The 2001 Class of Inductees

Updated May 8, 2019 | Infoplease Staff

Robert L. Banks, 1921–1989, and John Paul Hogan, 1919– , POLYPROPYLENE AND HIGH-DENSITY POLYETHYLENE (HDPE). While working for the Phillips Petroleum Company, Banks and Hogan developed two of the world's most commonly used plastics, polypropylene and high-density polyethylene (HDPE). The plastics are used separately and in compounds to create everything from garbage bags and grocery sacks to wire insulation and automotive parts.

Stanley N. Cohen, 1935–, and Herbert W. Boyer, 1936– , RECOMBINANT DNA TECHNOLOGY. Biochemists Boyer and Cohen combined their expertise in 1973 to create the first genetically engineered organism. They did this by splicing together DNA fragments from several different species of an organism, mixing the traits of each to create a previously unknown variation. Their accomplishment is the basis for modern biotechnology. In 1978 Boyer and Cohen's company, Gerentech, was successful in synthesizing human insulin.

Oliver Evans, 1755–1819, HIGH PRESSURE STEAM ENGINE. Evans was one of the first Americans to recognize and explore the potential of cogeneration, the process of using waste energy to produce heat, which had been patented by Sutton Thomas Wood in 1784. He invented a small, high-pressure engine that used exhaust steam to heat water for the boiler. His steam engine contributed greatly to the industrialization of the United States.

Thomas J. Fogarty, 1934– , EMBOLECTOMY BALLOON CATHETER. Dr. Fogarty's embolectomy catheter, which is used to remove blood clots, consists of a small hollow tube (catheter) with a balloon attached to the tip. The tube is inserted into the blood vessel and through the blood clot (embolus). The balloon is then inflated, so that when the tube is pulled out, the balloon drags the clot out with it. Because it is less invasive than regular surgery, this technique reduces the health risks and trauma to the patient. A modified version of the embolectomy catheter is also used in angioplasty to clear plaque from clogged arteries.

Elijah J. McCoy, 1843–1929, IMPROVEMENT IN LUBRICATORS FOR STEAM ENGINES. McCoy, a mechanical engineer from Detroit, Mich., developed an automatic lubricator that provided a constant flow of oil onto machine parts as the machine was working. McCoy's invention, later known as “the real McCoy,” increased the life span and productivity of machines. In all, McCoy received more than 50 patents.

Patsy O. Sherman, 1930– , and Samuel Smith, 1927– , STAIN BLOCKER FOR FABRIC (Scotchgard™). Chemist Patsy Sherman discovered an oil- and water-resistant fabric treatment quite by accident while working for 3M on a new kind of rubber. One day in the lab, an assistant spilled some of a test material on her (the assistant's) canvas shoes and wasn't able to wash it off. Intrigued, Sherman teamed up with colleague Sam Smith to develop what came to be known as Scotchgard™.

Christopher L. Sholes, 1819–1890, TYPEWRITING MACHINE. Publisher and politician Sholes invented the first practical typewriting machine (the name was coined by the Scientific American journal). His chief innovation was the development of the QWERTY keyboard, which is still the one most commonly used today. In this arrangement, the most common letters of the alphabet were placed far apart so that the machine's type bars had time to fall back into place before the next one came up. As a result, Sholes's machine was less subject to jamming and made for more efficient typing.

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