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John L. Janning — In the Blink of an Eye

Inventor John L. Janning perfected the liquid crystal display (LCD) and invented the thermal printing wafer. A self–educated high school dropout, John Janning epitomizes creativity and learning through experience. A member of the Engineers Club of Dayton, Janning is enshrined in the Engineering and Science Hall of Fame.

You never want to fall in love with the first idea you come up with.

—John L. Janning


“The school of hard knocks can’t be beat.” In this short video, inventor John L. Janning discusses the importance of tinkering and shows his two most important inventions. Credits >>

Valley of the Giants —

John L. Janning


Oral History Transcript

Inventor John Janning describes his self-taught approach to engineering, his career at NCR and beyond, his inventions, philosophy, work ethic, and dream of winning the Nobel Prize.


Video >>

John Janning demonstrates his new electronic fuse for Christmas lights, and explains his liquid crystal display and thermal printing wafer inventions. Watch video >>



Innovation Strategies

As a motivational speaker, Janning describes his innovation techniques, like “Gonna’s don’t count” Janning says this will be the epitaph on his tombstone. Click here to read more >>


This Week’s Citation Classic (PDF)

John L. Janning’s 1972 paper “Thin Film Surface Orientation for Liquid Crystals” has been cited in over 140 publications.


List of John L. Janning’s publications


JLJ Recent Patents


External Resources:


DDN: Wilbur Wright School honors ‘last graduate’ before closing

81-year-old inventor John L. Janning finally receives his high school diploma - becoming the last graduate of Wilbur Wright High School.


Liquid Crystals

How a useless lab anomaly grew up to be an indispensable part of hundreds of everyday devices. By Linda Hamilton. Invention & Technology Magazine, Spring 2002.


Inventions by JLJ, Inc.


Heartland Science: Ohio’s Legacy of Discovery & Innovation

Two Ohioans have had a great impact on the liquid crystal display (LCD) market - James Fergason and John L. Janning


NCR History > Timeline

NCR history timeline mentions Dayton innovators John H. Patterson, Charles F. Kettering, and John L. Janning


How Stuff Works: LCDs


Fergason Patent Properties, LLC


Liquid Crystal Display History


Marquis Who's Who Publications: Janning


Technical Papers


Janning, John L. "Thin film surface orientation for liquid crystals." Applied Physics Letters 21.4 (1972): n. pag. Web. 13 Aug 2010. 4331


Hsindao, E. Lu, Howeard E. Jackson, and John L. Janning. "Characterization of the effects of different capping layer structures on the laser recrystallization of silicon by using electrical test structures and Raman spectroscopy." Applied Physics Letters 60.12 (1986): n. pag. Web. 13 Aug 2010. 468


Wu, R.W., J.T. Boyd, H.A. Timlin, Howard E. Jackson, and John L. Janning. "Optical waveguide detection: Photodetector array formed on the waveguide utilizing laser recrystallized silicon." Applied Physics Letters 46. (1985): n. pag. Web. 13 Aug 2010. 15


Liquid Crystal Resource


The Science Behind TV Entertainment: Liquid Crystals


“Real NCR” Can’t Be Moved

What were some of the game-changing ideas that still make Dayton Dayton? ...A belief that progress is possible, and, therefore, that change is welcome.

—Fred Bartenstein, ‘Real NCR’ can’t be moved, Dayton Daily News, June 4, 2009  >>Read the article.