Neil Young is a legend among legends. The “Harvest Moon” singer is an innovator with a guitar, but he’s also literally an innovator. Young holds multiple patents for one of his favorite non-musical hobbies.
Model Train Expert And Benefactor
Young is a fan of model trains. Like, he’s a huge fan of them. The “Give Me Strength” singer was an owner of Lionel, LLC, one of America’s foremost importers of toy trains and model railroads. Young lost a lot of money by investing in model trains especially after Lionel went bankrupt in 2007, but he’s still on the board to this day.
In a 2012 interview with the New York Times, Young went in-depth into what could be called an obsession. He and his friends used to do cocaine and tinker with model trains. At the time, he had a model-train barn filled with 3000 square feet of tracks. “I am the Wizard of Oz in here. I can make anything happen because I know how it all works. Music is math,” Young said.
The model-train barn is beset with two actual full-size rail cars as well. Young’s got a passion for cars and audio quality as well.
Holds Multiple Patents
Neil Young is so devoted to model trains that he’s got seven patents related to them. That’s right: Young pretty much moonlights as an inventor. He helped develop a control signal system to operate multiple trains at once. Another used an electromagnetic field to help control the trains. Other patents concern realistic sound generation. Young is not satisfied to just watch a field develop around him. If he cares about something, then he will champion it.
In another Times interview from 2006, Young spoke about sound. “Realism is the byword…it’s a heavy thing moving down a track, like a real thing even though it’s a miniature.” He’s got a real passion for this and isn’t content to be a bystander. Stop Making Sense director Jonathan Demme eloquently described Young as a man of action: “I worry about global warming…but I’m not out there meeting with scientists and funding research [like Young is].”
Other Patent Holding Stars
If you go digging, you’ll find that numerous surprising celebrities hold patents. The music video for “Smooth Criminal” would be nothing without Jackson’s iconic lean. The trick was achieved through a specially designed shoe, and Jackson held the patent for it. He was a bonafide inventor. Prince and Paula Abdul hold patents as well.
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