October 27, 2006

12 Things Thomas Jefferson Invented

When he wasn’t busy drafting the Declaration of Independence, founding the University of Virginia, or serving as President, Thomas Jefferson liked to invent things (and, frequently, improve upon other people’s inventions). He never took out a patent, owing to his belief that every invention should benefit all of society. Just a few of his numerous inventions (or innovations) include:

  1. dumbwaiters for wine bottles
  2. the Great Clock
  3. the hideaway bed
  4. macaroni and cheese, not to mention
  5. a macaroni extruding device
  6. the pedometer
  7. the plow moldboard of least resistance
  8. the polygraph (not a lie detector, but a copying machine)
  9. a revolving bookstand
  10. the spherical sundial
  11. an improved swivel chair
  12. the wheel cipher

You can learn more about many of these inventions at About.com and Jefferson’s Inventions.

35 Responses to “12 Things Thomas Jefferson Invented”

  1. Chad Wollerton said:

    Just to set the record straight, Jefferson really only invented the moldboard of least resistence for certain. It’s very possible that he invented the cylindrical wheel cipher, but that has not been established for certain. He also appears to have created the spherical sundial on his own, but earlier examples of it are known to have exisited in Europe. He was interested and played with some of the other items listed here. But there is no evidence whatsoever that Jefferson invented, thinkered with, or even employed a “hideaway bed” (though he did place many of the beds at Monticello and Poplar Forest in alcoves after seeing this done in Europe).

  2. Chip Dicks said:

    After graduating from William & Mary, TJ relocated to Charlottesville. The lack of attractive women forced him to have sex with monkeys, and thus AIDS was invented. Did anyone hear that Al Groh invented herpes?

  3. David said:

    Not sure what CD is talking about, there are more attractive women in Charlottesville, per capita, than any other city in North America.

  4. Scott said:

    … and who, exactly, is “Al Groh”?

  5. benny said:

    I think what CD said is totally not on subject. I think jefferson is a great man who helped America out a whole lot. πŸ™‚

  6. george washington said:

    Thomas jefferson you are a hog of fame, give it back.

    ps. you are still my friend

  7. chelle said:

    OMG this is so cool and i am also doing a project on thomas jeffersons polygraph… can u help me…….:) πŸ˜› πŸ˜€ <3 chelle belly <3

  8. WTF? Chas said:

    He never invented mac&cheese, its all bolony and most of his so called ‘inventions” were’nt really his idead, he brought over from France and introduced them not invented them, duh. Commen sence this sight is useless shit.

  9. download free movies said:

    What?? Are these really true? Thomas Jefferson is really a genius! How come no one like him comes up with a new invention these days.. πŸ™

  10. sj said:


  11. sj said:

    revolving bookstand,wow

  12. YO YO MA said:


  13. I said:

    I am Jorge, I am god.

  14. YO YO MA said:

    I am YO YO MA

  15. Thomas Jefferson said:

    Wow you guys are idiots.

  16. tom jeff or red said:

    Hey hey hey I did invent mac and cheese

  17. tom jeff or red said:

    Jeez man you guys are harsh

  18. ME said:

    Thomas jefferson is a fameous guy!Γ’ΛœΒΊΓ’ΛœΒ»Γ’β„’Β₯

  19. Federico said:

    Did he actually invent mac + cheese?

  20. Albert said:

    This is a nice website.

  21. keava said:

    thomas never invinted mac and cheese everyone know i did

  22. John Adams said:

    George and Thomas move aside I am the best you guys are just not as cool as me. First is the worst second is the best and third is the one with the hairy chest. So George you are the worst I am the best and Thomas you are just hairy.

  23. John Adams said:

    I will still be your friend though. Do not take it personaly. I’m just the best you can’t change that.

  24. Phil D Twat said:

    Thomas Jay was a BA!

  25. seamore littlewood said:

    No your a retard Thomas j was a retard and couldnt do anything but write stufff

  26. Jes said:

    Speaking of inventions, based on the post for Nov 6, 2009 “WTF? Chas” obviously did not invent the English language. I see a lot of ignorant statements and name calling on boards like this…all I can say is that I weep for the future.

  27. Abraham Lincoln said:

    You all suck! I got a memorial with my whole body in it and so they can see my coolness Yeah that is right! I rock! And I made the Gettysberg Address! And I died while watching a play! Oh yeah! Oh and um, I invented the Macintosh!Beat That!

  28. spacetime inverses and 1-to-1 mapping said:

    […] Thomas Jefferson was an inventor and also opposed the patent system. He never took out a patent. https://senselist.com/2006/10/27/12-t…rson-invented/ I don't believe that such creations should go uncompensated for, but consider what the true market […]

  29. some body! said:

    dear CD, (2nd person to comment)

    that is sooo funnny but i bet it is fake. who ever had sex with monkey HAS to be insane, and no insane could be amasing like thomas jefferson! he was the pres’, vice pres’, and sooo many morethings! not only that, invented soo many awesome thing!

    -some body! (i put the space for a reason!!)

    πŸ™‚ πŸ˜€ <3 X) XD <(“) :3 ^^ –– πŸ˜› :$ :@ C:

  30. Why? said:

    Wow, some people are being really immature acting like historical characters. GROW UP! I never knew any of these things he invented. This is a good site. πŸ˜€

  31. Not to be known said:

    These postings are really random with ridiculous spelling mistakes, macoroni and cheese, that’s an interesting one, or the person doesn’t know a thing about Thomas Jefferson.

  32. Captain obvious said:

    this guy made alot of stuff

  33. Captain obvious also said:

    this guy is famous

  34. dssffs said:

    i think people shouldn’t judge him!!!!!

  35. TOMMY JEFFY said:

    This guy is an idol for me… I really think he is a cool guy. (I’m talking about Thomas Jefferson just so we are clear.)