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Most prolific inventors of all time

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 Instead, the Father of Invention has been superseded by a cohort of contemporary mega-minds in fields ranging from microbiology to computer systems and information technology.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

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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


 

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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

 

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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


 

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{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


 

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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


 

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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


 

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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


 

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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


 

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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


 

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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


 

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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


 

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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


 

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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


 

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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


 

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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


 

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PxHere

#10. Thomas Edison

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

 

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PxHere

#9. Leonard Forbes

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


 

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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


 

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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


 

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PxHere

#6. Jun Koyama

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


 

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Pixnio

#5. Kangguo Cheng

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


 

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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


 

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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


 

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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


 

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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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