Back in 1973, the National Inventors Hall of Fame® was founded in partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Throughout 2023, we’ve celebrated our golden anniversary by both reflecting on our history and planning for the future, so we can generate even more inspiration and innovation in our next 50 years.
To appreciate how far we’ve come with the help of our generous supporters, we’re looking back at where we started. In 1973:
- Construction on Chicago’s Sears Tower (now named the Willis Tower) was completed1
- Songs like Jim Croce’s “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown,” Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain,” Stevie Wonder’s “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” and Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock” topped the charts2
- Sports fans across the country celebrated championship teams including the Miami Dolphins, New York Knicks and Oakland A’s3
- The top three TV shows were “All in the Family,” “The Waltons” and “Sanford and Son”4
- The animated classic “Charlotte’s Web” was released5 and “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” premiered on CBS6
- The top baby names were Jennifer and Michael, yet again7
- Kids’ wish lists included toys like Shrinky Dinks® and Walkie Talkie sets8
- Gas cost just 39 cents a gallon9
- The USPTO issued 74,143 utility patents, 4,033 design patents and 132 plant patents10
- The National Inventors Hall of Fame honored our very first Inductee: Thomas Alva Edison11
Inducted for his invention of the electric lamp, Edison has since been joined by more than 600 Inductees!
While so much has changed since 1973, our mission — to recognize inventors, promote creativity, and advance the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship — remains the same.
Investing in Innovation
Reaching 50 years as an organization is a rare achievement. Did you know that only 12% of U.S. companies are more than 25 years old? In fact, the average age of the 500 largest publicly traded companies in America is just 18.
As a nonprofit fueled by supporters committed to inspiring innovation, we could not be more proud or grateful to have reached our 50th anniversary.
In our first five decades, we’ve not only inducted hundreds of world-changing inventors, but we’ve also connected them with the next generation. We’ve developed partnerships with foundations and school districts across the country, and have empowered millions of kids and educators through our one-of-a-kind invention education programs like Camp Invention® and Invention Project®.
The National Inventors Hall of Fame team is grateful to everyone who has contributed to carrying out our mission since 1973. Thank you to every Inductee, every sponsor and donor, every Collegiate Inventors Competition® Finalist, and every educator who has inspired and fueled our work; to everyone who has trusted our programs to make a difference in their children’s lives; and to every young creator who inspires our confidence in the future of innovation. We could not have made it to our 50th anniversary without you.
Help Us Shape the Next 50 Years
Just imagine what we could accomplish together over the next 50 years!
When you make a donation to the National Inventors Hall of Fame, you give meaningful opportunities to the children, educators and emerging inventors who will move our society forward in the coming decades. Whether you provide scholarships for hands-on invention education programs or support other unique opportunities to learn from Hall of Fame Inductees, it all adds up to a brighter, bolder, more innovative future.
Visit our website to make a one-time contribution or provide steady support by selecting a monthly donation.
1 According to willistower.com
2 According to musicoutfitters.com
3 According to wikipedia.org
4 According to classic-tv.com
5 According to imdb.com
6 According to imdb.com
7 According to babycenter.com
8 According to thepinknews.com
9 According to titlemax.com
10 According to uspto.gov
11 According to invent.org