Tuesday, August 16, 2011

George Devol, inventor of first industrial robot, died on 11 Aug 2011

George C. Devol Jr., inventor of the Unimate, died in Wilton, CT at the age of 99. Popular Mechanics listed Unimate as one of the top 50 inventions of the last 50 years. The first Unimate was used by GM at its plant in Ewing Township, NJ, right next to Hamilton Township, NJ.

Devol's entry on wikipedia includes the following:

Over a difference of opinion regarding the future of certain projects, Devol resigned from Auto Ordinance and joined RCA. After a short stint as eastern sales manager of electronics products, which he felt "wasn't his ball of wax", Devol left RCA to develop ideas which eventually led to the patent application for the first industrial robot. [leading to US 2,988,237 ]

The whole wikipedia entry is of relevance to patent attorneys.

In passing, tho Popular Mechanics credits someone else for microwave ovens, wikipedia notes: Devol was part of the team that developed the first commercial use of microwave oven technology, the Speedy Weeny, which automatically cooked and dispensed hotdogs in places such as Grand Central Terminal.

See also NYT: George C. Devol, Inventor of Robot Arm, Dies at 99

Note that NBC Nightly News covered his death in the broadcast on 16 Aug 2011.


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