In celebration of American ingenuity, on January 13, 1983, President Ronald Reagan decided to designate February 11 as National Inventors’ Day. As the “silent giants” behind countless advances, inventors are responsible for improving the lives of people everywhere.
In Proclamation 5013, the directive establishing National Inventors’ Day, President Reagan speaks to the importance of U.S. inventors and commends them for transforming the United States “from an importer of technology to a world leader in technological innovation.” This transition began in 1790 when Samuel Hopkins was awarded the first U.S. patent for a method of making potash, an ingredient used in fertilizer. Since that time, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued over 10 million U.S. patents, ensuring that the United States continues incentivizing innovation.
The Imaginative Light of Thomas Edison
By design, National Inventors’ Day coincides with National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) Inductee Thomas Edison’s birthday. As one of the most famous American inventors in history, Edison earned over a thousand patents during his lifetime. Some of the most influential of his inventions include the incandescent electric lamp, the phonograph, the carbon transmitter and the motion picture projector.
In 1876, Edison built the world’s first industrial research laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey, where he devoted himself to inventing. In this facility, he promised to produce a minor invention every 10 days and a “big trick” every six months. His successful inventive output led to the construction of the Edison Laboratory in West Orange, New Jersey. This facility was 10 times larger than his previous space, and he surrounded it with factories employing 5,000 employees.
Celebrate Innovation All Year Round
NIHF’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education programs champion our Inductees by including their lessons and stories throughout our programming. Because of this, participants are able to identify with world-changing innovators and realize what they too can achieve.
Additionally, our team of education experts frequently publishes STEM activities to help inspire and engage the next generation.
For parents and educators interested in learning more about all our STEM programs, we encourage you to visit our website.