Inventions: To Build a Better Pill Counter

No people gulp more pills than Americans. Each year the nation's 65,000 pharmacies and 7,137 hospitals fill a billion prescriptions, mostly pills. Amazingly, in an era when men walk on the moon, millions of high-priced man-hours are wasted counting all the pills by hand. Riches have long awaited the inventor who could devise an automatic pill counter.

This idea struck Harry Roseberg, a California tinkerer who was scratching out a living as a salesman, as he watched a pharmacist count pills one day in 1962. For a start, Roseberg borrowed $40 from a...

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