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Catalog Data

Greatbatch, Wilson, 1919-  Search this
Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.  Search this
Berger, Sondra  Search this
Wilson Greatbatch, Ltd.  Search this
0.25 Cubic feet (3 boxes)
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Oral history
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:
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
Biographical/Historical note:
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.
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 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 or 202-633-3270.
Museum controls rights. Signed release on file.
Inventors -- 1950-2000  Search this
Inventions -- 1950-2000  Search this
Cardiac pacemaker industry  Search this
Heart block  Search this
Electric engineering -- 1950-2000  Search this
Cardiac pacing  Search this
Cardiac pacemakers  Search this
Slides  Search this
Photographs  Search this
Oral history -- 1990-2000
Interviews -- 1980-2000
Videotapes -- 1990-2000
Wilson Greatbatch Innovative Lives Presentation, 1996, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Wilson Greatbatch Innovative Lives Presentation
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History