Miami Valley Inventors Historical Database

The Wright State University Libraries are proud to present:

The Miami Valley Inventors Historical Database

Use this database to learn more about inventors who lived and tinkered in the Miami Valley area between 1814 and 1875. Contained in the database are 1800+ patent documents and 4000 individual names, some with historical notes.

How to use:

Have an ancestor who was an inventor? Search by last name and see if they had a patent. Interested in a particular type of machinery and it’s history in the Miami Valley? Try a keyword search. Also, check out our guide for how to find more patent and trademark information:

What can you find?

During the nineteenth century, the Miami Valley was a leader in innovation. Before there were the Wright Brothers or Charles Kettering, there were the Ira Reynolds, the Whitely family and John Balsley:

  • Ira Reynolds and his son would form Reynolds and Reynolds in the 1860s. Here’s an image retrieved from of Ira Reynolds’ 1871 Book Binding Machine:
  • The Whitely family of inventors would create one of the largest industries in the world. During the late nineteenth century, their Champion Machine Company would become the largest producer of agricultural machinery in the world. It was located in Springfield, Ohio.
  • In 1862, John Balsley invented the safety step ladder. Balsley’s stately home still stands in Dayton’s Oregon District at 419 East Sixth Street and is a testament to his business success. You can find it on the Sanborn Maps at OhioLINK’s DRC

There’s more! Explore the inventor database and read about the first woman in the region to receive a patent: Hannah Conrad in 1862.

Check out the Miami Valley Inventors Historical Database at and then comment below and let us know what else you find!