The Professional Lives of American Independent Inventors, 1900-1950

Eric Hintz, University of Pennsylvania, and PACHS Dissertation Research Fellow

Chemical Heritage Foundation and Philadelphia Area Center for History of Science

Tuesday, April 21, 2009 - 9:00pm

Time: 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. Place: 6th Floor Conference Room, Chemical Heritage Foundation Information: 215-873-8289 or Brown Bag Lunch with presentation by Eric Hintz, University of Pennsylvania doctoral candidate and PACHS Dissertation Research Fellow. Hintz will describe the professional activities of American independent inventors between 1900 and 1950. Despite the “independent” label, inventors initially formed a recognizable and vibrant professional community in the early 20th century. Hintz will describe the fairs, exhibitions, prizes, and awards sponsored by organizations like the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and the American Institute in New York City, which served as key sites for inventors’ professional activities. He will also describe short-lived professional societies like the Inventors’ Guild and the National Institute of Inventors and suggest why inventors—unlike scientists and engineers—failed to “professionalize.” Eric S. Hintz is a Ph.D. candidate in the history and sociology of science at the University of Pennsylvania. His dissertation examines the changing fortunes of American independent inventors between 1900 and 1950, an era of burgeoning corporate R&D. Hintz was the 2005 Ullyot fellow at CHF and a 2008 fellow at the Philadelphia Area Center for History of Science (PACHS).