Richard Nixon photo

Proclamation 4187—National Inventors' Day

February 06, 1973

By the President of the United States Of America

A Proclamation

In 1646, the Massachusetts General Court granted an immigrant ironworker named Joseph Jenks the first patent for machinery issued in what was then British North America—a 14 year monopoly on watermills for the "speedy dispatch of much worke with few hands." That was the beginning of what has become a long and proud tradition in this country.

The creators of our Republic, themselves the inventors of a new form of government, recognized the important role which inventors would play in achieving national progress and, accordingly, gave the Congress the Constitutional authority to grant inventors, for limited times, the exclusive rights to their discoveries. In 1790, Congress did that by establishing the United States Patent System and granting Samuel Hopkins the first patent.

History is filled with evidence of the success of this system. The names of Whitney, McCormick, Morse, Bell, and Edison and the cotton gin, the reaper, the telegraph and telephone, the light bulb, the airplane, transistor, television, are familiar examples of American inventiveness.

Ours is a proud history of technological achievement, but, as I noted in my message to the Congress on Science and Technology last March, it is not enough to take pride in the achievements of the past. Great and complex challenges at home and abroad demand further progress and new technology. Today, as in our past, the inventor must play a crucial role in determining whether we meet these challenges.

In honor of the important role played by inventors in promoting progress in the useful arts and in recognition of the invaluable contribution of inventors to the welfare of our people, the Congress has by Public Law 92-457 designated February 11, 1973 as National Inventors' Day.

It is particularly appropriate to have chosen February 11 as the day on which to honor all inventors in this manner, since it is the birthday of one of our Nation's most outstanding inventors, Thomas Alva Edison, to whom more than 1,000 patents were issued for his various inventions.

Now, Therefore, I, Richard Nixon, President of the United States of America, as authorized and requested by the Congress, call upon the people of the United States to join in celebrating National Inventors' Day with appropriate ceremonies and activities honoring the important role played by inventors in promoting progress in useful arts and in recognition of their invaluable contribution to our welfare.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this sixth day of February, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and seventy-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred ninety-seventh.

Signature of Richard Nixon


Richard Nixon, Proclamation 4187—National Inventors' Day Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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