Friday, August 28, 2009

The Inventor Gene

I come from a family of inventors, much of which I had no knowledge of until recent years. When I call my father, Steve Jensen, Electromagnetic Engineer, HAM Radio buff (W6RHM) and all around genius to tell him about my latest idea, he tells me I must have gotten the "inventor gene". He has invented many electronic things, most of which are beyond my mental grasp, however one of his most notable inventions is something many of us come in contact with on a daily basis. On August 21, 1973, in North Hollywood, CA my dad invented the Electronic Ballast for flourescent light bulbs, Patent 3,754,160. The ballast keeps the bulbs from getting hot. Unfortunately for Pops, who was working at the time for a company called "Radiant Industries", they paid him exactly $100 and while he holds the patent, they own the rights to it. Yikes!

The next time you take a ride on a commercial airplane (fly SWA please!) note the two little thingymabobs (technical term) sticking out off the outer edge of each wing. These are called P-Static Precipitators and they keep static energy from building up on the outside of the airplane. The "ropes" were invented by my great grandfather, John Christian Jensen in 1937 under a grant from Curtiss Wright Corporation. I have attached a link to an article he wrote regarding some of his research on lightning. My father has a copy of his most famous "Ball Lightning" photos that the article refers to.,9171,744022,00.html

Maybe this is why I feel a passionate need to keep the inventing legacy of the Jensen family alive!

Please do tell about any of the other inventors past or present in your family!
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