Obit of the Day: Inventor of the Pacemaker
Wilson Greatbatch received patent number 3,057,356 on October 9, 1962. With that patent Mr. Greatbatch staked his claim to one of the ten “greatest engineering contributions to society during the past 50 years” (National Society of Professional Engineers, 1983). Oh, and he helped save the lives of hundreds of thousands of heart patients around the world.
Greatbatch, an electrical engineer by training, made a technological leap by developing a safe, implantable pacemaker. Prior to his invention pacemakers would be “portable,” forcing patients to carry an external device with them to maintain their heart rhythm. The implantable device gave those who had arrythmias and other cardiac problems a greater freedom.
Although the pacemaker was he greatest contribution, Mr. Greatbatch patented over 150 different items. He was inducted into the National Inventors’ Hall of Fame in Akron, Ohio in 1988. (No idea why it’s located in Akron.)
Mr. Greatbatch’s smartest piece of advice: “Nine things out of ten won’t work. The tenth one will pay for the other nine.”
He was 92.
Note: His wife, Eleanor, who handmade all of her husband’s bowties, died nine months earlier in January 2011. They were married for sixty years.
(Image courtesy of radcomms.net)
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