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FYI: When Did People Start Inventing Things In The Garage?

 Walt and Roy Disney started making cartoons in a Hollywood garage in 1923; eight years later, an engineer named Gerhard Fisher started building his Metallascope metal detectors in a garage in Palo Alto, California; and in 1938, William Hewlett and David Packard rented their own garage space in Palo Alto. The Hewlett-Packard garage would become the most famous in the history of American entrepreneurship. In 1989, it was designated the “Birthplace of Silicon Valley,” an official state landmark.

Still, the archetype of the “garage inventor”—and indeed the phrase itself—did not catch on until the 1960s and ’70s. “The attached garage is really a postwar thing,” says Eric Hintz, a historian at the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the Smithsonian. He says that the structure gave moonlighting engineers in the developing suburbs a large, configurable space, where they might set up their tables and sawhorses.

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