To inspire creativity, invention, and intellectual property development in 2007 in your company, here’s a list of patents over the last two centuries.

We’ve compiled the list in date order from data in “Patents: Bubblewrap, Bottlecaps, Barbed Wire, and Other Ingenious Inventions” by Ben Ikenson (Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, New York, 2004). The data has a US bias. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO or PTO) has granted 7 million patents and has about 7,300 employees, including 3,000 patent examiners and 400 trademark examiners.

Our list begins with Eli Whitney’s Cotton Gin (as illustrated). Thomas Jefferson (the principal author of the 1776 Declaration of Independence and member of the patent board wrote a letter to Whitney in 1794 informing him of the patent. The Cotton Gin mechanised the production of cotton fiber and marks a major turning point in the economic history of the Southern United States.

  Application Patent # Year Country Inventor
Cotton Gin72X1794USEli Whitney
Colt RevolverZ94301836USSamuel Colt
Telegraph1,6471840USSamuel F. B. Morse
Vulcanization of Rubber3,6331844USCharles Goodyear
Door Lock3,6301844USLinus Yale
John Deere Plow41,2031864USJohn Deere
Skyscraper Steel49,0511865UKHenry Bessemer
Dynamite78,3171868SwedenAlfred Nobel
Typewriter79,2651868USLatham Sholes & Others
Chewing Gum98,3041869USWilliam F. Semple
Levi Strauss Blue Jeans139,1211873USJacob W. Davis
Pasteurization135,2451873FranceLouis Pasteur
Barbed Wire157,1241874USJoseph F. Glidden
Pigeon Starter159,8461875USHeny A. Rosenthal
Telephone174,4651876USAlexander Graham
Handcuffs200,9501877USJohn J. Tower & others
Phonograph200,5211878USThomas A. Edison
Coal Breaker219,7731879USPhilip Henry Sharp
Statue of Liberty11,0231879FranceAuguste Bartholde
Light Bulb223,8981880USThomas A. Edison
Seat belt312,0851885USEdward J. Claghorn
Roller Coaster310,9661885USLa Marcus A. Thompson
Bicycle59,9151886FrancePierre Lallement
Internal Combustion Engine365,7011887GermanyNikolaus August Otto
Battery373,0641887GermanyCarl Gassner
Calculator388,1661888USWilliam Seward Burroughs
Drinking Straw375,9621888USMarvin C. Stone
Jukebox428,7501890USLouis Glass & William S. Arnold
Ouija Board446,0541891USElijan J. Bond & Others
Bottle Cap468,2261892USWilliam Painter
Zipper504,0381893USWhitcomb L. Judson
Submarine581,2131897USSimon Lake
Zeppelin621,1951899GermanyFerdinand Graf Zeppelin
Lawn Mower624,7491899USJohn Albert Burr
Aspirin644,0771900GermanyFelix Hoffman
Chicken Goggles730,9181903USAndrew Jackson
Radio725,6051903USNikola Tesia
Bra1,115,6741905USMary P. Jacob
Airplane821,3931906USOrville Wright & Wilbur Wright
Air Conditioning808,8971906USWills H. Carrier
Vacuum Cleaner889,8231908USJames M. Spangler
Roller Skates906,2811908USJames Leonard Plimpton
Cellophone981,3981911FranceEdwin Brandenberger
Rocket1,102,6531914USRobert H. Goddard
Flush Toilet1,107,5151914USPhilip Haas
Neon1,125,4761915FranceGeorges Claude
X-Ray Tube1,203,4951916USWilliam D. Coolidge
Cornflakes1,321,7541919USJohn L. Kellogg
Parachute1,332,1431920USKarl O. K. Osterday
Traffic Signal1,475,0241923USGarret A. Morgan
Theremin1,661,0581929RussiaLeon Sergejewitsch Theremin
Basketball1,718,3051929USGeorge L. Pierce
Frozen Food1,773,0791930USClarence Birdseye
Aerosol Can1,800,1561931NorwayErik Rotheim
Polygraph Lie Detector1,788,4341931USLeonard Keeler
Refrigeration1,886,3391932USCharles F. Kettering
Tampon1,926,9001933USEarle C. Hase
Drive-In Movie Theater1,909,5371933USRichard Hollingshead
Helicopter1,994,4881935USIgor I. Sjkorsky
Zippo Lighter2,032,6951936USGergore Gimera & George G. Blaisdell
Vitamins2,049,9881936USRobert R. Williams & others
Television2,139,2961938USVladimir K. Zworykin
Camera1,5821940USAlexaner S. Wolcott
Handle Guide2,377,7451945CanadaEmile Belanger
Penicillin2,442,1411948USAndrew J. Moyer
PEZ Dispenser2,620,0611949AustriaOskar Uxa
Transistor2,502,4881950USWilliam Shockley
Microwave2,459,4291950USPercy L. Spencer
Bar Code2,612,9941952USNorman J. Woodland & Bernard Silver
Fender StratocasterD1690621953USClarence L. Fender
PeachPP151953USLuther Burbank
Nuclear Reactor2,708,6561955USEnrico Fermi & Leo Szilard
Velcro2,717,4371955SwitzerlandGeorge de Mestral
Adhesive Bandage2,823,6721958USPeter Schladermundt & W. H. Dennerlein
Remote Control2,821,9541958USRobert Adler
Etch a Sketch3,053,1131959FranceArthur Grandjean
Bubble Wrap3,142,5991964USMarc A. Chavannes
Respirator3,191,5961965USForrest M. Bird
Astroturf3,332,8281967USJames M. Faria
Smoke Detector3,460,1241969USRandolph J. Smith
Lva Lamp3,570,1561971UKEdward C. Walker
Artificial Heart3,641,5911972SpainWillem J Koltt
Optical Fiber3,569,9151972USDonald B. Keck & Peter C. Schuiz
Automated Teller Machine3,761,6821973USThomas R. Barnes
Kevlar3,819,5871974USStephanie Kwolek
Magnetic Resonance Image3,789,8321974USRaymond V. Damadian
Post-It Notes3,857,7311974USRoger F. Merrill & Others
Snowboard4,165,0911979USDaniel E. Chadwick
Genetic Engineering4,237,2241980USStanley Cohen & Herbert Boyer
Prozac4,314,0811982USBryan B. Molloy
Kitty Litter4,664,0641987USEdward H. Lowe
Laser Eye Surgery4,784,1351988USSamuel E. Blum
Turtle Excluder Device4,739,5741988USNoah J. Saunders
Air Bag5,071,1611991USGeoffrey L. Mahon & Allen Breed
DNA Fingerprinting5,175,0821992UKAlec J. Jeffreys
Chia Pet5,549,5001994USRon Manoah
Reading System for Blind6,199,0422001USRaymond C. Kurzwel
Noric Dilanchian