The Marshall Jones Story

"However difficult the path, if you love what you are doing, you're going to find a way."

Marshall Jones's NIHF Induction by National Inventors Hall of FameNational Inventors Hall of Fame Museum

Who is Marshall Jones?

Marshall Jones, a mechanical engineer at General Electric (GE), pioneered the use of lasers for industrial materials processing, particularly in the welding, drilling and cutting of metals at a time when lasers were uncommon in materials processing.

He invented novel methods to weld dissimilar metals and developed fiber optic systems that made lasers more convenient for industrial applications. His personal mantra, "Never Give Up," continues to inspire the next generation of innovators.

Marshall Jones' YearbookNational Inventors Hall of Fame Museum

Early Life

Marshall Jones's path to inventing success was anything but laser straight.

He was born on August 1, 1941, in Long Island, New York. Jones was physically tongue-tied until the age of two, when the doctor clipped the webbing under his tongue.

In elementary school, Jones had to repeat fourth grade in order to improve his language skills.
Most people would see this as a negative, but as Jones has said numerous times:

“I think if Mrs. DeFriest had not had me repeat the fourth grade, whatever has happened to me going forward would never have happened.”

Marshall Jones at GE Engineering during 1978National Inventors Hall of Fame Museum

College Years

In high school, Jones was unable to receive a college scholarship for wrestling because of an injury. His family and friends rallied around him and he was still able to pursue a collegiate path.

Facing more challenges during this period, including discrimination and being barred entry to his first college residence, he kept his focus on his goal — becoming an engineer.

In 1965, Jones earned a B.S. from the University of Michigan where he was the only African-American student in the engineering school. He continued his education at the University of Massachusetts to receive his M.S. and Ph.D. before joining GE.

Pictured in the middle is Jones with other members of GE’s task force.

Marshall Jones with LaserNational Inventors Hall of Fame Museum

Industrial Lasers
U.S. Patent No. 4,676,586

At GE, Jones initiated the research and development of a fiber-optic laser-beam delivery system, resulting in a laser beam powerful enough to cut steel, titanium, and nickel-based alloys, and to weld and drill them at multiple angles.

His technology is utilized in GE’s production of ceramic metal halide lamps, diesel engine head-liner assemblies, control rods for nuclear reactors and flat emitters for x-ray tubes.

Laser_Patent DrawingNational Inventors Hall of Fame Museum

Marshall Jones with Truss ExhibitNational Inventors Hall of Fame Museum

National Inventors Hall of Fame Induction

National Inventors Hall of Fame Induction
In 2017, Marshall Jones was Inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) for his innovations in the field of industrial lasers. Jones took part in the Illumination Ceremony where he was presented a lapel pin by fellow Inductee Steve Sasson, inventor of the digital camera.

During the ceremony he also had the chance to experience his own exhibit firsthand at the National Inventors Hall of Fame Museum.

Marshall Jones's Bio

The Marshall Jones Story by National Inventors Hall of FameNational Inventors Hall of Fame Museum

Marshall Jones at NIHF STEM SchoolNational Inventors Hall of Fame Museum

Sharing His Story

In 2018, Jones visited the National Inventors Hall of Fame STEM Middle School and STEM High School in Akron, Ohio, where he met with students and faculty.

He also gave a motivating speech to the staff at the National Inventors Hall of Fame headquarters, tying together the connection between NIHF's education programs and the important role that NIHF Inductees play in the programming.

Marshall Jones Takes a SelfieNational Inventors Hall of Fame Museum

Influencing the Next Generation

A master of industrial lasers, Jones is still working and inspiring future generations of young scientists and engineers — with a particular fondness for students in the fourth grade.

Currently, Jones visits elementary schools and local Camp Invention® programs. His determination to “Never Give Up” has been used in Camp Invention curriculum modules, like Stick to It™, where children are tasked with rapid prototyping and diving into the invention process.

His experiences inspired him to work with a writer to produce a children's book, titled, "Never Give Up: The Marshall Jones Story."

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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