On June 4, 1963, Robert W. Patch became the youngest person to receive a U.S. patent. Patch’s “Toy Truck” (U.S. Patent No. 3,091,888) allowed for a toy truck to be taken apart and reassembled in various configurations. Not so unusual, unless you consider Patch was unable to sign his name at the time the patent was filed. Patch, at the remarkable age of six, signed the application with an “X.”

Robert W. Patch, youngest person to receive a United States patent
AP Wirephoto

Like many young boys, Robert Patch of Chevy Chase, Maryland enjoyed playing with toys but was always challenging their capabilities. Thus, he created a toy truck using a shoe box, a few bottle caps, and nails.

His father, a patent attorney, decided that his son’s invention was unique and patentable, so he created and submitted drawings on behalf of his son to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The idea behind the patent dissipated shortly after the patent was issued; However, Patch remains the youngest person to receive a U.S. patent.

Various news organizations recognized Patch for being the youngest person to receive a U.S. patent. Consequently, several images of him and his original design, which featured a Keds brand shoe box, cycled in the news. When Keds saw Patch’s picture, they sent him a pair of shoes, which was the only tangible reward Patch had ever received as a result of his patent.

While Patch did not go on to be a prolific inventor, he did start a roofing business, married, has a son, and continues to claim his little place in history.

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