Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Inventors and the Bible (Part One: Adam and Eve)

by Steve Reiss (

I am not a very religious person, but a little blurb about Adam and & Eve caught my eye as I read the 1888 book, Curiosities of the US Patent Office, written by then-examiner William Raymond. Even today, this dusty, worm-holed filed book remains quite quotable.

On page 102, Raymond quotes from Genesis 3:6 (emphasis added):

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Raymond postulates (emphasis in original):
For them to have sewed, without using the needle, would have been utterly impossible, therefore they must have invented one; but whether from a thorn or a fish bone, is a matter of conjecture.
While Raymond says it is an open question as to whether the credit for inventing the needle should go to Adam or Eve; Raymond misses that maybe Adam and Eve were not only the first inventors, but also the first joint inventors.

In a future post, we will look to the inventiveness of Noah.

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