Lincoln’s (and Darwin’s) birthday rolls around again next week. What do we know about our 16th president who was the subject of a great and a silly movie in the last year?
Some wag sent out this Tweet today.
But Lincoln also taught himself geometry just to better himself. He is only POTUS who held a patent.—
Abraham Lincoln (@Mr_Lincoln) February 10, 2013
Any visitor to Thomas Jefferson’s home at Monticello knows of Jefferson’s wide-ranging interests, and work in science and invention. I was rather surprised to discover the depth of George Washington’s inventive work, in a seminar sponsorred by the Bill of Rights Institute at Mount Vernon a few years ago.
Abraham Lincoln, too?
Lincoln lived along the Sangamon River, and he saw development of the river for commercial navigation to be a boon for his district’s economic growth. Unfortunately, the Sangamon is not deep; boats had difficult times navigating over the many logs and snags, and shallows.
So, Mr. Lincoln offered a technical solution, for which he was granted a patent in 1849. Details below, from Google Patents:
Was Lincoln the only president to get a patent? Thomas Jefferson and George Washington worked hard at inventions. Jefferson shared Ben Franklin’s view that new inventions should be for the benefit of all; does that mean he didn’t seek patents? Washington’s inventions — including the 16-sided barn for threshing wheat — tended to be improvements on processes; I don’t know of any evidence he even thought of patenting any idea.
It’s possible that Lincoln was the only president so far to have held a patent.
Lincoln’s invention was never built, and that patent never used.
This is an encore post with additions.
More, and miscellany:
- Lincoln was celebrated with birthday approaching (cinewsnow.com)
- VFW pilgrimage teaches students about Lincoln (sj-r.com)
- Mohawk Nation News ‘Holly Wood Lincoln’ (bsnorrell.blogspot.com)
- Famous People Born in the Chinese Zodiac Year of the Snake (theepochtimes.com)
- Conn. congressman sees factual flaw in “Lincoln” (cbsnews.com)