First US Inventors’ Day 

US #945 was issued on Edison’s 100th birthday.

On February 11, 1983, America celebrated its first Inventors’ Day.

Some nations had set aside days to honor their inventors before 1983 and some since.  In January of that year, US President Ronald Reagan issued a proclamation establishing February 11, Thomas Edison’s birthday, as Inventors’ Day.

It’s custom in many countries to celebrate Inventors’ Day on the birthday of a noted native inventor.  Reagan chose Edison because of his prolific career.  Over the course of his life, Edison received 1,093 patents in the US (plus more in other countries) and founded 14 companies – including what would become General Electric.

US #2055-58 honors inventors Charles Steinmetz, Edwin Armstrong, Nikola Tesla, and Philo T. Farnsworth.

In his proclamation, Reagan stated that “Inventors are the keystone of the technological progress that is so vital to the economic, environmental, and social well-being of this country.  Individual ingenuity and perseverance, spurred by the incentives of the patent system, begin the process that results in improved standards of living, increased public and private productivity, creation of new industries, improved public services, and enhanced competitiveness of American products in world markets.”

Several American inventors have been honored on stamps:

US #889-93 honors Eli Whitney, Samuel Morse, Cyrus McCormick, Elias Howe, and Alexander Graham Bell.
US #3061-64 honors pioneers in communication.
US #4021-24 – Franklin invented many things including the lightning rod, glass harmonica, Franklin stove, and bifocal glasses.
US #2180 – Chester Carlson developed xerography – the process of using electrostatic action to transfer dry powder on copy paper.
US #1286A – Ford received 161 US patents.
US #3870 – R. Buckminster Fuller invented the geodesic dome, among other things.
US #1270 – Robert Fulton invented and patented several items, including a dredging machine and the first modern naval torpedoes.
US #590 – Jefferson invented and improved on many creations. He’s credited as the creator of the swivel chair.
US #1710 – Lindbergh invented a glass perfusion pump that would later make heart surgeries possible.
US #C119 – Sikorsky is credited with inventing the first modern helicopter.
US #C59 – Lincoln patented a device to lift boats of shoals in a river.

Click here to read Reagan’s full proclamation.

Click here to see what else happened on This Day in History.

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  1. Edison was a great inventor,but should not have taken credit for two inventions…Incandescent light bulb(a Canadian) and motion pictures(a Frenchman). I guess he was a very aggressive businessman.

  2. I agree with Brian. It was not the best date to choose for Inventors’ Day. But, wow, that was a very interesting article. I especially like the captions that identified the invention.
    I enjoy these articles immensely. Thank you.

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