Jamie Lee Curtis
Answer: They all received U.S. patents on their inventions.
Now try to match the inventor with their inventions:
A diaper equipped
with a pre-moistened baby wipe
A device for buoying
vessels over shoals
A wristwatch for
communication system designed to help the allies in World War II
Here's what they invented:
President Lincoln was issued Patent 6,469 for "A Device for
Buoying Vessels Over Shoals" in 1849 while he was still a
congressman from Illinois. It was never commercialized, but a wooden
model of the device is on display at the Smithsonian Institution.
Zeppo Marx, whose second wife, Barbara, later became the fourth
wife of Frank Sinatra, was the youngest Marx brother, the one
Groucho said was "off screen, by far the wittiest and funniest of
the brothers." Zeppo patented a 1969 wristwatch for cardiac
patients. It had two dials: one driven by the pulse of the wearer
and the other keeping the steady beat of a normal heartbeat. Zeppo
died of lung cancer in 1979 at the age of 78.
Silver screen superstar Hedy Lamarr, born Hedwig Eva Maria
Kiesler in 1914 in Vienna, Austria, teamed up with composer George
Antheil to patent an invention that manipulated radio frequencies
and was intended to prevent the Nazis from intercepting radio-guided
torpedoes in World War II. Lamarr personally knew both Hitler and
Mussolini when she was married to a pro-Nazi arms dealer, the first
of her six future ex-husbands.
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The Navy rejected Lamarr's "Secret Communication System" in World
War II, but the patent, which was issued in 1942 and expired in
1959, served as a foundation in developing technologies that were
used in the Cuban missile crisis, the Vietnam War and the Gulf War.
The U.S. government kept the patent confidential until 1981 because
it was under secrecy orders for national security reasons.
The technology, which is similar to what happens when you hit the
"scan" button on your car radio, was originally known as "frequency
hopping" and is now used in cell phones, pagers, wireless Internet
devices and defense satellites. Hedy Lamarr died in 2000 at the age
Jamie Lee Curtis, star of the 2003 hit movie "Freaky Friday,"
along with "Trading Places," "The Fish that Saved Pittsburgh" and
many other films, received U.S. Patent 4,753,647 in 1988 for a
diaper that holds a pre-moistened baby wipe.
There are additional celebrity inventors who have patented their
inventions, and we'll cover some of them in a future story.
Paul Niemann may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright Paul Niemann 2006