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On Invention...


Inventors are much maligned people who get caricatured as lonesome and strange people who occasionally appear with cranky gadgets that succeed in the marketplace even less often. Invention is, nevertheless, the engine of civilization and inventors are the creators of your future, so treat them well!

See also

being creative, curiosity, discovery, experimenting*, exploration, innovation*, persistence, progress, science, success


‘As long as you’ve got slightly more perception than the average wrapped loaf, you are capable of inventing something.’

Trevor Baylis

‘Inventor, n. A person who makes an ingenious arrangement of wheels, levers and springs, and believes it civilization.’

Ambrose Bierce

‘I must create a system, or be enslav'd by another man's.’

William Blake

Inventing is a skill that some people have and some people don’t. But you can learn how to invent.’

Ray Dolby

‘Our inventions mirror our secret wishes.’

Lawrence George Durrell

‘To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.’

Thomas Alva Edison

‘Anything that won’t sell, I don’t want to invent. Its sale is proof of utility, and utility is success.’

Thomas Alva Edison

‘Only an inventor knows how to borrow, and every man is or should be an inventor.’

Ralph Waldo Emerson

‘I invented nothing new. I simply combined the inventions of others into a car. Had I worked fifty or ten or even five years before, I would have failed.’

Henry Ford

‘Inventions that are not made, like babies that are not born, are not missed.’

John Kenneth Galbraith

‘The march of invention has clothed mankind with powers of which a century ago the boldest imagination could not have dreamt.’

Henry George

‘The issue for patents for new discovers has given a spring to invention beyond my conception.’

Thomas Jefferson

Inventing is a combination of brains and materials. The more brains you use, the less material you need.’

Charles F. Kettering

‘The production of too many useful things results in too many useless people.’

Karl Marx

‘Invention is a flower, innovation is a weed.’

Bob Metcalfe

‘It is questionable if all the mechanical inventions yet made have lightened the day's toil of any human being.’

John Stuart Mill

‘I invent nothing. I rediscover.’

Auguste Rodin

‘In my own time there have been inventions of this sort, transparent windows, tubes for diffusing warmth equally through all parts of a building, short-hand which has been carried to such a pitch of perfection that a writer can keep pace with the most rapid speaker. But the inventing of such things is drudgery for the lowest slaves; philosophy lies deeper.

Lucius Seneca

‘Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of voice, but out of chaos.’

Mary Shelley

‘Invention presupposes imagination but should not be confused with it.’

Igor Stravinsky

‘I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success.’

Nikola Tesla

‘Name the greatest of all inventors. Accident.’

Mark Twain

‘The most amazing and effective inventions are not those which do most honour to the human genius.’



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