An inventor is considered the first person to create a new item or different way of doing something. Inventors are highly original thinkers who tend to look for ways to solve problems and improve on existing ideas to develop a useful item that fills a need. Some have changed the way entire nations of people live.
Thomas Edison, born 11 February 1847 in Milan, Ohio, was an inventor who certainly changed the world with his invention of the light bulb in 1880. Edison not only invented the light bulb, but also the systems to use it with such as electricity generators for homes. He also created systems for sound and film recording.
It's important to note that perfecting an invention until it's completely usable is an important quality of being an inventor. Inventors aren't people who just come up with a new idea. Rather, they actually create a finished product or method of doing something. Anyone could potentially do this, but few people have the perseverance to follow an idea through to an original, perfected product or method because this takes a great deal of time, research and experimenting.
For example, Edison tried more than 1,600 different materials before discovering that bamboo worked best as the filament in his light bulb. He wrote more than 40,000 log book pages documenting and analyzing his experiments before finally perfecting the light bulb. Documenting everything from the idea onward is an extremely important part of being an inventor. Writing down and dating everything that is done and thought of concerning his or her invention can prove that the idea is an original creation.
Inventors often work to get a patent for their inventions. A patent is like a copyright on an original literary work, as it protects intellectual property rights. Patent lawyers help inventors understand how to fill out the legal forms needed to receive a patent for an invention.
Marion Donavon, born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1917 received a patent in 1951 for her invention of a snap-on diaper cover that later became the inspiration for the first disposable diaper. Her first attempt at her invention that she called the Boater because she thought the diaper cover looked like a boat, involved sewing a piece of a shower curtain to a cloth diaper. Donovan wanted to avoid using safety pins, so she included snap closures on the sides. Like most inventors, Donovan thought of original ways to improve upon a product that wasn’t effective. The rubber infant pants made at the time caused diaper rash, were difficult to put on and take off the baby and the elastic edges tended not to fit very well around the legs.