Invention Merit Badge

The Invention Merit Badge has the distinction of being the least-earned boy scout merit badge ever. Only 10 people ever earned it. The primary reason for this being that it required a scout to "invent and patent some useful article," which was a pretty high bar to set. After only three years the scout organization decided it was too much of a challenge and discontinued the badge. So it was only offered from 1911 to 1914. It was eventually replaced in 2010 by an Inventing badge which didn't have the patent requirement.

Enthusiasts of scout history have tried to figure out who the 10 winners of the badge were and what they invented, but so far it seems that only one of the patents has been identified. It was a "uniform coat with a removable false sleeve on which Scouts could sew merit badges and rank badges," patented by Graeme Thomas Smallwood of Washington, D.C.

More info: Scouting Magazine, "History of the Invention Merit Badge" [pdf]

Graeme Smallwood

     Posted By: Alex - Fri Oct 05, 2018
     Category: Clubs, Fraternities and Other Self-selecting Organizations | Inventions | Patents | 1910s

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