A lot of discoveries and inventions we have read about in history books almost always tend to give credit to one individual or group for a particular discovery or invention. However, the truth behind these inventions and discoveries is mired in several controversies that will shake the entire foundation of the history we have come to know. Here are 4 of those discoveries and inventions whose controversies will really shock you.
The Intermittent Windshield Wiper
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Patent infringement dates back to several years, but faced the hugest controversy in 1964 when American inventor Robert Kearns approached the ‘Big Three’ automobile companies to incorporate his patented intermittent windshield wiper in their cars. The Big Three refused, but soon started adopting a similar design in their cars.
Kearns filed a case against the automobile manufacturers for patent infringement, a case that went on for over 15 years. Finally, he was awarded the rights for the intermittent windshield wiper and was awarded $10 million by Ford and $30 million by Chrysler as compensation.
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Talk about the telephone and the name that automatically pops up in your mind is that of Alexander Graham Bell, considered the father of the telephone. However, the truth behind this invention is rather shocking. According to reports, Bell and another inventor by name of Elisa Gray who filed for the patent for a telephone on the same day.
Although Bell was awarded the patent finally, it was found out later that he had bribed the patent officers into doing so and had also added several parts to the patent after filing it. A patent officer later went on to testify in court that Bell had actually paid him to let him have a look at Gray’s plans.
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Although Isaac Newton is considered to be the Father of the Calculus, he shares the honor with another mathematician, Gottfried Leibniz. Both men supposedly worked on different parts of the calculus and published papers completely independent of each other’s work.
In the midst of claims and accusations about infringement and plagiarism, the patent for the calculus was finally awarded to Newton, with Leibniz being credited for offering an alternate form of notation to Newton’s calculus theory.
The First Test Tube Baby
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The first test tube baby was born in 1978 in England. The man who pioneered the research was Robert G. Edwards. However, another test tube baby was born in India exactly three months after that via a different and far superior method founded by Subhash Mukhopadhyay. Unfortunately, no one in India recognized his efforts and he was labelled a fraud, an act that drove him to take his own life in 1981. He would eventually be vindicated, but that would be too little, too late.
Inventions and discoveries, whether patented or unpatented, always tend to land in a lot of controversies. However, some of these controversies have serious claims on the inventors we have grown up reading about, disputing the very work they did to make the world sit up and take notice.