20¢ American Inventors
Issue Date: September 21, 1983
City: Washington, DC
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Lithographed and engraved
This set of four stamps honors some of America's top inventors. Charles Steinmetz devised methods of harnessing high voltage for the Niagara Falls Power Plant, Edwin Armstrong invented FM radio, Nikola Tesla developed the generator and other devices that made alternating current (AC) possible, and Philo T. Farnsworth invented the first television camera.
First US Inventors’ Day
On February 11, 1983, America celebrated its first Inventors’ Day.
Some nations had set aside days to honor their inventors before 1983 and some since. In January of that year, US President Ronald Reagan issued a proclamation establishing February 11, Thomas Edison’s birthday, as Inventors’ Day.
It’s custom in many countries to celebrate Inventors’ Day on the birthday of a noted native inventor. Reagan chose Edison because of his prolific career. Over the course of his life, Edison received 1,093 patents in the US (plus more in other countries) and founded 14 companies – including what would become General Electric.
In his proclamation, Reagan stated that “Inventors are the keystone of the technological progress that is so vital to the economic, environmental, and social well-being of this country. Individual ingenuity and perseverance, spurred by the incentives of the patent system, begin the process that results in improved standards of living, increased public and private productivity, creation of new industries, improved public services, and enhanced competitiveness of American products in world markets.”
Several American inventors have been honored on stamps: