Obstetrical forceps are rarely used today, but in the sixteenth century, they were the only hope for mothers whose babies needed to be rotated prior to delivery. Without them, labor could last days and often ended in tragedy. Sadly, this instrument did not become available to physicians worldwide until 150 years after its invention. The inventor, Peter Chamberlen, and his succeeding heirs kept this bit of technology a secret for more than a century, going so far as to carrying the forceps into the birthing room in a lined box and only be using them once everyone was out of the room and the mother blindfolded.
This all but assured the family’s high standing with the royalty of England, who relied on the Chamberlen’s obstetric expertise for years.
I understand the desire to profit from your invention as much as possible, and the simplicity of the forceps all but assured that they would be copied once seen, but how many mothers and their babies died in the 150 years that the forceps remained a secret?
Doesn’t this make the Chamberlen family one of the greatest collections of scoundrels to ever walk the Earth?