patents: 1,584
    Country of origin: USA
    Selected patents: photonic fence, electro-shock projectile launcher, nuclear fuel, microwave heating, antennas, pasteurization methods


     

  • #3. Lowell L. Wood, Jr.
    24/ Image of Plant Stem via Autoflourescent Imaging by Doc. RNDr. Josef Reischig, CSc. // Wikicommons

    #3. Lowell L. Wood, Jr.

    U.S. Patents: 1,718
    Country of origin: USA
    Selected patents: Biomedical computational systems, sterilization methods, autofluorescent imaging, electrodes


     

  • #2. Kia Silverbrook
    25/ David Clark // Wikicommons

    #2. Kia Silverbrook

    U.S. Patents: 4,745
    Country of origin: Australia
    Selected patents: Inkjet printing mechanisms, image processors, cameras, database-searching methods


     

  • #1. Shunpei Yamazaki
    26/ Pete // Flickr

    #1. Shunpei Yamazaki

    U.S. Patents: 5,101
    Country of origin: Japan
    Selected patents: Semiconductors, memory chips, data processors, display devices


     

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