Utah can lay claim to a number of innovations and inventions. In some cases, the inventors were Beehive State natives or residents, though research and development took them elsewhere. In others, their work was key to an invention, though credit has often gone elsewhere.
Here are five notable Utah-related inventions - and inventors:- Television. Philo T. Farnsworth, Utah-born and Idaho-raised, came up with the idea for the "image dissector tube" as a teenage farm boy and, working in San Francisco, in 1927 patented the first all-electronic TV system. (A competing claim to fame goes to Vladimir Zworykin, who worked for Westinghouse and RCA.)
- Stereo. Blessed with two ears, we hear in something like stereo, but Harvey Fletcher, a Bell Telephone researcher and BYU professor, is credited with inventing stereophonic music reproduction, hi-fi speakers and the first effective hearing aid.
- Artificial organs. The University of Utah's artificial organs program, under Dr. Willem J. Kolff, developed the artificial heart (Robert Jarvik's version gained worldwide fame) and improved the artificial kidney, which he invented in The Netherlands.
- Traffic signals. In 1910, Lester Wire, a Salt Lake police officer, put a box with two lights - red and green - on a pole on 200 South and Main Street, and voila - the first semaphore. William L. Potts, a Detroit policeman, did much the same thing about the same time.
- The repeating rifle. John M. Browning, born in Ogden in 1855, designed the first automatic rifle, as well as a water-cooled machine gun and an anti-aircraft gun. He is said to have come up with more successful firearm designs than any American before or since.
Other notable inventions with Utah ties: video games (Nolan Bushnell invented the first, Pong, and founded Atari); the bazooka (Melvin Cook); the clock radio (Ira Kaar); processes for mining and milling low-grade copper ore (Daniel Jackling); and medical devices (James L. Sorenson).