What inventions have you concocted in your basement? August is National Inventors Month, an event launched by the United Inventors Association of the USA, Inventors Digest, and the Academy of Applied Science in 1995 to help guide new inventors, inspire creativity, and promote the image of independent inventors. Read about some of the inventions that changed history and the people who created these innovations or take a break with a few novels featuring inventions in fiction.
With over 300 photographs, The Book of Inventions by Ian Harrison takes a trip through innovation history. Each invention receives a two-page spread and includes information about the inventor, as well as a photograph of the invention in use. The chapters are divided thematically, including “Around the House,” “At the Doctor’s,” “Eating and Drinking,” among others so you can learn all about the hair dryer, disposable syringes, and much more.
Over twenty years ago, urban planner Solly Angel had a vision of a miniature one-pound travel scale. Without any mechanical experience he embarked on a ten-year journey to bring this idea to market. The Tale of the Scale: An Odyssey of Invention provides a unique first-person account of this process.
Chiara Frugoni writes about the extraordinary innovations of the Middle Ages in Books, Banks, Buttons, and Other Inventions from the Middle Ages. With beautiful illustrations, this book provides an entertaining narrative to the things we take for granted, such as pasta, wheelbarrows, and clocks.
They Made America by Harold Evans profiles 70 inventors, men and women who changed the United States over the course of two hundred years. It includes famous inventors, such as Henry Ford and Thomas Edison, but also includes lesser known people like Ida Rosenthall (Maidenform bra) and Larry Page (Google).
Authors Ethlie Ann Vare and Greg Ptacek explore female innovators in Patently Female: From AZT to TV Dinners, Stories of Women Inventors and Their Breakthrough Ideas. Women invented the disposable diaper and the automatic dishwasher, but their innovations went beyond the home. Women also developed the first electric motor, the cordless phone, and much more.
Discover the inventions created by African Americans from the slave era to modern times in The Inventive Spirit of African Americans: Patented Ingenuity by Patricia Carter Sluby, a former U.S. patent examiner. Sluby writes about little known pioneers and inventions, such as a tobacoo substitute and a portable heart monitor.
A New York Times Notable Book, The Adventures of Miles and Isabel by Tom Gilling tells the story of two people born on the same day in Sydney, Australia in 1856. Miles and Isabel share a love of invention and flying as destiny brings them together in this fantastical novel.
Winner of the Caldecott Medal, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, a graphic novel by Brian Selznick, is a fun read for any age. Hugo, a twelve-year old orphan, lives in a 1930s Paris train station where he takes care of the clocks. With cinematic detail, the plot revolves around an automaton that Hugo’s father discovered before he died and Hugo’s obsession with repairing the unique machine to discover a hidden message.
Paul Theroux writes about an eccentric and paranoid inventor in The Mosquito Coast. This novel tells the story of Allie Fox and his utopian experiment in a Honduran jungle with his family that goes dangerously awry.