On February 11, 1983, America celebrated its first Inventors’ Day.
Other nations have set aside days to honor their inventors before and since 1983. 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.
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: