Mervyn Chen (Date of Birth: 10th Jan 1945)
Born on January 10th, 1945 in Dow Village, Trinidad, Mervyn Chen first attended San Fernando Boys’ RC School and then went to Presentation College, San Fernando. At school, he was fascinated by physics because he was curious to “know how things worked.” He left Trinidad for the United States in 1964 to pursue a degree in architecture at Sacramento City College in California. However, illness struck and forced him to return home in 1966.
After coming back to Trinidad, Chen assisted his father with the family bakery and also branched out into several businesses of his own during the oil boom in the seventies. In 1975, he constructed the massive screen at Kay Donna Cinema, the first drive-through cinema in the country. In 1986, he migrated to the United States where he started a manufacturing company specialising in steel products, and undertook significant work for many prominent institutions and companies including the US Army Corps of Engineers, Coca Cola, Disney and the Marriott Hotel.
In 1990, Chen began researching and experimenting with designs to solve inefficiencies in the oil-drilling process. He developed and tested a prototype of his “Thru-Tube Backsurging Tool” in Trinidad, patented it and licensed it to an American company. His next invention was the “Downhole Magnetic Pump,” which was cheaper and smaller than the pumping jack units that were previously considered irreplaceable in the oil extraction process. It was patented and is now used in wells in California.
Chen also channelled his creativity into the design of two automatic machines for the construction industry, a walking aid for disabled persons, a “water-making” condensation device, and equipment used to assist in flood relief. He also has a patent pending for a turbine that uses well pressures to generate electricity.