Inventions, Inventing & Inventors Quotes

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Quote Author Cited
The best way to predict the future is to invent it. Alan Kay
I had an immense advantage over many others dealing with the problem inasmuch as I had no fixed ideas derived from long-established practice to control and bias my mind, and did not suffer from the general belief that whatever is, is right. Henry Bessemer
The three great elements of modern civilization, Gun powder, Printing, and the Protestant religion. Thomas Carlyle
A mere forty years ago, beach volleyball was just beginning. No bureaucrat would have invented it, and that's what freedom is all about. Newt Gingrich
There is no great invention, from fire to flying, which has not been hailed as an insult to some god. John Burdon Sanderson Haldane
History has repeatedly shown that when a new method or material becomes available, new uses for it arise. Wilson Greatbatch
Invention is the mother of necessity. Thorstein Veblen
I am proud of the fact that I never invented weapons to kill. Thomas A. Edison
Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's useless. Thomas A. Edison
Mind is the great lever of all things; human thought is the process by which human ends are ultimately answered. Daniel Webster
I declined it. As we enjoy great advantage from the invention of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours, and this we should do freely and generously. Benjamin Franklin
There are many men now living who were in the habit of using the age-old expression: 'It is as impossible as flying.' The discoveries in physical science, the triumphs in invention, attest the value of the process of trial and error. In large measure, these advances have been due to experimentation. Louis D. Brandeis
Invent for Victory : all Americans who have an invention or an idea which might be useful to their country are urged to sent it immediately to : National Inventors Council Department of Commerce-Washington, D.C. Elmo White
America started out as an invention society. Evan Schwartz
Whoever imagines that, because so many inventions and so many improvements in machinery have been made, there remains little else to be discovered, has but a feeble conception of the infinitude and vastness of mechanical powers, or of the unlimited reach of science. Much has been discovered, infinitely more remains unrevealed. The ingenuity of man is exploring a reign without limits, and delving in a mine whose treasures are exhaustless. John Ruggles
We can go into no mechanic shop, into no manufactory of any description, upon no farm or plantation, or travel a mile on our railroads or in our steamboats, without seeing evidence of our originality and witnessing the fruits of our ingenuity and enterprise. John Ruggles
Good morning. How do you do? How do you like the talking box? Thomas A. Edison
Please address me correctly as Mrs. Nancy Johnson
Eilmer ... was a man learned for those times ..., and in his youth had hazarded a deed of remarkable boldness. He had by some means, I scarcely know what, fastened wings to his hands and feet so that, mistaking fable for truth, he might fly like Daedalus, and, collecting the breeze on the summit of a tower, he flew for more than the distance of a furlong. But, agitated by the violence of the wind and the swirling of air, as well as by awareness of his rashness, he fell, broke his legs, and was lame ever after. He himself used to say that the cause of his failure was forgetting to put a tail on the back part. William of Malmesbury
Men actually flew 1000 years ago…. An important thing about Eilmer's and Ibn Firnas's inventions of the glider is that both occurred in intellectual environments that fostered invention. Ibn Firnas lived during the Golden Age of Islamic art and science, and Eilmer belonged to the Benedictine order, which saw God Himself as a master craftsman. John H. Lienhard
Technologies are never neutral, and some are hurtful. Kirkpatrick Sale
Merlyn of the Mills Anonymous
Patents should be for technological innovations. So a program for a new machine tool should be patentable but a non-technological innovation, such as grammar-checking software for a word-processor, should not be. Patricia Hewitt
support … continued widespread innovation by resisting the wider application of patents Liberal Democratic Party of Great Britain
Patents have not been a positive force in stimulating innovation at Cisco. Competition has been the motivator; bringing new products to market in a timely manner is critical. Everything we have done to create new products would have been done even if we could not obtain patents Robert Barr
One of the objections most frequently urged against machinery is, that it has a tendency to supersede much of the handlabour which was previously employed; and in fact unless a machine diminished the labour necessary to make an article, it could never come into use. Charles Babbage
The right of the inventor to his discovery, the right of the poet to his inspiration, depends upon those principles of eternal justice, which God has implanted in the heart of man. Judah P. Benjamin
America did not invent human rights. In a very real sense it’s the other way around. Human rights invented America. Jimmy Carter
