Celebrity Inventors

Celebrities are well-known faces, but they might not be known for all their accomplishments. A famous musician, author, or actor might also have some other talent inside them, but even their fans might not be aware of these.

There have actually been several celebrities who’ve invented certain gadgets or items. Some of these flopped; others are widely used even today.

Read up on some celebrity inventors below and see whether one can learn anything from their work:

Eddie Van Halen

This was the lead singer f the band Van Halen. He had a huge following in the metal genre but also had three patents under his belt. When he had just released his 1984 album, which was highly successful, Van Halen made a musical instrument support and patented it. With this support, a guitar player could attach his instrument to his waist without needing the support of their hands.

We’ve all seen guitarists use this very same support, and now we know who was behind the invention. Perhaps it was through being a musician that Van Halen realized the need for this contraption. With this support, guitarists were able to create new playing techniques and hence come up with sounds never heard before.


Prince was and still is a highly popular musician. His work spans several genres, showcasing his innovative talent. Prince is also known for other eccentric actions, such as asking that he be called “The artist formerly known as Prince”. He also changed the previous name into a symbol. He was also known as “The Purple One”.

However, his innovations weren’t just musical and personal. He was quite a talented designer as well. He has his own patent for a keytar, filed in 1992. This was a very outlandish piece of work, but it was in keeping with his image and taste.

The keytar had arrows, wide curves, and was characteristically purple in color. It was named the Purpleaxxe, though the artist himself never played it.  Tommy Barbarella was the one to actually use this invention.

Neil Young

Young is widely known as a legend in the folk-rock genre.  He is also a serious train enthusiast and has taken his interest to new levels. He is hence co-owner of Lionel a firm based in the United States. This firm is responsible for designing and importing model trains.

This musician hence has several patents for train models and other inventions related to the business. These include a control feature for horns, which had a sound generator for producing horn sounds according to the vehicle’s speed.

Jamie Lee Curtis

Curtis is a very famous Hollywood actress and is a household name across America. She’s starred in several movies and shows, which should be enough to measure her success. However, she also put her mind into inventing and patenting a kind of infant garment. This was a nappy that has a waterproof compartment built right into it. Presumably, the compartment was for storing the baby wipes in order to facilitate the parent or whoever was changing the nappy.

Since the product isn’t widely available or talked about, we may assume it’s not really a roaring success. However, it does show that Jamie Lee Curtis thinks like a mom both onscreen and off. After all, she plays many motherly roles and is a mother in real life too.

Michael Jackson

The legacy of Michael Jackson lives on after his tragic and early death. His fans should know that he’s also an inventor in addition to being an iconic musician and dancer. Jackson’s moonwalk and his gravity-defying forward lean are still held up in admiration and wonder.

In part, Jackson managed to accomplish that forward lean by inventing anti-gravity shoes of his own. The patent mentions that the shoes had a post or hitch which the wearer can engage in order to lean forward. This enables the center of gravity to go ahead of the shoes’ fronts, hence creating that famous visual effect.

Florence Lawrence

Lawrence is known as being among the very first movie stars, stating back in 1906. In addition to being a busy and popular actress, she was also known to work on certain inventions. In the year 1914, she invented an automobile turn signal. It worked by pressing a foot brake or electrical buttons. However, she didn’t patent the device, nor was she the first person to invent it. The inventor gene apparently ran in the family, as her mother invented the electric windshield wiper three years later. She was quick enough to patent it, however.

Francis Ford Copolla

Copolla is a famous and esteemed director, but few know about his clothes designing forays. This is why he’s not celebrated much for his patented inventions, even though many might have seen them around.

For instance, he has the patent for a T-shirt that has the picture of a turtle with its shell being a grid. The grid had numbers. The idea here was that one could simply call out the number where they were experiencing the itch and have something scratch them in just the right place. This T-shirt might have its uses for certain people, but would probably be more of a novelty item or gag gift.

Harry Connick Jr

Harry Connick Jr is a well-known singer, but he did find the old-timey sheet music a nuisance. Hence, he came up with a way to replace the paper scores and use a more viable alternative that was electrical.

According to Connick himself, the invention made his life easier in many ways. Before, he had to write his songs by hand, and then pass them on to copyists. These might take days to figure out where and how the instrumental sections will fit together.

With Connick’s invention, it was now possible to write a score and have it on the computer screen of every other team member in the course of the same day. This has helped not just Connick, but several musicians in modern times.

Hedy Lamarr

When Hedy Lamarr heard that a German boat had sunk a British freighter, killing 262 people (with 87 children), the top Hollywood star started thinking upon a solution. She was married to an arms dealer preciously, so she knew about torpedoes, radio jamming, etc. It was this knowledge that led her to an ingenious system.

With her invention, a piano roll was able to adjust the control signal along several different frequencies. They did patent the invention, but the United States Navy refused to consider it. Now, though, their method is widely used for the technology we now know as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The tragic sinking was in 1940, the patent was in 1942, but Lamarr wasn’t recognized for her brilliance until the late 1990s. This was just a few years before her death.


There are millions of patents in the United States right now, with famous inventors, celebrities, and ordinary people holding them. This should do away with the idea that inventors at notorious loners who toil in secluded places before they come up with a brilliant, world-changing idea. Having celebrity inventors on a list of inventors proves that anyone in a certain field can think of doing something in a better way. While not all the inventions above may not be particularly applicable today, they’re still the result of hard work and effort.