- Collection ID:
Greatbatch, Wilson, 1919-
Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.
- Physical Description:
This collection contains original and master videos documenting Wilson Greatbatch, inventor of the Cardiac Pacemaker. Greatbatch demonstrates the circuitry of his implantable pacemaker and discusses his life as an inventor.
Scope and Contents note
Scope and Contents note
This collection consists of approximately 2 hours of original (BetaCam SP) video recordings and reference (viewing) copies (VHS) documenting Wilson Greatbatch's presentation about the invention of the cardiac pacemaker. Dr. Greatbatch demonstrates the circuitry of his implantable pacemaker and discusses his life as an inventor.
Collection is arranged into three series.
Series 1: Original Videos
Series 2: Master Videos
Series 3: Reference Videos
Series 4: Photographs and Slides
Wilson Greatbatch was born in Buffalo, New York in 1919. He received his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Cornell University in 1950 and his master's degree from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo in 1957. Greatbatch first learned of heart block in 1951. He knew that a pacemaker could cure it, but he couldn't build one small enough to be implanted with the materials then available. Conducting research and experiments in a workshop in the barn behind his house in upstate New York, Greatbatch invented in 1958, the device that has saved hundreds of thousands of lives over the years. In 1970, he founded Wilson Greatbatch, Ltd. (WGL), to develop and manufacture reliable, long lived batteries for the implantable pacemaker. WGL produced the first lithium iodine battery for implantable pacemakers in 1972. In addition to numerous honors and awards, Greatbatch was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1986.
Ownership and Custodial History
The collection was transferred to the Archives Center on July 9, 1997.
Immediate Source of Acquisiton
This collection was created by the Innovative Lives Program of The Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation on October 8, 1996. The Innovative Lives series brings young people and American inventors together to discuss inventions and the creative process and to experiment and play with hands-on activities related to each inventor's product.
Collection processed by Alison Oswald, July 1997.
Using the Collection
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Museum controls rights. Signed release on file.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research but the original videos are stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at email@example.com or 202-633-3270.
Wilson Greatbatch Innovative Lives Presentation, 1996, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012