National Inventors Hall of Fame announces 2006 inductees

Inventors' work gave us Gore-Tex(R) outerwear, the Internet, fiberglass insulation

Washington, D.C. (February 8, 2006)--Continuing its commitment to honor invention and innovation, the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation has recognized the next group of world-class inventors who will be inducted into its ranks. This year's class includes a diverse sampling, such as Robert Gore, who gave us the material that's now known by the GORE-TEX® brand name; Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn, who are often referred to as the "fathers of the Internet;" and Julio Palmaz, who revolutionized cardiac care with his intravascular stent.

The 2006 group includes eight living inventors who represent accomplishments that have bettered our quality of life. From advancing digital imaging to better ways of administering medicine, and from modernizing the printing process to enabling the widespread use of the Internet, the work of each inventor has had an impact on all of our lives.

The 2006 class of inductees:


  • Willard Boyle, George Smith: Charge-coupled device
  • Vinton Cerf, Robert Kahn: Internet Protocol
  • Robert Gore: ePTFE, known by the GORE-TEX® brand name
  • Ali Javan: Helium-neon laser
  • Robert Langer, Jr.: Controlled drug delivery
  • Julio Palmaz: Intravascular stent


  • Herman Affel, Lloyd Espenschied: Coaxial cable
  • Gregory Pincus: Oral contraceptive pill
  • Richard Hoe: Rotary printing press
  • Benjamin Holt: Caterpillar track-type tractor
  • Dale Kleist, Games Slayter, John Thomas: Fiberglass
  • William Upjohn: Dissolvable pill
  • Granville Woods: Railroad telegraph
  • Karl Bosch, Fritz Haber: Ammonia production process
  • Elihu Thomson: Arc lighting

Every year, the National Inventors Hall of Fame honors through induction the individuals whose work has changed society and improved the way we live. Their vision, hard work and creative drive have led to powerful new tools that shape the future while celebrating invention. The 2006 class will be inducted this year during the annual ceremonies held on May 5-6 in Akron, Ohio.

"This year's group of inventors has influenced the way we live our lives day to day, " said Fred Allen, head of the Selection Committee for the National Inventors Hall of Fame. "It's an honor to nationally recognize their valuable achievements and contributions, as they truly exemplify innovation."

This year's inductees are an accomplished group:

Herman Affel (1893-1972), Lloyd Espenschied (1889-1986) Coaxial cable
While at AT&T Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1929, Affel and Espenschied invented coaxial cable. The cable advanced long distance telephone service, making it possible to carry thousands of simultaneous phone calls on long distance circuits.

Karl Bosch (1884-1940), Fritz Haber (1868-1934) Ammonia production process
The Haber-Bosch process has remained unchanged since the early 1900s, and is used today to manufacture thousands of tons of ammonia used worldwide in the production of fertilizer.

Willard Boyle (1924- ), George Smith (1930-) Charge-coupled device
The charge-coupled device (CCD) was key to advancing digital imaging technology, and can be found in most imaging devices including digital cameras, scanners and satellite surveillance.

Vinton Cerf (1943- ), Robert Kahn (1938- ) Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)
Cerf and Kahn created the Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) that allows the widespread use of the Internet. Cerf and Kahn are often referred to as the "fathers of the Internet."

Robert Gore (1937- ) ePTFE
Gore invented a new form of polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) widely known by the GORE-TEX®
brand name. Valued by outdoor enthusiasts, GORE-TEX® materials also have applications in medical, industrial, electrical and textile products.

Richard Hoe (1812-1886) Rotary printing press
Hoe's advanced printing press technology allowed for the development of the first mass media, and revolutionized newspaper printing.

Benjamin Holt (1849-1920) Track-type tractor
Holt ushered in the modern era of mechanized farming with his invention, the first track-type tractor known as the "Caterpillar." The tractor went on to be applied not just to agriculture, but also earthmoving and military operations.

Ali Javan (1926- ) Helium-neon laser
The helium-neon laser is the most useful, practical and profitable type of laser in use today. It made holography practical, is used in UPC code checkout scanners and is critical for a wide range of construction, medical and monitoring technologies.

Robert Langer (1948- ) Controlled Drug Delivery
Langer revolutionized biomedical technology through the development of a controlled drug delivery system. He also pioneered a variety of remotely controlled drug delivery systems that vary the amount of drug released through electric impulse, ultrasound and magnetic fields.

Julio Palmaz (1945- ) Intravascular Stent
The Palmaz® Stent was the first commercially successful intravascular stent. It has revolutionized cardiac care, with more than a million people undergoing coronary artery stenting annually to repair clogged arteries.

Gregory Pincus (1903-1967) Oral contraceptive pill
By creating the first practical oral contraceptive, the birth control pill, in the 1950s, Gregory Pincus brought privacy and convenience to women worldwide.

Games Slayter (1896-1964), Dale Kleist (1909-1998), John Thomas (1907-1991) Fiberglass
In the 1930s, the trio developed the method for mass production of affordable fiberglass, the basis for Owens-Corning Fiberglas® Corporation. Today, Owens Corning is a $5 billion global leader, manufacturing not just glass fiber insulation, but also glass fiber impregnated laminates used in sports cars, boats and bathroom fixtures.

Elihu Thomson (1853-1937) Arc lighting
Thomson was an integral contributor to the development of electricity as a power and light source during the turn of the 20th century.

William Upjohn (1853-1932) Dissolvable pill
In 1880, Upjohn began developing a pill that dissolved easily in the stomach. In 1884 he invented a machine to mass-produce these pills with a regulated dosage.

Granville Woods (1856-1910) Railroad telegraph
A prolific inventor, Woods developed the railroad telegraph, a device that transmitted messages between moving trains. Prior to its creation, moving trains were unable to communicate with each other or with rail stations.

Inventors may be nominated by anyone for induction into the Hall of Fame, but they must hold a U.S. patent to be considered. The nominee's invention must have contributed to the welfare of society and have promoted the progress of science and the useful arts. All nominations are reviewed by the Selection Committee, comprised of representatives from national science and technology organizations.


The not-for-profit National Inventors Hall of Fame is the premier organization in America dedicated to honoring and fostering creativity and invention. Each year a new class of inventors is inducted into the Hall of Fame in recognition of their patented inventions that make human, social and economic progress possible. Founded in 1973 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the National Council of Intellectual Property Law Association, the Hall's permanent home is Akron, Ohio, where the inventors in the Hall are honored and from where it administers its national programs, including Camp Invention®, Club Invention®, Invent Now®, and the Collegiate Inventors Competition®.

Note: For more information, including image access, visit the National Inventors Hall of Fame web site at for downloads. For further questions, including inventor interview inquiries, please contact Rini Paiva, National Inventors Hall of Fame, at 330.388.6160 or [email protected].

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Apr 2016
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