ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Oct. 31, 2017 – 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the United States entering World War I, also referred to as “The Great War” or “The War to End All Wars.” In recognition of this centennial, the National Inventors Hall of Fame® Museum announces a new exhibit — “Visionary Veterans: Honoring Inductees Who Served in World War I.”
The exhibit opens Thursday, Nov. 9 and will run through October 2018. An exhibit unveiling ceremony, which is open to the public, will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Nov. 9.
This new “Visionary Veterans” exhibit honors five World War I veterans and National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees whose innovations have affected our world from the early part of the 20th century until the present day:
Edwin Howard Armstrong, FM Radio (1890-1954; Inducted in 1980)
Armstrong enlisted in the Signal Corps when the United States entered the war. He was appointed captain and stationed in France, where he saw a bombing raid in Paris that spurred him to develop better methods of pinpointing aircraft. As an inventor, his crowning achievement was the creation of FM radio. His inventions were so important that to this day, every radio or television set makes use of one or more of his developments.
Arnold Beckman, pH Meter (1900-2004; Inducted in 1987)
Beckman enlisted in the Marines toward the end of the war, but the armistice was signed before he shipped out from the United States. His signature invention, the pH meter, filled a need for a reliable, complete, ready-made instrument that let scientists focus on their research rather than how to construct tools for the job.
Eugene Houdry, Catalytic Cracking (1892-1962; Inducted in 1990)
Houdry served in the French army as a lieutenant in the tank corps, and in 1917 he was seriously wounded in the battle of Juvincourt while organizing the repair of disabled tanks — winning the Croix de Guerre award for heroism in battle. As an inventor, Houdry discovered a method for cracking low-grade crude oil into high-test gasoline; developed a process for producing synthetic rubber in World War II; and invented the catalytic converter for cleaning automobile exhaust.
Frederick McKinley Jones, Mobile Refrigeration (1893-1961; Inducted in 2007)
Upon America’s entrance into the war, Jones enlisted in the Army along with many other African-American men who wanted to demonstrate their patriotism and equal worth as American citizens. He shipped out to France, where his superiors saw his aptitude for engineering and made him an electrician. Jones’ mobile refrigeration units were vital during World War II to keep blood, food and medications fresh. In 1991, Jones posthumously received the first National Medal of Technology awarded to an African-American.
Alfred Loomis, Long-Range Navigation System (1887-1975; Inducted in 2013)
When America entered the war and Loomis joined the Army, he was quickly made a captain. In January 1918, he arrived at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, where military weapons, technology and tactics were tested before being used on the battlefield. Among his many innovations was LORAN (LOng RAnge Navigation), a radio navigation system for marine and flight navigators to determine a vessel’s location.
“Featured in this exhibit are the inspiring stories of five National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductee Veterans who served in the Allied forces both in the laboratory and on the battlefield,” said NIHF CEO Michael Oister. “The National Inventors Hall of Fame is proud to honor these innovators who have defended this country’s freedom during this significant anniversary year.”
The National Inventors Hall of Fame Museum is located at the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Madison Building in Alexandria, Va. Open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., admission to the museum is free and open to the public. For more information visit invent.org/museum.
About the National Inventors Hall of Fame
The National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) is the premier nonprofit organization in America dedicated to recognizing inventors and invention, promoting creativity, and advancing the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. Founded in 1973 in partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, NIHF is committed to not only honoring the individuals whose inventions have made the world a better place, but to ensuring American ingenuity continues to thrive in the hands of coming generations through its national, hands-on educational programming and collegiate competitions focused on the exploration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The National Inventors Hall of Fame Museum is a Smithsonian Affiliate. For more information, visit invent.org. To nominate an inventor for Induction, visit invent.org/inductees/nominate-inventor.