Innovators and Inventors

Opening September 24, 2021

Although many people have heard of Ole Evinrude’s outboard motor or John Tokheim’s gasoline pump, many more Norwegian Americans have made significant contributions to our daily lives. Innovators and Inventors is an exciting new exhibit from Vesterheim that celebrates the creativity and ingenuity of Norwegian immigrants and their descendants in America.

The exhibit will cover everything from Karsten Solheim’s ergonomic golf putters to the pacemaker, invented by Earl Bakken. We’ll also meet people like Harriet Lovseth, the South Dakota teacher who invented a chalk holder to keep her students a little bit cleaner at the end of the day.

In addition to patents, drawings, models, and artifacts, Vesterheim will share the stories behind the creations and help shine a light on some unknown Norwegian immigrants and their descendants who helped make the world a better place. We’re not just focused on innovations of the past, however. Contemporary innovators and inventors will also be featured prominently in the exhibit.

In this article from Vesterheim, Vol. 18, No.2, 2020 – Innovators and Inventors, Richard P. Beem shares the life story and inventions of his uncle, Emil Hanson. Vesterheim magazine is a member benefit. Learn more about becoming a Vesterheim member here.

Opening Event

Visit Vesterheim to celebrate the opening of this exhibit on October 16 at 2:00 p.m. Find more details here.

Innovators & Inventors Lecture Series

Save the dates for the first three online programs in the Innovators & Inventors Lecture Series! Follow the links to find out more. Registration information coming soon. More events will be added.

Sonja Hoel Perkins
Wednesday, September 22, 7:00 p.m. (CT) on Zoom

Jamie Holmes
Monday, November 8, 7:00 p.m. (CT) on Zoom

Lucy Tuve Comly and Christine Tuve Burris
Monday, November 15, 7:00 p.m. (CT) on Zoom

Vesterheim is grateful the Tomson Family Foundation for sponsoring the exhibit and lecture series.
Workers and John Groset standing by the first ice cream making maching.
Image above: John Groset of Bothell, Washington, invented the first machine for forming and baking ice cream cones. Groset came from Norway in 1905 and began patenting his cone-making inventions in 1911. This very large machine was patented in 1914 and put to use in Groset’s Consolidated Wafer Company. Visitors to the exhibit will learn about his battle to protect his patent for the machine.