We wanted to pay brief tribute to an inventor you’ve likely never heard of: Robert Harvey Rines of Boston, who died last week at the age of 87.
Perhaps known best for his outlandish pursuits of the Loch Ness monster—not that people would have knocked him had his inventive Nessie perfume actually attracted the mythical creature—Rines is one of those day-in, day-out tinkerers & toilers who profoundly impacted many of us by way of his 800+ patents and other actions in support of invention. Among the reasons we pause to reflect, he:
- Developed electronic gear that improved the resolution of radar and sonar, which in turn has been used in everything from ultrasounds to Patriot missiles to finding the Titanic wreck
- Furthered innovation as a patent examiner in the 1940s and later as a member of the Department of Commerce’s Technical Advisory Board
- Founded the Franklin Pierce Law Center to train law students on intellectual property law
- Helped the Taiwanese and later Chinese governments establish initial patent review processes where there had previously been none
- Provided experienced-based input and insight to Congress when it re-wrote patent laws in 2000
So RIP Robert Rines. We appreciate your passion, your commitment, your contributions, and yes, your quirkiness too. You did Nessie proud... even if your trained dolphins with cameras never caught the creature on film.