The idea that only a limited number of people can live in a country is profound illusion. It all depends on their cooperative and inventive power. Winston Churchill
The inventors of things useful and profitable to man's well-being were as a reward of their deserts thus honored by all men with everlasting remembrance. Diodorus Siculus
Histories of the world omitted China; if a Chinaman invented compass or movable type or gunpowder we promptly "forgot it" and named their European inventors. W. E. B. Du Bois
Everything that can be invented has been invented. Charles H. Duell
I hadn’t thought of that. Albert Einstein
Invention breeds invention. Ralph Waldo Emerson
Any mechanical invention whatsoever has been more harmful to humanity than a century of war. Remy de Gourmont
Necessity is the mother of invention. Richard Franck
The inventions of a nation are closely connected with the freedom of its people … Inventors must not only possess full freedom to exercise their powers, but there must also be a certain welcome and protection to their ideas. Deprived, as woman is, of political power, she has to face contempt of her sex, open and covert scorn of womanhood, deprecatory allusions to her intellectual powers,—all tending to hamper the expression of her inventive genius. Matilda Joslyn Gage
It is the customary fate of new truths to begin as heresies and end in superstitions. Thomas Huxley
Dictators have only become impossible through the invention of the microphone. Sir Thomas Inskip
I am not afraid of new inventions. Thomas Jefferson
All our inventions have endowed material forces with intellectual life, and degraded human life into a material force. Karl Marx
One calls humans, who see only the good side of a new invention, technicians. Werner Mitsch
A great hullabaloo is being made in Germany over the people’s car – seven million are to be built and almost ever family will have its own little car. Galeazzo Ciano
I haven't failed, I've found 10,000 ways that don't work. Thomas A. Edison
Thousands of capitalist have been enriched by inventions and discoveries of which they were not the authors, and capital, by robbing the inventor of his just reward, is guilty of stifling genius. Thomas Hodgskin
Every man must admit that by means of instruments and machines the labourer can execute tasks he could not possibly perform without them; that he can perform a greater quantity of work in a given time, and that he can perform the work with greater nicety and accuracy than he could possibly do had he no instruments and machines. Thomas Hodgskin
The quantity of industry therefore not only increases in every country with the increase of the stock or capital which sets it in motion; but, in consequence of this increase, the division of labour becomes extended, new and more powerful implements and machines are invented, and the same quantity of labour is thus made to produce an infinitely greater quantity of commodities. John Ramsay Mculloch
The telegraph would bind man to his fellow-man in such bonds of amity as to put an end to war. Samuel Morse
Those blessed ages were fortunate which wanted the dreadful fury of the devilish and murdering pieces of ordnance, to whose inventor I am verily persuaded that they render in hell an eternal reward for his diabolical invention, by which he hath given power to an infamous, base, vile, and dastardly arm to bereave the most valorous knight. Miguel de Cervantes
The important thing about Edison is that he realized that failure was an opportunity to learn…. Unless you fail, you can’t learn. Harold Evans
At the present time, when railways, the telegraph, the telephone, to say nothing of other inventions and improvements of importance, have simplified communication between all lands and nations to the last degree, there is scarcely any reason to fear either distance or the estrangement of the several parts of a single whole. Practically distance is almost nonexistent. What to our ancestors appeared simply near at hand now seems to lie immediately before our eyes Pavel Ukhtomskii
Creativity and innovation always builds on the past. The past always tries to control the creativity that builds upon it. Free societies enable the future by limiting this power of the past. Ours is less and less a free society. Lawrence Lessig
There are always giants out there trying to strangle the innovator and steal his innovation. Harold Evans
Strive for perfection … Take the best that exists and make it better. When it does not exist, design it. Henry Royce
There were the hawks and doves which we have everywhere else, a phrase which I unfortunately invented. I didn't invent it: I popularized it. Stewart Alsop
The emergence of modern science as a major new frontier of advancement that would lead, on one hand, to the discovery of new secrets of the universe, the invention of means to harness those secrets and the powers they represented, and the means to improve human health and allow humans to survive to both undertake that work and to enjoy its fruits. Daniel J. Elazar
