Charles Duell- US Patent Office
"Everything that can be invented has been invented." --Charles H. Duell, U.S. Patent Office director, 1899
What brings the above quote to mind is the new computer I got recently. Brandy new, latest and greatest. with the biggest and best whatsits and widgits. I opened the box, plugged the machine in, and the first thing it does once it gets online is start downloading updates. 43 updates to be exact. Still amazes me that computer companies are so anxious to get their new product out the door that they build and ship them knowing there are problems and then let the consumer find all the bugs and other problems for them and then they come up with a downloadable "fix". Oops, to get back on topic...
We see new inventions and devices all the time now-a-days. IPods, laptops, notebooks, digital cameras, cell phones... the list could go on seemingly forever, so it's pretty obvious that when our buddy Chuck Duell made his famous quote about inventions, he was totally WRONG! But I got to wondering if the director of the patent office really would make such a statement so I did a little research into Duell's quote. A company named TRW probably made the quote famous with full page newspaper ads that I recall seeing in the mid 80's. What I discovered is a rather interesting story really of how a statement can be restated enough different places to become "fact".
What Duell really said as near as I can tell is "The advancement of the arts, from year to year, taxes our credulity and seems to presage the arrival of that period when human improvement must end." If you are interested in the whole story and the documentation I most trusted from my research into the quote, it's available here... http://www.myoutbox.net/posass.htm
If you search the Internet for the quote, there are numerous "quote" web sites that attribute the exact statement to Duell. So what's my point, unless you hear the whole quote first hand, it might be fabricated, altered, or otherwise out of context. Dang, makes you wonder if there is any information source out there you can really trust.