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Benjamin A. Rubin

American Jewish Inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame

Benjamin A. Rubin: Inducted
into the National Inventors Hall
of Fame-1992

by Seymour “Sy” Brody

Benjamin A. Rubin is an American Jewish inductee into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, in 1992, for inventing a pronged vaccinating and testing needle. Patent number is 3,194,237.

He was born on September 27, 1917, in New York City. He was a product of the New York City school system. After graduating high school, he attended the College of the City of New York, where he received his B.S. degree in biochemistry. He received his M.S. degree in biology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute. He went to Yale, where he earned his Ph.D. degree in microbiology, in 1947. Rubin worked in a number of laboratories before getting a position at Wyeth Laboratories.

During those years, the world was confronted with a deadly disease called smallpox. Millions of people were dying from it. The disease finally could be controlled, but there was a shortage of the vaccine and it was a prolonged procedure to administer it. Rubin began working on the eyelet of a machine sewing needle. He kept grinding and twisting it until it became a fork-shaped needle.

The needle that he invented could be inoculated quicker, with just a few jabs, and it required less serum. It was also easy for distant countries to make this fork shaped needle.

In 1980, the World Health Assembly announced that smallpox had been defeated. While there is no cure for smallpox, vaccinations can keep it to a minimum. Children throughout the world are being given smallpox vaccinations.

Rubin has many other patents in radiation devices, vaccines, steroid chemistry and microbiology. He is a research professor of microbiology at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

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