Photograph by Advertising Archive/Courtesy Everett Collection

Technology's Forgotten Pioneers

  1. Forgotten Inventors

    Forgotten Inventors

    In honor of Eugene Polley—the infrequently credited inventor of the wireless remote control, who died on Sunday at the age of 96—we remember some other influential but neglected inventors who have felt the sting of stolen glory.

    Photograph by Advertising Archive/Courtesy Everett Collection
  2. Mouse


    Many people associate the mouse with Steve Jobs or Xerox, but the real inventor is Douglas Engelbart, a Stanford University researcher who created the first prototype in 1964.

    Photograph by Apic/Getty Images
  3. Telephone


    While Alexander Graham Bell is often cited as the inventor of the telephone, he was competing neck and neck with Elisha Gray (who also invented one of the earliest electrical musical instruments) to file patent documents for the invention. There’s another party involved, too: In 2002, Congress recognized the contributions Italian American inventor Antonio Meucci made to the invention of the telephone.

  4. Television


    Despite the widespread belief that RCA invented the TV, the credit belongs to Philo Farnsworth, who in 1927 invented the first working television. Here, TV pioneer Philo Farnsworth with early tv equipment he invented in 1939.

    Photograph by Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
  5. Windshield Wipers

    Windshield Wipers

    Inventor Robert Kearns received his first patent for the intermittent windshield wiper in 1967. He spent his life suing carmakers for infringement, and despite receiving $30 million in settlements from Ford and Chrysler, he never realized his dream of becoming a major manufacturer of wiper motors.

    Photograph by Grant Faint/Getty Images
  6. Light Bulb

    Light Bulb

    Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, right? It's actually unclear. Many other inventors had tinkered with the light bulb before Edison, including Joseph Swan, who demonstrated a working bulb in 1879, the same year Edison filed his patent.

    Photogaph by Patrick Llewelyn-Davies/Getty Images
  7. Flying Machine

    Flying Machine

    Orville and Wilbur Wright are often credited with constructing the first successful airplane, in 1903. But aviator Gustave Whitehead claimed to have flown in 1901 and 1902, and Richard Pearse advocates assert the New Zealand inventor took flight in 1903, earlier than the Wright brothers.