Thomas Alva Edison.

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan declared Feb. 11, Thomas Edison’s birthday,  National Inventors’ Day.

So said the Gipper: “Individual ingenuity and perseverance, spurred by the incentives of the patent system, begin the process that results in improved standards of living, increased public and private productivity, creation of new industries, improved public services, and enhanced competitiveness of American products in world markets… Key to our future success will be the dedication and creativity of inventors.”

We’ll leave discussion of the virtues of U.S. patent system for another day, but it would be interesting to hear from folks about their favorite inventors–foreign and domestic, living and dead. Edison is an easy one. There are certainly lesser known inventors out there worth celebrating. Any suggestions?