Ed. Note: This post is part of a series following the release of the 1940 Census highlighting various Commerce agencies and their hard work on behalf of the American people during the 1940s through today
On April 10, 1790, President George Washington signed the bill that laid the foundation of the modern American patent system. For over 200 years the patent system has encouraged the genius of hundreds of thousands of inventors.
During the 1940s, several recognizable and valuable patents were issued that have contributed significantly to American culture and society and changed the way we live. One such patent pioneered the way we see animated movies. On May 31, 1940, Walter E. Disney received Patent #2,201,689 for improvements in the art of producing animated cartoons. Disney’s patent was for a multi-plane camera that allowed for a more realistic three-dimensional image as well as depth and richness to the animation. His invention enabled him to move from the standard animated short films to feature-length animation.