Individuals who break through by inventing a new paradigm are almost always...either very young or very new to the field whose paradigm they change....These are the men who, being little committed by prior practice to the traditional rules of normal science, are particularly likely to see that those rules no longer define a playable game and to conceive another set that can replace them. Thomas Kuhn
The work of Aryan peoples shows a true creative spirit. The Jew is mostly a merchant, as he was for millennia in the past. There are no Jewish construction workers in Germany, no smiths, no Jewish miners or seamen. Nearly all major inventions were made by Aryans. The goal of the Jew is to make himself the ruler of humanity. Wherever he comes, he destroys works of culture. He is not a creative spirit, rather a destructive spirit. Germany
Technological innovation is so miserable in the Middle East that, if you exclude Israel, the number of patents filed is less than one fifth the number from sub-Saharan Africa. Ghassan Salame
It is the fight for national existence which sets culture moving and opens to it the doors of creation. Later on it is the nation which will ensure the conditions and framework necessary to culture Frantz Fanon
Some are even so absurd as to suppose, that the stock of original ideas is exhausted. DeWitt Clinton
The key to economic prosperity is the organized creation of dissatisfaction Charles Kettering
The Knowledge of Nature tends to enlarge the human Mind, and give us more noble, more grand, and exalted Ideas of the Author of Nature, and if well pursu'd, seldom fails producing something useful to Man. Ebenezer Kinnersley
So give me the political economist, the sanitary reformer, the engineer; and take your saints and virgins, relics and miracles. The spinning-jenny and the railroad, Cunard's liners and the electric telegraph, are to me, if not to you, signs that we are, on some points at least, in harmony with the universe; that there is a mighty spirit working among us, who cannot be your anarchic and destroying Devil, and therefore may be the Ordering and Creating God. Charles Kingsley
If you sense a deep human need, then you go back to all the basic science. If there is some missing, then you try to do more basic science and applied science until you get it. Edwin Land
In America, innovation does not just improve our lives. It is the way we make our living. Barack Obama
I am not afraid of new inventions or improvements, nor bigoted to the practices of our forefathers. It is that bigotry which keeps the Indians in a state of barbarism in the midst of the arts and would have kept us in the same state even now Thomas Jefferson
Of the present state we may justly say, that no nation under heaven ever struck out in so short a time, and with so much spirit and reputation, into the labyrinth of art and science; and that, not in the acquisition of knowledge only, but in the happy advantages flowing from it. The world does not at this day exhibit a parallel, neither can history produce its equal. Thomas Paine
People who have a new idea often just stop having an old idea. Edwin Land
Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property. Society may give an exclusive right to the profits arising from them, as an encouragement to men to pursue ideas which may produce utility, but this may or may not be done, according to the will and convenience of the society, without claim or complaint from any body. Thomas Jefferson
... no one possesses the less because everyone possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me receives it without lessening me, as he who lights his candle at mine receives light without darkening me. Thomas Jefferson
Technology is often not a prime mover but a second-order consequence of food surpluses, urbanization, secularism, political stability ... and other conditions that create a fertile climate for innovation. Max Boot
In the past, scientists could disclaim direct responsibility for the use to which mankind had put their disinterested discoveries. We cannot take the same attitude now because the success which we have achieved in the development of nuclear power is fraught with infinitely greater dangers than were all the inventions of the past. James Frank
You are always too late with a development if you are so slow that people demand it before you yourself recognize it. Charles Kettering
Inventors and geniuses have almost always been looked on as no better than fools at the beginning of their career, and very frequently at the end of it also. Fyodor Dostoevsky
The starting point is a passionate anger at something that does not work very well. James Dyson
Make taxes as low as possible so entrepreneurs have incentive to work hard and be creative. The human mind is the secret to economic growth. Benjamin Netanyahu
The Book of the science of Mechanics must precede the Book of useful inventions. Leonardo da Vinci
Nothing can astound an American. It has often been asserted that the word "impossible" is not a French one. People have evidently been deceived by the dictionary. In America, all is easy, all is simple; and as for mechanical difficulties, they are overcome before they arise. Between Barbicane's proposition and its realization no true Yankee would have allowed even the semblance of a difficulty to be possible. A thing with them is no sooner said than done. Jules Verne
