Gizmodo Celebrates the Fathers of Invention on Presidents' Day

Apart from bringing us laws, wars, peace, hanging chads, lobbies, sex scandals, First Ladies and Rough Riders, there have been Presidents and Founding Fathers who have brought us all kinds of gadgets and inventions. Jump to see the best tech that the fearless leaders of the free World had to offer us.

AU: A bit US-centric to be sure. I wonder what gadgets Australian PMs would have come up with? Any ideas, fellow Gizmodians?


Thomas Jefferson, the man who wrote the Declaration of Independence, also brought us the automatic door, swivel chair and designed the first ever macaroni machine. Ben Franklin, while never president, is definitely the geeks' choice for the man who never was but should have been—I mean, faced with he or Al Gore, who would you vote for?—was even more prolific. Blame him for bifocals, lightning rods, glass harmonicas and the odometer, that little counter that racks up your car's mileage, although Jefferson's version was designed for carriages.

Finally, we have President Lincoln, the only US President to have obtained a patent, for a device to lift boats over schoals, after a couple of incidents when travelling by boat, first in 1831, and then in 1848, whilst travelling home from Congress. The patent application reads: "Be it known that I, Abraham Lincoln, of Springfield, in the county of Sangamon, in the state of Illinois, have invented a new and improved manner of combining adjustable buoyant air chambers with a steam boat or other vessel for the purpose of enabling their draught of water to be readily lessened to enable them to pass over bars, or through shallow water, without discharging their cargoes." Babraham's design never saw the light of day, however. [Wikipedia]