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Jerome "Jerry" Lemelson was, to put it simply, a born inventor. As a young boy growing up on Staten Island, he invented a lighted tongue depressor for his father, a physician. He continued his inventing ways for over forty years, as he averaged one patent a month during that time period. Before he passed away in 1997, he made a generous gift that helped create The Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. For those who can't make it to the Lemelson Center in person, their website is a great way to start learning about the history of invention and innovation. The homepage contains an embedded search engine, a selection of shortcuts for specific audiences (such as historians and teachers), and a featured invention. Visitors should definitely take a look at the "Centerpieces" area, which features interactive exhibits on industrial design, the Nobel Prize, and the invention of the electric guitar. Additionally, the "Video & Audio" area contains podcasts on puppets, women and invention, and the construction of robots.
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