For the readers of the Tom Swift Sr. books who have seen many parallels of the inventions from Shopton, N.Y. and those from the pages of Popular Science and Popular Mechanics and the rest of everyday life, there is almost no question that Tom Swift invented everything of consequence.
In reality, the Tom Swift Sr. volumes popularized real creations and proposals that appeared in the science and engineering literature. Edward Stratemeyer and Howard R. Garis were looking to these publications for ideas to include in the adventure stories. It is much like Jules Verne who took ideas of submarines or geographical trivia around which to weave a story.
The Tom Swift Invented Everything page, which discusses many examples, has been recently added to the site.