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MINs Local Featured Inventor/Entrepreneur of the Month

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What Does an Inventor Look Like?

An inventor looks a lot like you! This is a word that describes someone who is a ‘regular person’ who has figured out a new way to solve a need or improve an existing product. Inventors come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, all walks of life, all ages, with or without education, and with or without financial means. Dyslexia is a common trait among inventors. Inventors come from all over the world but the United States has had far more inventors than any other country.

Some people stereotype an inventor as a crazy looking old white guy with wild hair, glasses, and a moustache (Einstein?). Others think of the word inventor and think geek, which is fine with me if they just give me the money. But, I think that is pretty funny when you realize that inventors are creative people and some of our society's most creative, hippest, hottest, fashion designers (yachts, buildings, etc.) are in fact creating new things all the time and are inventors, too. Many inventors have been white males, which I think is a reflection of our past society, but this is changing today and now they can be anybody. Because, you see, almost everybody can observe the world around them and have an idea to make it better.

Here are some interesting inventors:

Mary Anderson – invented and patented the windshield wiper in 1903 for streetcars.

George Washington Carver – a black man and former slave invented hundreds of products from peanuts, sweet potatoes, and soybeans. He greatly improved the lives of southern farmers, but you would be hard pressed to find someone who has not benefited from his inventions in some way.

Allen Grant of North Carolina -- invented pantyhose in 1959. As skirts got shorter he saw the need for something to replace stockings held up by garters.

Stephanie Kwolek – invented a polymer fiber five times as strong as the same weight of steel. It is still called Kevlar and was first marketed by DuPont in 1971.

Saul Palder – my personal favorite. Saul was a 78 year old man who saw the need for simple storage containers with the same size lids (I hate looking for the lid!). He invented the Smart Spin Storage System in 2003 and became a millionaire very quickly.

So what does an inventor look like? An inventor looks like anybody, or everybody, but somehow, in some ways, I think an inventor looks a lot like YOU!

-- Orville V. Crain, President



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