Art Science Innovation Engineering and Design :  all rely upon the protection of ideas manifested in works capable of definition in words and images. Great example in modern history is the lifes works of the late Steve Jobs CEO and founder of Apple. The Smithsonian has been quick to recognise  this outstanding contribution and has honoured this work with a unique collection and exhibition. But it reflects and connects with much more than just the exhibition.

Here abstracted from The NYT article from November 2011 is a snapshot as an infographic, of a range of the key products that have impacted on many households in many countries. I still have my original Macintosh SE it cost with software £6,000 plus who would pay that for a pc in today’s money? We think a Mac Airbook or Ipad is expensive.

How far technology has come in just the last 20 years and how it has pervaded family life in the western world. We have mentioned before the early pc’s and macs as antiques of the future, maybe don’t throw away your earliest iPod. It was the start of a revolution in consumer products or was it…more of that later.

  • We moved from the radical innovation of the Sony Walkman oh so quickly (yep still have one of those too) to the Ipod
  • From the lunchbox clunky mobile to Smartphones that are even more technologically advanced than your laptop
  • Steve Jobs made even more money from his original artworks than Damien Hirst now that’s intriguing.
  • How will this impact on your history project and family history, we will be exploring that further below and beyond
  • What about the connections between Arts, Creativity, Science & Innovation and Business Trade and Industry, has this a connection to your history?
  • Looking back across the history of the protection of original works products and designs,  how did  this system evolve for protecting intellectual property and endeavours so that the original designer could protect their efforts endeavours and economic interests. This has been vital to the success and sustainability of industry and trade.
  • What happens next in an increasingly open world where its so easy to copy & paste , share, collaborate and connect?
So here is the snapshot of the graphic, we have over 21,000 US Patents filed that reference Steve Jobs and his colleagues that’s one heck of a body of work. Rarely has a product designer let alone a technologist had his own collection exhibited, quite an achievement.

NYT the Nov 2011 Article in the New York Times

Browse the full patents, see the results we found using ‘Steve Jobs Apple’ as the search criteria on the US Patent Office Site and a visual timeline from 2008 of Apples products in Wired, it was just 25 years since they started the company.

The narrative to the timeline for apple you can read and see in Marketplace

Finally here is the update on the Smithsonian Blog about the specific exhibition

Patents as artefacts, do you have any in the scope of your history project or family history, what occupations and organisations were your family involved with and what wider family connections just might have existed. Definitely worth checking out.


Watch for further articles on the history of protecting inventions and original works and how it fuelled the economic success of empire and nation-states…plus what happens next in an open world, with Welcome already demanding open public access to research they fund within 6 months of  1st publication. There could be some intriguing outcomes as well as historic connections.






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