“Grand Inventions” is a new micro-series within The New Disruptors in which I talk to people whose grandparents or great-x-parents invented something that’s still current or in use today. Two things sparked this micro-series idea for me. First, my grandfather’s stories of making a suggestion during WWII at an IBM wartime manufacturing plant that led to improved impeller productions; second, how invention and entrepreneurialism spans generations.
Joining me for the first episode is Chris Higgins, a documentary filmmaker and writer, whose great-grandfather invented a variety of geared devices that counted things like fuel and people and more, and ultimately became CEO of Veeder-Root. Chris’s great-grandfather was H.L. Spaunberg, and Chris provided a list of some of his patents:
- Counter (via Frank E. Northrup) (1931)
- Odometer (1934)
- Counting Device (1936)
- Counter for Machines (1937)
- Counter (1939)
Do you have a grandparent or beyond who invented something still in use in some form? Contact me and we’ll set up an interview.
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Here’s a scan of one of the suggestions my grandfather submitted to IBM during the war, but not the three-legged stool idea. He received a whopping $10, worth about $150 in today’s dollars.