Benjamin Franklin invented the Franklin stove, bifocal eyeglasses and the lightning rod. He was unequaled in American history as an inventor until Thomas Edison emerged.
Edison was a good businessman who may have taken credit for inventions others had made. Contrary to popular belief, Edison did not invent the light bulb; he improved upon a 50-year-old idea by using a small, carbonized filament lit up in a better vacuum.
Although a number of people had worked on this idea before, Edison gained the financial reward by making the concept commercially viable to the public. The phonograph is another success story for which Edison received due credit.
Countries often credit their own citizens for having made important inventions, whether or not they deserve it. When visiting museums in Europe, the USA and Japan one sees such bestowment.
The work to develop the car, x-ray machines, telephones, broadcast radio, televisions and computers might have been done in parallel, not knowing of others’ advancements at that time, and the rightful inventor is often not clearly identified.
Similar uncertainties exist with the invention of new battery systems, and we give respect to research teams and organizations rather than individuals. Table 1 below summarizes battery advancements and lists inventors when available.
Isidor Buchmann is the founder and CEO of Cadex Electronics Inc., a company that manufactures battery test and diagnostic equipment, and creator of www.BatteryUniversity.com.