Inventor's Day

February 11 marks National Inventors Day. Take a moment to recognize the contributions of inventors—in the United States and beyond—with this book list all about creators and innovators.

Compiled by:
Amber M.
America the Ingenious: How a Nation of Dreamers, Immigrants, and Tinkerers Changed the World

Kevin Baker
Adult Nonfiction – 609.73 Bak

All made in America: the skyscraper and subway car. The telephone and telegraph. The safety elevator and safety pin. Plus the microprocessor, amusement park, MRI, supermarket, Pennsylvania rifle, and Tennessee Valley Authority. Not to mention the city of Chicago or jazz or that magnificent Golden Gate Bridge. What is it about America that makes us a nation of inventors, tinkerers, researchers, and adventurers—and what is it that makes America such a fertile place to explore, discover, and launch the next big thing?

Black Inventors: Crafting Over 200 Years of Success

Keith C. Holmes
Adult Nonfiction – 609 Hol

Highlights the work of Black inventors from over 70 countries. The author, Keith C. Holmes, has spent more than twenty years researching information on inventions by Black people from Australia, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, France, Germany, Gambia, Ghana, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.

Drive!: Henry Ford, George Selden, and the Race to Invent the Auto Age

Lawrence Goldstone
Adult Nonfiction – 338.4762 Gol

The fascinating story of how the internal combustion engine, a “theory looking for an application,” evolved into an innovation that would change history. Debunking many long-held myths along the way, Drive! shows that the creation of the automobile was not the work of one man, but very much a global effort. Long before anyone had heard of Henry Ford, men with names like Benz, Peugeot, Renault, and Daimler were building and marketing  the world’s first cars.

The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution

Walter Isaacson
Adult Nonfiction – 004.09 Isa

"The computer and the internet are among the most important innovations of our era, but few people know who created them. There were a lot of fascinating people involved, some ingenious and a few even geniuses. This is the story of these pioneers, hackers, inventors, and entrepreneurs—who they were, how their minds worked, and what made them so creative. It’s also a narrative of how they collaborated and why their ability to work as teams made them even more creative." —Goodreads

Patents: Ingenious Inventions: How They Work and How They Came to Be

Ben Ikenson
Adult Nonfiction – 608 Ik

Features dozens of notable patents, from the airplane, brassiere, chain saw, and fire hydrant to the Internet, parachute, plunger, and zipper. The purpose of each device is explained in accessible language, along with background about the inventor, interesting sidebars and history, and an excerpt from the original patent application. The artwork throughout includes photos of original models, and patent diagrams created by the inventors themselves, annotated to show exactly how each item works.

The Perfection of the Paper Clip: Curious Tales of Invention, Accidental Genius, and Stationery Obsession

James Ward
Adult Nonfiction – 651.2 War

This wonderfully quirky book will change the way you look at your desk forever, with stories of accidental genius, bitter rivalries, and an appreciation for everyday objects—like the humble but perfectly designed paper clip and the utilitarian, irreplaceable pencil. In a delightfully witty and fresh voice, James Ward explores the secret histories of deskbound supplies, encouraging a deeper appreciation and fascination for the things that surround us each day.

ReMaking History. Volume 1, Early Makers

William Gurstelle
Adult Nonfiction – 609 Gur
Series: ReMaking History

Examines a remarkable individual or group of people from the past whose insights and inventions helped create the world we live in. Each chapter also includes step-by-step instructions for making your own version of a historical invention, bringing history to life in a way you have never experienced before.

Tesla vs. Edison: The Life-Long Feud that Electrified the World

Nigel Cawthorne
Adult Nonfiction – 601.9 Pal

While Thomas Edison, the most famous inventor in American history, gets all the glory, Nikola Tesla today is largely unknown and overlooked among the great scientists of the modern era. Yet today our homes and electrical appliances run on Tesla's AC current. Who really is the Electric King: Edison or Tesla?

Wonder Women : 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History

Sam Maggs
Adult Nonfiction – 920 Mag

Smart women have always been able to achieve amazing things—even when the odds were stacked against them. Sam Maggs tells the stories of the brilliant, brainy, and totally rad women in history who broke barriers as scientists, engineers, mathematicians, adventurers, and inventors. Also includes interviews with real-life women in STEM careers, an extensive bibliography, and a guide to women-centric science and technology organizations.

You Belong to the Universe: Buckminster Fuller and the Future

Jonathan Keats
Adult Nonfiction – 921 Fuller Kea

A document of Fuller's six-decade quest to "make the world work for one hundred percent of humanity." Delving deeply into Buckminster Fuller's colorful world, Keats applies Fuller's most important concepts to present-day issues—from transportation to climate change, urban design to educationarguing that his ideas are now not only feasible, but necessary.