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Today in History: The First U.S. Patent was Issued

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On this day in 1790, the first American patent was issued.

On July 31, 1790, Samuel Hopkins was issued the first-ever U.S. patent for the process of making potash, an ingredient used in fertilizer.  Amazingly, the patent was signed by President George Washington, Attorney General Edmund Randolph, and Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson.

To commemorate the anniversary of the first U.S. patent, here are some fun and interesting patent facts that we can enjoy.

  • No one knows who invented the fire hydrant because the patent was destroyed in a fire.
  • In 1955, Jonas Salk chose not to patent his polio vaccine for the sake of humanity. If he had patented the vaccine, he would have earned approximately $7 billion.
  • Abraham Lincoln had a patent for a device that could be filled with air to allow ships to pass through shoals or shallow water. The device was never used.
  • According to The Guinness Book of World Records, Shunpei Yamazaki of Japan has the most patents in the world with 6,314 in 12 different countries. As Yamazaki’s company is dedicated to inventing patentable technology, this isn’t that surprising.
  • Some of the most ridiculous patents ever issued include a method for swinging on a swing, a face-mask to prevent eating, a gerbil shirt, and an interactive life-size bowl of soup.
  • In the mid-1800s France gave out an important patent in photography as a free gift to the world… except for Britain. France made Britain pay for the patent.

Join us at The Maria Sanchez Show as we celebrate the anniversary of the first U.S. patent. Don’t forget to check out our latest program, Shadow Politics with Senator Michael D. Brown. Tune in on Sundays at 4:00 p.m. PDT/7:00 p.m. EDT.

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