Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ohio’s Perfect Balance between Creativity and Practicality | Ohio Business Development Coalition | Blog

Ohio’s Perfect Balance between Creativity and Practicality | Ohio Business Development Coalition | Blog

My dear friend Jackie Bassett, founder & CEO of BT Industrials, recently wrote an interesting piece for us on Ohio's innovative history. Following is her story. Thanks, Jackie!

The Ohio brand promise is the state of perfect balance, a place where professional and personal success can be achieved without sacrificing one for the other. Based on our research, it is also a state that offers the perfect balance between creativity and practicality, which has enabled Ohioans to change the world in extraordinary ways.

It’s well known that Ohio’s economy is built upon a legacy of strength in manufacturing and innovation. So it’s no surprise that 61 companies on Fortune’s 1000 list are headquartered in the state. But does the world know how many Inductees into the National Inventor’s Hall Of Fame were either born in, educated in, built their companies in or discovered their inventions in Ohio? Do you? There are more than 30!

Every one of them leveraged that perfect balance between creativity and practicality to make the world a better place for everyone. There is no shortage of historical, practical evidence of exactly how.

By revolutionizing entire industries: Charles Martin Hall had just graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio with a bachelor's degree in chemistry, when he invented his method of manufacturing pure aluminum that proved so commercially successful it reduced the cost of aluminum from $1,200 per kilogram down to 18 cents a pound turning - scarcity into abundance.

Harold McMaster grew up on a tenant farm in northwest Ohio and went on to become a Research Physicist – inventing tempered glass and founding four companies. His breakthrough exponentially advanced solar manufacturing efficiency, as it allowed his company, SCI (Solar Cell Inc.) to coat one solar panel every 30 seconds at a time when SCI’s closest competitor BP Solar, a subsidiary of the oil giant British Petroleum, required six hours.

By improving our quality of life and saving millions of lives: Granville Woods an African-American from Columbus, Ohio merged his passion for electricity and railways and invented railway telegraphy, a communication system that that dramatically cut down accidents and collisions between trains, improving the safety of the railroad system. The third rail used in many of today’s subway systems was his creation. Many of his inventions also served to advanced the use of electricity and were later acquired by Westinghouse and GE bringing, as GE’s corporate brand message says, many “good things to life.”

Garrett Morgan of Cincinnati established himself as a businessman with his sewing machine repair business. But one of his greatest innovation successes was when he, and a team of volunteers, personally donned the safety hood and smoke protector he invented (after learning of a previous fire), and rescued 32 men trapped during an explosion in an underground tunnel 250 feet beneath Lake Erie. The device was then further developed into a gas mask used internationally to save millions of lives.

By raising the standard of living around the world: Thomas Fogarty, born in Cincinnati, invented the lifesaving Embolectomy Catheter while a scrub tech at Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati. It significantly improved the quality of medical care and revolutionized the practice of vascular surgery. Dr Fogarty has been quoted as looking at things and just naturally thinking, “Okay, how can I make this better?'’ and then applying those answers toward advancing the practice of minimally invasive surgery.

Paul Lauterbur of Sidney, Ohio made the application of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) practical. It’s widespread use established magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as the diagnostic tool that would revolutionize radiology. Today the availability of MRI technology spares millions of patients around the world from further suffering from unnecessary and highly invasive exploratory surgery. The 2003 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Paul C Lauterbur (along with Peter Mansfield) as well as the Kyoto Prize for Advanced Technology.

By forever changing, for the better, how we live our lives: Dawon Kahng was born in Seoul, South Korea and immigrated to the United States so he could attend The Ohio State University earning both his master’s and doctorate degrees in Physics. He developed the process that allowed electricity to reliably penetrate and conduct electricity to silicon wafers. Until his breakthrough discovery, this capability had only been theorized. His invention was the first operative silicon MOS transistor, a semiconductor that is the basic element in most of today's electronic equipment, and the floating gate memory cell, the foundation for many forms of semiconductor memory devices.

Irwin Lachman came to The Ohio State University to pursue a ceramic engineering degree and went on to co-invent the substrate used in virtually all Catalytic converters, reducing polluting emissions from the combustion process by 95%. His invention is credited with reducing automotive pollutants by more than 3 billion tons worldwide. Every automotive manufacturer in the world now uses ceramic substrate technology.

By growing the Ohio economy and creating millions of jobs: Charles Brush was a self-made man from Wickliffe, Ohio whose inventive genius of the electric arc light system helped commercialize electricity, illuminating streets around the world. The Brush Electric Company ultimately formed what is now the General Electric Company, a hallmark of our global economy.

Lester Pelton of Vermillion, Ohio invented a water wheel, which delivered more than 90 percent efficiency as opposed to other water wheels that were at best 40 percent efficient. This water wheel has been recognized as the beginning of hydroelectric power development and it is still used throughout the world today.

Harvey Firestone of Akron Ohio took $20,000 worth of assets and grew his tire sales and manufacturing business, Firestone Tire and Rubber, into the multibillion-dollar global company that it is today, creating millions of jobs.

About the Author: Jackie Bassett is Founder & CEO of BT Industrials, a strategic management and technology consultancy. She is also author of “Drawing On Brilliance”, a rescued collection of original patent lithographs designed to inspire the creative genius in everyone.


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