A society made up of individuals who were all capable of original thought would probably be unendurable. The pressure of ideas would simply drive it frantic. H. L. Mencken
Shall an invention be patented or donated to the public freely? I have known some well-meaning scientific men ... to look askance at the patenting of inventions, as if it were a rather selfish and ungracious act, essentially unworthy. The answer is very simple. Publish an invention freely, and it will almost surely die from lack of interest in its development. It will not be developed and the world will not be benefited. Patent it, and if valuable, it will be taken up and developed into a business. Elihu Thomson
Humanity is not yet sufficiently advanced to be willingly led by the discoverer's keen searching sense. But who knows? Perhaps it is better in this present world of ours that a revolutionary idea or invention instead of being helped and patted, be hampered and ill-treated in its adolescence — by want of means, by selfish interest, pedantry, stupidity and ignorance; that it be attacked and stifled; that it pass through bitter trials and tribulations, through the heartless strife of commercial existence. So do we get our light. So all that was great in the past was ridiculed, condemned, combated, suppressed — only to emerge all the more powerfully, all the more triumphantly from the struggle. Nikola Tesla
An inventor is simply a person who doesn't take his education too seriously. He tries and fails maybe a 1000 times. If he succeeds once, then he's in. Charles Kettering
... things that people learn purely out of curiosity can have a revolutionary effect on human affairs. Frederick Seitz
This is the patent-age of new inventions For killing bodies, and for saving souls, All propagated with the best intentions; Lord George Gordon
In the world's history certain inventions and discoveries occurred of peculiar value, on account of their great efficiency in facilitating all other inventions and discoveries. Of these were the art of writing and of printing, the discovery of America, and the introduction of patent laws. Abraham Lincoln
I tried and failed. I tried again and again and succeeded. Gail Borden
For one person who is blessed with the power of invention, many will always be found who have the capacity of applying principles. Charles Babbage
The patent system was established, I believe, to protect the lone inventor. In this it has not succeeded. … The patent system protects the institutions which favor invention. Ernst F. W. Alexanderson
The great question, however, for the poor man is, or shortly will be, that of escape from competition with labor-saving machinery William Henry Babcock
The innovator, however, must in the first place be discontented, he must doubt the value of what he is doing or question the accepted ways of doing it. And secondly, he must be prepared to take fresh paths, to venture into fields where he is by no means expert. This is true, at least, of major forms of innovation; they make it possible for other men to be expert, but are not themselves forms of expertise John Passmore
One of the very most useful of all inventions, but rendered almost worthless & a cold & deliberate theft & swindle by the black scoundrelism & selfishness of the companies of chartered robbers who conduct it. Mark Twain
It takes a thousand men to invent a telegraph, or a steam engine, or a phonograph, or a photograph, or a telephone, or any other Important thing--and the last man gets the credit and we forget the others. Mark Twain
Every great invention takes a livelihood away from 50,000 men--& within ten years creates a livelihood for half a million. Mark Twain
We are called the nation of inventors. And we are. We could still claim that title and wear its loftiest honors if we had stopped with the first thing we ever invented, which was human liberty. Mark Twain
Some are born to invent, others to embellish; but the gilder attracts more attention than the architect. Marquis de Vauvenargues; Luc de
I am not really an inventor. I just steal my ideas from 8-year olds. Saul Griffith
Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision. Their goals differed, but they all had this in common: that the step was first, the road new, the vision unborrowed, and the response they received--hatred. The great creators--the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors--stood alone against the men of their time. Every great new thought was opposed. Ayn Rand
All who have had something new to offer humanity have had nothing good to say of the state or its laws! Ludwig von Mises
It is not known where he that invented the plough was born, nor where he died: yet he has effected more for the happiness of the world than the whole race of heroes and of conquerors, who have drenched it with tears, and manured it with blood, and whose birth, parentage, and education have been handed down to us with a precision proportionate to the mischief they have done. Charles Caleb Colton
Don’t ask our customers what they want. Ask yourself what they would want if they knew what you know of what is possible for us to do for them. The burden is on us to understand the consumer’s needs sufficiently to answer that question. Lewis D. Eigen
The Congress shall have power . . . To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries United States
Read the story of the new invention for picking cotton. It may not be perfect yet, it may not work so well in hilly country as on the plains, but it is just a question of time before it is improved. More men and women out of work. Unless we have sense enough to sit down and discuss how to use this new invention and many others, so as to bring happiness, comfort and leisure to human beings and not unemployment, starvation and despair, then we deserve the hard times which surely will come our way. Eleanor Roosevelt
We are much better at creating complex technologies than we are at controlling them. Eric Schlosser
the day Johannes Gutenberg finished his wooden printing press in 1440. Western civilization turned onto a path toward more efficient, accessible communication of knowledge.] Christina H. Paxson
… the telephone was only a convenience permitting Americans to do more orally and with less effort than what they had been doing before. Daniel J. Boorstin
How do people know what they want until we show them? Steve Jobs
Whenever I look at TV and I see the weapon I invented to defend my motherland in the hands of these bin Ladens I ask myself the same question: How did it get into their hands? …. I didn't put it in the hands of bandits and terrorists and it's not my fault that it has mushroomed uncontrollably across the globe. Can I be blamed that they consider it the most reliable weapon? Mikhail Kalashnikov
I am proud of my invention but I am not happy that it is used by terrorists. I would much rather have invented something for agriculture like a lawnmower. Mikhail Kalashnikov
knowledge began freely replicating and quickly assumed a life of its own. Joel Mokyr
Bushnell’s machine is almost perfected for the destruction of the [British] fleet in Boston Harbor. Lewis John
Societies create their own history and tend to wipe out lowly beginnings, either by forgetting them or inventing totally fictitious heroic rescues. Isaac Asimov
The John Anonymous
We plow new fields, we open new mines, we found new cities, we girdle the land with iron roads and lace the air with telegraph wires. We add knowledge to knowledge and utilize invention after invention. Yet it becomes no easier for the masses of our people to make a living. On the contrary, it is becoming harder. Henry George
The victories of peace are great but the victories of war are greater. No merchant, no banker, no railroad magnate, no inventor of improved industrial processes, can do for any nation what can be done for it by its great fighting men.. Theodore Roosevelt
Nothing is invented that has not appeared in nature first. Antoni Gaudi
… people who have built a business doing it the old way think it would be better if things could be more stable for longer periods of time. But you have to remember, new inventions are not inherently disruptive. Invention is only disruptive if customers say, “Hey, I like this better than the old way”. Jeff Bezos
Each Country have their peculiar most suitable Productions; and likewise that different Men have Genius's adapted to Variety of different Arts and Manufactures, Therefore Commerce, or the Exchange of one Commodity or Manufacture for another, is highly convenient and beneficial to Mankind Benjamin Franklin
It has pleased God to show man the way to proect his home from lightening. Benjamin Franklin
Double Spectacles Benjamin Franklin
Seeing there is nothing that is so troublesome to mathematical practice, nor that doth more molest and hinder calculators, than the multiplications, divisions, square and cubical extractions of great numbers.... I began therefore to consider in my mind by what certain and ready art I might remove those hindrances. John Napier
Rarely in the history of science has an abstract mathematical idea been received more enthusiastically by the entire scientific community than the invention of logarithms. Eli Maor
Machines cannot make machines, unless back of them all are the brains and toil of men. Lewis Hine
The most popular product 20 years from now, that everyone uses, has not been invented yet. That means that you're not late. Kevin Kelly
if you wait until a new technology is thoroughly understood before you use it, you will certainly be too late. Anonymous
Today, the solitary inventor has been over-shadowed by groups of scientists. Dwight D. Eisenhower
The Wizard War Winston Churchill
Sometimes people invent things because they want to stay alive or feed their children or conquer the village next door. But just as often, new ideas come into the world simply because they're fun. And here's the really strange thing: many of those playful but seemingly frivolous inventions ended up sparking momentous transformations in science, in politics and society. Steven Johnson
You'll find the future wherever people are having the most fun. Steven Johnson
What people think of as the moment of discovery is really the discovery of the question. Jonas Salk
If you want to really change something, do not try to fight the existing reality. create a new reality. R. Buckminster Fuller