On his blog, Thirty Minutes from
Andromeda, my friend Jim Belfiore writes about Michael Jackson. But
Jim’s post points out a side of Michael that goes beyond the iconic King of Pop
image. Did you know Michael Jackson was also an inventor? Check it
out on Jim’s blog.
Of course, there are many celebrity inventors. We come to see people
through the lens of persona and tend to forget that people are often more
complex than what we see from the outside. Here are some of my favorite
examples of people we all know who have also made their mark as inventors.
Gary Burghoff: US Pat No. 5,235,774
Still waters run deep. Many of us remember Gary
as the quiet, wide-eyed “Radar” O’Reilly of MASH. However, Gary
also created a chum dispensing device to attract fish.
Jamie Lee Curtis: US Pat No. 4,753,647
Who knew the daughter of Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh was so clever.
Here she describes an improve diaper with a sealable pouch for clean-up wipes.
Samuel Clemens: US Pat No. 121,992
The iconic American writer and humorist known as Mark Twain patented three
inventions. This patent describes an improved adjustable clothing strap.
Zeppo Marx: US Pat No. 3,473,526
The youngest and perhaps underappreciated of the Marx brothers, Zeppo appeared
in the first five of the Marx brothers’ films before he went his own way as an
agent. However with the patent, we can see Zeppo’s range was quite
broad. This patent describes a device for monitoring cardiac pulse rate.
Paul Winchell: US Pat No. 3,097,366
As a child watching Paul Winchell on television, I had no idea that besides
being a great ventriloquist he was also a prolific inventor. He has loads
of patents to his credit covering a broad array of subject areas. This
one is for an artificial heart.
Abraham Lincoln: US Pat No. 6,469
Abe has always been among my favorite US presidents, but he is also my favorite
celebrity inventor. In this invention, Lincoln
describes a system to add buoyancy to river barges.