Entries in Inventors

Baer, Ralph
Ralph Baer was an engineer and inventor particularly known for creating the first videogame console. Baer and his family came to the United States as German Jewish refugees in 1938 when Baer was sixteen years old and settled in the Bronx in New York City. Although he spent the majority of his career working within military defense contracting, he remained a passionate inventor of electronic games and toys. To support this passion, Baer established his consulting firm, R. H. Baer Consultants, in 1975, through which he partnered with well-known companies. Over the course of his life, his inventions and over one-hundred and fifty U.S. and international patents have contributed to the advancement of military defense, television technology, video gaming, electronic toys, and other electronic consumer products. Continue Reading »
Berliner, Emile
Although he has been overshadowed in the public imagination by contemporaries Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison, German-American inventor and entrepreneur Emile Berliner actually improved two inventions associated closely with those other men, the telephone and the talking machine. Continue Reading »
Bronner, Emanuel
Emanuel Bronner was a pioneer of natural cosmetics. Coming from a traditional German soap maker family, he founded Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps in 1948. While the business remained small in terms of turnover and profits, its liquid peppermint soap was one of the first all-natural products available on the post-World War II American market. Continue Reading »
Cramer Sachs, Charlotte
Charlotte Cramer Sachs was an artist, inventor, entrepreneur, food and wine enthusiast, and an early developer of prepared cake and muffin mixes. Her company Cramer Products Company pioneered the manufacture and distribution of many types of prepared food mixes under the brand Joy Prepared Mixes. Continue Reading »
Karpen, Solomon
Solomon Karpen founded S. Karpen & Bros. in Chicago in 1880. By 1899, it had become the largest upholstered furniture manufacturing company in the world. Continue Reading »
Rueckheim, Frederick
Integrating his German-inspired dedication to education with the newfound economic opportunities in the United States, Frederick Rueckheim recognized the profitability of popcorn, a nineteenth-century commodity product, and turned that commodity into a differentiated, branded product: Cracker Jack. This iconic American confection of molasses, popcorn, and peanuts in a recognizable brand packaging is still sold globally. Continue Reading »
Singer, Isaac Merritt
The son of a German immigrant, Isaac Merritt Singer was the man behind one of the sewing machine patents that succeeded within an extremely competitive market in the mid-1850s. Since the eighteenth century, inventors had designed sewing machines to serve the needs of tailors and for various industrial purposes. However, inventors had struggled to develop a machine appropriate for domestic use. Singer contributed to the sewing machine trade with important technological advancements and also with the development of a marketing system capable of selling sewing machines around the world. Continue Reading »
Timken, Henry
Henry Timken developed the tapered roller bearing and went on to found a company to manufacture roller bearings that grew into a large, multinational corporation. The Timken Company, formerly Timken Roller Bearing Axle Company, remains, to this day, one of the most successful global family businesses in the United States. Continue Reading »