Question: Mark Twain - Was Mark Twain an Inventor? And, What Were Mark Twain's Inventions?
Was Mark Twain an inventor, in addition to being a famous author and humorist? Which inventions did he patent? Was he successful as an inventor? Read more about Inventor Mark Twain.
Answer: Mark Twain - Inventor
Mark Twain (Samuel L. Clemens) received his first patent (#121,992) for the "Improvement in Adjustable and Detachable Straps for Garments" on December 19, 1871. The strap was used to tighten shirts at the waist, and was supposed to take the place of suspenders.
Mark Twain - Other Patents for Inventions
Mark Twain (Samuel L. Clemens) received two other patents: one for a self-pasting scrapbook (1873), and one for a history trivia game (1885). His scrapbook patent was particularly lucrative. According to "The St. Louis Post-Dispatch," he made $200,000 from his other books, and he made $50,000 from the scrapbook alone.
In addition to the three patents known to be associated with Mark Twain, he financed a number of inventions by other inventors, but these investments were never successful and he lost a great deal of money. He was eventually forced to declare bankruptcy. Twain set off on a world-wide lecturing/reading tour--including Australia, New Zealand, India, Ceylon and South Africa--to pay off his debts.
Mark Twain was fascinated by inventions, but his enthusiasm was also his Achilles' heel. He lost a fortune on inventions, which he was sure would make him rich and successful. It has been said that Twain's unsuccessful investments (and his subsequent bankruptcy) lead to depression and a much darker view in his later works.