Article image

Quotes About the Spirit of Invention

Humans aren’t the only creatures on our planet that possess the gift of invention. Some species of crows have been making simple tools, such as hooks, since long before we walked the earth. And species that existed before the emergence of Homo sapiens used stone tools, spears, and learned how to control fire. But of the estimated 8.7 million species on our planet today — the vast majority of which are animals — none have demonstrated the same spirit of invention as human beings.

The wheel is a classic example of human innovation, first used around 3500 BCE in the potter’s wheel, and a few hundred years later in chariots. But long before the wheel, we had already invented sewing needles, woven cloth, basket weaving, rope, kilns, seawalls, boats, dental drills, and the flute.

From there, people just kept on inventing, changing the world and the way we live with each momentous step. The printing press, light bulbs, clocks, and telephones; vaccines, automobiles, airplanes, the personal computer, and the internet. Famous names were etched into the history books: Archimedes, Da Vinci, Edison, Curie, Marconi, to name just a few.

And today, human innovation shows no signs of slowing down, as the inventors of the present push forward with the same spirit shown by the great experimenters of the past. Here, some of these famous names share what drives them to create and innovate, despite the odds they often work against.

The knowledge of all things is possible.
Leonardo da Vinci

Share Quote

As we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours; and this we should do freely and generously.
Benjamin Franklin

Share Quote

When I have fully decided that a result is worth getting I go ahead of it and make trial after trial until it comes.
Thomas Edison

Share Quote

The progressive development of man is vitally dependent on invention. It is the most important product of his creative brain. Its ultimate purpose is the complete mastery of mind over the material world, the harnessing of the forces of nature to human needs. This is the difficult task of the inventor who is often misunderstood and unrewarded.
Nikola Tesla

Share Quote

The inventor looks upon the world and is not contented with things as they are. He wants to improve whatever he sees, he wants to benefit the world; he is haunted by an idea. The spirit of invention possesses him, seeking materialization.
Alexander Graham Bell

Share Quote

If we all worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true is really true, there would be little hope of advance.
Orville Wright

Share Quote

An inventor fails 999 times, and if he succeeds once, he's in. He treats his failures simply as practice shots.
Charles Kettering

Share Quote

To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.
Thomas Edison

Share Quote

Believe in the power of truth … Do not allow your mind to be imprisoned by majority thinking. Remember that the limits of science are not the limits of imagination.
Dr. Patricia E. Bath

Share Quote

If it's a good idea, go ahead and do it. It's much easier to apologize than it is to get permission.
Grace Hopper

Share Quote

I made 5,127 prototypes of my vacuum before I got it right. There were 5,126 failures. But I learned from each one. That’s how I came up with a solution. So I don’t mind failure. I’ve always thought that schoolchildren should be marked by the number of failures they’ve had. The child who tries strange things and experiences lots of failures to get there is probably more creative.
Sir James Dyson

Share Quote

Let’s go invent tomorrow rather than worrying about what happened yesterday.
Steve Jobs

Share Quote

The invention is by its very nature disruptive. If you want to be understood at all times, then don't do anything new.
Jeff Bezos

Share Quote

I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success … Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything.
Nikola Tesla

Share Quote

I guess that's just the life of an inventor: what people do with your ideas takes you totally by surprise.
Stephanie Kwolek

Share Quote

Featured image credit: Justin Sullivan/ Staff/ Getty Images

Author image
About the Author
Tony Dunnell
Tony is an English writer of non-fiction and fiction living on the edge of the Amazon jungle.
Play more header background
Play more icon
Daily Question
What playwright said, “Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand"?

More Inspiration

happiness theme icon

'Tis never too late to be wise.

separator icon
Daniel Defoe
motivation theme icon

Trust your gut. Forgive yourself. Be grateful.

separator icon
Cheryl Strayed
hope theme icon

He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.

separator icon
Friedrich Nietzsche
love theme icon

There is always light, if only we're brave enough to see it. If only we're brave enough to be it.

separator icon
Amanda Gorman
wisdom theme icon

The winds and waves are always on the side of the ablest navigators.

separator icon
Edward Gibbon
happiness theme icon

Love is space and time made perceptible to the heart.

separator icon
Marcel Proust
motivation theme icon

One does not get better but different and older and that is always a pleasure.

separator icon
Gertrude Stein
hope theme icon

My only advice is to stay aware, listen carefully, and yell for help if you need it.

separator icon
Judy Blume
love theme icon

Life was meant to be lived, and curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.

separator icon
Eleanor Roosevelt
wisdom theme icon

The chief danger in life is that you may take too many precautions.

separator icon
Alfred Adler
happiness theme icon

One shouldn't just hope to be treated well: one must insist on it.

separator icon
Abraham Verghese