Jerome Lemelson

Jerome Lemelson

American engineer, inventor, patent holder; became famous as one of the most prolific inventors in American history.
Date of Birth: 18.07.1923
Country: USA

Biography of Jerome Lemelson

Jerome Hal Lemelson was an American engineer, inventor, and patent holder who became renowned as one of the most productive inventors in American history. Born on Staten Island, New York, he was the eldest of three brothers. Lemelson's father was a doctor of Austrian-Jewish descent, and it was for his father that young Jerome made his first invention - an improved tongue depressor.

Jerome Lemelson

As a teenager, Lemelson started his own business manufacturing and selling model airplanes in the basement of his home. During World War II, he served in the United States Army Air Forces' engineering division. His experience working with African-American engineers, who were not always treated as equals at the time, sparked his interest in civil rights and the needs of various minorities.

Jerome Lemelson

After the war, Lemelson attended New York University, where he earned two master's degrees in aeronautical engineering and industrial engineering. He then participated in the post-war research project "SQUID," which aimed to develop rocket and jet engines. Later, he worked on the "Republic Aviation" project, focusing on the development of guided missiles.

Lemelson briefly worked as a safety engineer at a metallurgical plant but left due to disagreements with management, who did not take his recommendations as seriously as he believed they should. From then on, Lemelson dedicated himself solely to his inventive work. His early major inventions involved the use of universal robots for industrial processes. His machines could move, measure, and analyze the quality of finished products.

In the 1950s, Lemelson turned his attention to the development of video data storage systems using magnetic and video tapes. Some of his inventions in this field ended up in the hands of the company Sony and formed the basis of video and audio cassette players.

Lemelson sold some of his patents related to data processing and text manipulation to IBM. Although the company offered him a position in their research department, he chose to maintain his independence. In 1961, he sold a series of patents on integrated circuits to Texas Instruments.

From the start of his independent inventing career, Lemelson demonstrated an astonishing level of productivity. Over the next 40 years, he averaged one patent per month. His interests included automated warehouses and industrial robots, wireless telephones, and video cassette players. Lemelson worked on his inventions for 12-14 hours a day and had thousands of notebooks and notepads filled with ideas.

Friends and family described Lemelson as an extremely hardworking individual. According to his brother, who lived with him in a college dormitory, Lemelson would turn on the light several times each night to jot down new valuable ideas and could present projects for multiple new inventions by morning.

Jerome Lemelson passed away in 1997 after a year-long battle with liver cancer. Even in the face of the illness, Lemelson continued his inventive work and proposed over 40 patents in that year, some of which were related to the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.