While Connecticut may be a small state in geographical terms, it has been huge historically in terms of inventions and inventors. Since 1790 well over 100,000 patents have been granted to Connecticut inventors. Between 1876 and 1890 the US Patent office ranked Connecticut first in per capita number of patents every year except three. A well educated, diverse workforce, access to natural resources, geographic location and a good transportation infrastructure all contributed to our inventive past. The Museum of Connecticut History maintains the Connecticut Patents Database, a research tool which allows the curious to discover the thousands of inventors and inventions which have come from our state between 1800-1900. Users can discover the names, dates and types of inventions as well as from which town in Connecticut they hail from. Truly a great way to make local history come alive for kids and adults. Combine this with Google’s new patent search and one can easily find images and descriptions of all sorts of inventions throughout our state and country’s history.
Sikorsky, Goodyear, Colt and Whitney are all familiar names to students of American industrial history. The helicopter, vulcanized rubber, revolving pistols and the cotton gin were invented in Connecticut. Those are just a few of the “big” name inventors and their inventions who were nutmeggers. On a smaller scale but no less important in different inventive ways are the Frisbee, Wiffle Ball, Steamboat, Retractable Tape Measure, Toothpaste tube, Silly Putty and of course the Hamburger. All of which got their start here in Connecticut and all of which are just a few of the thousands of products that can make that claim. Learn what inventions come from your Connecticut hometown by using the Connecticut Patent Database link on the museum’s website at www.museumofcthistory.org