Special inventors

Edward Jenner´s 275th birthday
Pasteur, Jenner and the history of vaccines

Hardly any other health topic has occupied mankind as much in the past pandemic years as vaccination. Among the fathers of vaccination was first of all Edward Jenner, Born 275 years ago, and Louis Pasteur, born 200 years ago.

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200th birthday of Gustav Robert Kirchhoff
Solar gold and circuit laws

Gustav Robert Kirchhoff, who was born in Königsberg on 12 March 1824, may not be the best-known German physicist, but he is certainly one of the most influential. His laws and writings on electrical circuits are particularly influential. He is also regarded as the founder of theoretical physics as well as the father of spectral Analysis.

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Wilhelm Bauer
170 years ago: Patent for the first German submarine

Far away from the sea lies the home of the first German submarine builder: Wilhelm Bauer was born in Dillingen on the Danube. He not only built the world's oldest surviving submarine, the "Brandtaucher", but was also a pioneer in wreck salvage.

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Walter Gropius 140th birthday
Art meets technology

He would have celebrated his 140th birthday on May 18: Walter Gropius, German architect and founder of the Bauhaus is regarded worldwide as an important thinker, designer and pioneer of modernism. This is an occasion for us to commemorate his work around the Bauhaus.

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150th birthday of Richard Willstätter
The expelled genius

Richard Willstätter was one of the many brilliant scientists who were chased out of their homeland during the times of National Socialist barbarism. Nobel laureate, multiple honorary doctorate, member of international scientific societies - but because he was constantly attacked as a Jew, he gave up his chair at Munich university as early as 1924.

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Konrad Adenauer as inventor
Soy sausage and killer brush

Konrad Adenauer is known as the first chancellor of the Federal Republic, who tied the young FRG to the West, achieved reconciliation with France, drove European unification and brought the last prisoners of war home from Russia. Less well known is that Adenauer was also an inventor throughout his life.

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Albert Einstein
Patent examiner, referee, inventor

A genius of the century, an icon of the natural sciences, the most famous physicist of all time: With Albert Einstein, you run out of superlatives. Born a 143 years ago on 14 March 1879 in Ulm, it is not generally known that Einstein also was a patent examiner and inventor.

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First patent for an electric motor
185 years ago: Thomas Davenport's "propelling machinery"

Thomas Davenport was not only one of the pioneers of electrical engineering, but also one of the first inventors to appreciate securitised intellectual property - and owes a piece of immortality to it. His patent, which he received in the USA on 25 February 1837, bears the number 132 and was the world's first patent on an electric motor.


Johannes Kepler's 450th birthday
Searching for the divine harmony of the universe

Christians all over the world celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas. Exactly when this took place has been the subject of debate for centuries. However, Johannes Kepler's date of birth is undisputed: 27 December 1571. The astronomer tried to determine the year of Christ's birth using scientific methods. According to Kepler, Jesus must have been born before the year 4 BC.

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75th birthday of Steven Spielberg
Aliens, sharks and patents

He is probably the best-known film director in the world: Steven Allan Spielberg, born on 18 December 1946 in Cincinnati. He is considered the most commercially successful director and producer, but he has also won numerous awards, including three Oscars (two for best director). And he is one of the few directors who applied for patents.

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Alois Senefelder
The inventor of lithography

Almost every author has difficulties with his publisher at the beginning of his career. In the case of Alois Senefelder, this turned into an epoch-making invention. Because the up-and-coming playwright had decided that he preferred to take the typesetting and printing of his plays into his own hands, he invented a new printing process: lithography.

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Enrico Fermi
The man who knew everything

One of the most important physicists of the 20th century: Enrico Fermi. He is often called the "father of the nuclear age" because he built the first nuclear reactor and helped develop the atomic bomb. But Fermi's work goes far beyond that.

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Drawing from DE384245

Bernhard Dräger
The re-invention of breathing

Bernhard Dräger was to write an important piece of German technical and corporate history. Together with his father Heinrich, he developed breathing apparatus for mining and firefighters, resuscitation equipment, automatic anesthetic machines and diving equipment.

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Prof. Dr. Artur Fischer

Artur Fischer
The mass inventor and his masterpiece

We owe it to Artur Fischer that pictures don't fall from the wall, shelves are fixed and the wardrobe hangs securely. The inventor from Tumlingen is regarded as one of the most productive inventors of all time: he filed 2252 patents and utility models with the DPMA.

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Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr
Ingenious femme fatale

Hollywood star, "most beautiful woman in the world", inventor: Hedy Lamarr was one of the most dazzling women of the 20th century. She embodied the beauty ideal of her time, was a scandalous superstar - and author of a visionary patent.

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Lise Meitner, ca 1930

Lise Meitner
The bypassed pioneer

There have always been controversial decisions in the history of the Nobel Prizes. One of the Academy's biggest omissions is that it has repeatedly ignored Lise Meitner in awarding the prizes - despite 48 nominations!

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Leonardo da Vinci
Fearless researcher, visionary inventor

On 2 May 1519, a man of superlatives died at Clos Lucé Castle in Amboise, Leonardo da Vinci. He is not only regarded as one of the greatest painters in history, but also as an unrivalled all-round genius and universal scholar. A true the Renaissance Superman.

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Melitta Kaffeefilter No. 1

Melitta Bentz
Coffee filter queen

In 1908, a utility model was registered at the Kaiserliches Patentamt in Berlin, which is important in several respects: Firstly, the applicant was one of the first women to have her own invention personally protected. On the other hand, this invention was extremely successful and is still present in practically every household.


Gertrude Elion

Gertrude Elion
A life devoted to pharmaceutical research

One of the most important pharmaceutical researchers of the 20th century was Gertrude Belle Elion. The Nobel laureate of 1988 developed some of the most important drugs of our time and revolutionized both the development of new pharmaceuticals and medicine in general.

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MGM / Public domain via Wikimedia Commons, Archiv der Max Planck Gesellschaft, Landesstelle für Museumsbetreuung Baden-Württemberg

Last updated: 16 May 2024