We often think of Californians as America’s most free-thinking, inventive people.
And we think of Idahoans as potato farmers.
But when you compare per capita inventions over the past 50 years — listed at the US Patent and Trademark Office — the data tell a different story.
It is Idahoans that lead the country with nearly 4 patented inventions per 1,000 people. Of course it helps to have a small population and the headquarters of Micron Technology and large Hewlett Packard operations.
2.92 patented inventions per 1,000 people.
In Washington, where the boardgames Pictionary, Pickle-ball, and Cranium were all created, the biggest patent owners have been Microsoft, Boeing and individuals.
2.93 patented inventions per 1,000 people.
Interestingly, inventing in California is dominated by individual inventors, like the one who created the Frisbee there in the 1940s. Broadcom Corp and Hewlett-Packard came in at a distant second and third, respectively.
3.00 patented inventions per 1,000 people.
In Massachusetts, the birthplace of packaged frozen food, the most prolific inventors were individuals, followed by storage hardware firm EMC Corp and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
3.96 patented inventions per 1,000 people.
Known more for potatoes than patents, Idaho surprisingly topped the list of America's most inventive states. The vast majority of those patents belong to Micron Technology, the semiconductor giant run out of Boise, followed by Hewlett-Packard and individuals, in the spirit of Philo Farnsworth who invented the tube television set in Idaho in the 1920s.
NOW WATCH: Ideas videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.