A History Of Grand Prizes

Prizes have a long history of spurring innovation. From the 1700’s onwards, they have encouraged great developments in technology. We expect no less from The Cure Prize.

20140722 Longitude Prize PicAn Early Example: The British Longitude Prize of 1714 was worth an equivalent of over $3 million 2014 US dollars. Established through an act of parliament, it was awarded in 1765 to John Harrison,  a self educated clock maker who spent a lifetime inventing the marine chronometer. The device revolutionized and extended the possibility of safe long-distance sea travel.

prizepic2Encouraging a Historic Fight: The Ortieg Prize, worth just over $300,000  current US dollars, was created by a forward thinking New York hotel owner and set for the first person to fly from New York to Paris. Numerous aviators vied for the prize, culminating in a trans-atlantic flight by Charles Lindbergh which made him an overnight national hero in America.

The “Lindbergh Boom” in aviation that followed the prize award saw aviation stocks increase and the number of U.S. Airline passengers grow from 5,782 in 1926 to 173,403 in 1929.

prizepic3Orbital Entrepreneurs: The Ansari X Prize was one of the more most recent grand prizes.  Awarded to the first the first non-government organization to launch a reusable manned spacecraft into space twice within two weeks, it saw it’s  1997 one million  dollar prize turn into a ten million dollar prize by 2004. It‘s been estimated that more than $100 million, ten times the prize amount, was invested in new technologies which pursued the prize.  The X Prize  was awarded  in 2004 to a team including Microsoft cofounder Paul  Allen for their SpaceShipOne spaceplane.