Every generation gets the luxury of living in the Golden Age of Inventions. In my life as an adult I have seen everything from microwave ovens to telephone answering machines to bank ATMs to the internet to TIVO to hundreds of other useful ideas made real that Americans use all the time.
Imagine being one of those guys - still alive today -who made such an impact.
Les Paul: "Yeah, I invented the electric guitar."
Peter Dunn and Albert Wood: "Right, we invented Viagra. I know. It's funny my name is 'Wood.' I get that a lot."
Scott Olsen: "Do I know what rollerblades are? I invented them."
I bring up the topic after receiving an email from blog reader Niki about the man who invented the record album cover.
Alex Steinweiss is eighty years old now but was just 23 in 1939 when he suggested to Columbia records that they were missing a marketing opportunity by selling their records in plain paper sleeves.
His first cover, for a collection of Rodgers & Hart songs, sold so well that he was instructed to design covers for all of the label's new releases and eventually created artwork for over 850 albums for artists like Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, and Count Basie.
Interested in finding out more? A biography called, For The Record: The Life And Work of Alex Steinweiss, Inventor Of The Album Cover came out in 2000 and is available here.
And if you are in southern California between now and 12 February, check out the exhibit of Steinweiss's original album covers, paintings, and collages at the Robert Berman Gallery in Santa Monica.