quotations about invention and inventing
Necessity [is] the mother of invention.
GEORGE FARQUHAR, The Twin Rivals
If we have learned one thing from the history of invention and discovery, it is that, in the long run -- and often in the short one -- the most daring prophecies seem laughably conservative.
ARTHUR C. CLARKE, The Exploration of Space
Necessity first mothered invention. Now invention has little ones of her own, and they look just like grandma.
E.B. WHITE, The New Yorker, Jun. 19, The New Yorker, Jun. 19, 1937
Over the years, I have learned that every significant invention has several characteristics. By definition it must be startling, unexpected, and must come into a world that is not prepared for it. If the world were prepared for it, it would not be much of an invention.
EDWIN H. LAND, "A Talk with Polaroid's Dr. Edwin Land", Forbes, April 1, Forbes, April 1, 1975
How little inventiveness there is in man,
Grave copier of copies.
JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL, The Cathedral
Invention is both the institution of problem solving and advancing human obsolescence. We were naturally selected to replace ourselves.
AARON DIAZ, Twitter, February 4, 2010
The best inventions are usually made by outsiders unaware of what "can't be done".
MARTIN MANN, "What Should You Invent?", Popular Science, March 1961
We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.
KURT VONNEGUT, If This Isn't Nice, What Is?
The inventor ... looks upon the world and is not contented with things as they are. He wants to improve whatever he sees, he wants to benefit the world; he is haunted by an idea. The spirit of invention possesses him, seeking materialization.
ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL, attributed on plaque in the entrance to the Alexander Graham Bell Museum in Baddeck, Nova Scotia, Canada
Every great new invention was denounced. The first motor was considered foolish. The airplane was considered impossible. The power loom was considered vicious. Anesthesia was considered sinful. But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered and they paid. But they won.
AYN RAND, The Fountainhead
I don't think necessity is the mother of invention -- invention, in my opinion, arises directly from idleness, possibly also from laziness. To save oneself trouble.
AGATHA CHRISTIE, An Autobiography
Invention breeds invention.
RALPH WALDO EMERSON, Society and Solitude
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness.
T.S. ELIOT, The Rock
Invention consists in the capacity of seizing on the capabilities of a subject, and in the power of moulding and fashioning ideas suggested to it.
MARY SHELLEY, introduction, Frankenstein
Every invention eventually becomes obsolete.
MICK FARREN, Darklost
Think for a moment of the great agents and engines of our civilization, and then think what shadowy ideas they all once were. The wheels of the steamship turned as swiftly as they do now, but as silent and unsubstantial as the motions of the inventor's thought; and in the noiseless loom of his meditation were woven the sinews of the printing-press, whose thunder shakes the world.
E. H. CHAPIN, Living Words
Although human ingenuity may devise various inventions which, by the help of various instruments, answer to one and the same purpose, yet will it never discover any inventions more beautiful, more simple or more practical than those of nature.
LEONARDO DA VINCI, Thoughts on Art and Life
Men are in fact, quite unable to control their own inventions; they at best develop adaptability to the new conditions those inventions create
JOHN GALSWORTHY, The Forsyte Saga
You don't want to be Tesla. He was one of the greatest inventors, but it's a sad, sad story. He couldn't commercialize anything, he could barely fund his own research. You'd want to be more like Edison. If you invent something, that doesn't necessarily help anybody. You've got to actually get it into the world; you've got to produce, make money doing it so you can fund it.
LARRY PAGE, CNNMoney interview, May 1, 2008
Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void, but out of chaos.
MARY SHELLEY, introduction, Frankenstein