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BLKISH Forums African-American Inventors and Scientists Resistors, Missile Guidance, & Pacemakers | Otis Boykin (Inventor)


  • Resistors, Missile Guidance, & Pacemakers | Otis Boykin (Inventor)


    November 1, 2020 at 1:10 pm

    Otis F. Boykin.jpg

    Otis Frank Boykin (August 29, 1920 – March 26, 1982) was an American inventor and engineer.[1] His inventions include improved electrical resistors used in computing, missile guidance, and pacemakers.


    A chest x-ray of a pacemaker

    Boykin then moved to Chicago, where he found work as a clerk at Electro Manufacturing Company.[4] He was subsequently hired as a laboratory assistant for the Majestic Radio and Television Corporation; at that company, he rose to become foreman of their factory. By 1944, he was working for the P.J. Nilsen Research Labs.[6] In 1946–1947, he studied at Illinois Institute of Technology,[7] but dropped out after two years; some sources say it was because he could not afford his tuition, but he later stated[5] that he left for an employment opportunity and did not have time to return to finish his degree. One of his mentors was Dr. Denton Deere, an engineer, and inventor with his own laboratory. Another mentor was Dr. Hal F. Fruth, with whom he collaborated on several experiments, including a more effective way to test automatic pilot control units in airplanes.[4] The two men later went into business, opening an electronics research lab in the late 1940s.[3] In the 1950s, Boykin and Fruth worked together at the Monson Manufacturing Corporation; Boykin was the company’s chief engineer.[8] In the early 1960s, Boykin was a senior project engineer at the Chicago Telephone Supply Corporation, later known as CTS Labs. It was here that he did much of his pacemaker research.[9] But Boykin subsequently sued CTS for $5 million, asserting that his former employer had obtained a patent and tried to take credit for the device that he developed.[10] After the suit was eventually dismissed, and his career at CTS had ended, he opened his own consulting and research company, with offices in both the US and Paris, France.[11]

    (CardioNetworks ECGpedia)


    Boykin patented as many as 26 devices.[12] He is best known for inventing electronic control devices for guided missilesIBM computers, and the pacemaker[13] One of his early inventions was an imped wire resistor, which had reduced inductance and reactance, due to the physical arrangement of the wire.[14] Other notable inventions include a variable resistor used in guided missiles.[15] His most famous invention was likely a control unit for the artificial cardiac pacemaker.[4] The device essentially uses electrical impulses to maintain a regular heartbeat. Among his other inventions is a burglar-proof cash register.[16] Boykin died in Chicago on March 26, 1982, at the age of 61.[3]

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