H. Joseph Gerber: The Innovative Genius You've Never Heard Of

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H. Joseph Gerber (left) with David Pearl, inspecting apparel parts
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Click on the audio player above to hear this interview.

As part of our search for America's greatest innovation, we've brought to light a good number of lesser-known inventors.

Take for instance George Devol, inventor of the first programmable robotic arm. Adam Ferrara, actor, comedian, and host of Top Gear U.S., argued today that Devol's invention is America's greatest innovation.

Vote For America's Greatest Innovation Here

But it turns out Devol isn't the only creative thinker who, despite revolutionary accomplishments, never became a household name.

Another example is the botanist and geneticist George Harrison Shull, who became known as the father of hybrid corn. There's also Carleton Ellis, a chemist with more than 700 patents registered in his name. Ellis made huge improvements to things like margarine and paint remover. Then there's astrophysicist Lowell Wood. He has more than 1,000 patents—even more than Thomas Edison—and he's still alive.

But today we're focusing on H. Joseph Gerber, a refugee from Austria, a holocaust survivor, and the man who was eventually known as the Thomas Edison of manufacturing. He created computer automated machines for almost every industry you can think of: Cars, planes, clothing, eyeglasses, billboards.

Joseph's son David Gerber just finished a biography of his dad, called "The Inventor's Dilemma: The Remarkable Life of H. Joseph Gerber." Here, David talks about the qualities that made his father such a brilliant innovator.