Machine Design

75 years of Innovators: Otis Boykin

Resistors and capacitors might seem like commodity items, but they're critical to almost every electrical and electronic device. Otis Boykin devised and patented several techniques for making these electrical components more accurate and less costly.

In the 75 years since Machine Design began publication, here are some of the people who have changed the way we live.

Otis Boykin
Mister Resistor

He also invented a variable resistor that is now used in almost all guided missiles and small, thick-film resistors found in most computers.

Boykin also developed a controller for stimulating the heartbeat in humans, a device now known as the pacemaker. Nearly 200,000 are placed in U.S. patients each year. Boykin's other inventions include a burglar-proof cash register and a chemical air filter. Although several of his earlier inventions and ideas went unpatented, he died with 11 patents to his name.

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