The Individual Inventor

  • John Jewkes
  • David Sawers
  • Richard Stillerman


There is a sharp and intriguing conflict of opinion between those who hold that the day of the individual inventor is done1 and those who consider that not merely is he very much with us but that, from present appearances, he will continue to play an active part in technical progress. The views of the first group have been set forth in Chapter II.2 Against them can be set the notions of some eminent scientists, technologists, individual inventors and students of invention. A few of many possible quotations follows.


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  1. 1.
    L. P. Lessing, ‘The Late Edwin H. Armstrong’, Scientific American, Apr. 1954.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Lt.–Col. Chinn, author of the authoritative history of the machine—gun, in an interview given to The American Rifleman, Feb. 1956.Google Scholar
  3. 1.
    For an extremely vivid account of one such group see G. Pawle, The Secret War, 1939–1945.Google Scholar
  4. 1.
    There is, indeed, a very suggestive analogy between the multiplication of different types of plants, the variety arising partly through inter—specific hybridisation and partly through mutation, and the multiplication of inventions, deriving partly from usual combinations of existing ideas and partly through a sudden outcropping of master inventions. Thus although there are tens of thousands of different varieties of roses now grown, 95 per cent of existing rose species have not yet received attention by the hybridist. (Ann P. Wylie, ‘The History of Garden Roses’, Royal Horticultural Society Journal, Feb. 1955.)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© John Jewkes, David Sawers and Richard Stillerman 1969

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Jewkes
  • David Sawers
  • Richard Stillerman

There are no affiliations available

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