February 11 is National Inventors’ Day—a day President Ronald Reagan set aside in 1983 to recognize the enormous contributions inventors make to society. February 11, 1847 was also the birthday of Thomas Alva Edison – the prolific American inventor who came up with the electric light bulb, phonograph and motion picture camera, and held more than 1,000 patents.

Different countries recognize inventors on different days. At Xerox, we’re proud of our global community of inventors every day. We have researchers, scientists and engineers working at world-class facilities such as Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), the Gil Hatch Center for Customer Innovation, and Xerox research centers in Europe and Canada. Together, Xerox inventors hold more than 11,000 patents, and the count keeps growing.

Chester Carlson Portrait

Our company’s long history of innovation traces back to the ingenuity of one man: Chester Carlson, the inventor of xerography.

Innovation is part of our DNA. Our company was founded on the ingenuity of one man, Chester Carlson, a patent department clerk who invented xerography. After spending countless hours at the New York Public Library handwriting copies of documents, he figured there had to be a better way to duplicate information. Through hard work and determination, Carlson created the process for copying images onto paper using electrophotography, later called xerography. His invention revolutionized the world of document imaging, and made the copier a fixture of offices everywhere.

Today, Xerox inventors are taking imaging and printing to new levels through technologies like printed electronics and direct-to-object printing. We celebrate their creativity and ability to solve real-world problems with clever innovations each day. This National Inventors’ Day series will profile some of these innovators who are making a difference for our customers, and for the world.

Read more from the National Inventors’ Day Series:

Part II: Michelle Chretien: Making the Un-makeable >

Part III: Guerino Sacripante: Sustainable Ink for Eco-Responsible Printing >

Part IV: Ajay Raghavan: Making Batteries Work Better >

Part V: Gary Starkweather Invented the Laser Printer Over 40 Years Ago >