Benjamin Franklin was a distinguished human being, who possessed uncanny mind and sharp wit, which he used tirelessly for the betterment of his country and society at large. Franklin is credited for many inventions including the swim fins, Franklin stove, catheter, library chair, step ladder, lightning rod, bifocal glasses etc; however, he never patented any of them. He did so, as he believed that his innovations were not mere sources of moneymaking but would raise the living standards of the masses. His experiments with the lightning, gained him recognition throughout the world. Benjamin Franklin played a vital role in American history as he was a signer of both the Declaration of Independence as well as the Constitution, thus he is considered as one of the pivotal personalities, who shaped America. His influence has been so great on the country that many scholars have gone as far as to describe him as "the only President of the United States who was never President of the United States." Though, as a child he was not able to continue his education beyond elementary level but there was hardly a renowned university that did not felicitate him with an honorary degree for his exemplary work.
Nikola Tesla was a Serbian-American inventor, best known for his development of alternating current electrical systems. He also made extraordinary contributions to the fields of electromagnetism and wireless radio communications. He was a child prodigy and possessed an eidetic memory with a futuristic vision for the mankind which is evident from most of his discoveries and researches. He was a trained electrical and mechanical engineer whose discoveries and inventions included the modern electric motor, wireless transmission of energy, basic laser and radar technology, the first neon and fluorescent illumination and the Tesla coil (widely used in radio, television sets, and other electronic equipment).Despite being a great inventor, his life was mostly shadowed by poverty because he was a terrible businessman. He was impractical with his money and had nobody to pass on his legacy to since he never got involved in a relationship with anyone. Although he was regarded as a generous and polite person by his friends, he had very limited social interaction with them because of his firm daily routine. He was a loner all his life and died penniless without the accolades that he would ultimately earn after his death. He was undoubtedly one of the most influential inventors of the 20th century whose discoveries in the field of electricity were way ahead of his time and continue to influence technology even today.
His is a rags-to-riches story - virtually turning the fate of his life from being a ˜confused' lad to the most recognized and respected American, amongst numerous others, in the world. Thomas Alva Edison is a name to reckon with in the scientific and technological circles of the world. A prolific inventor and a leading businessman, he was the mastermind behind numerous discoveries and innovations that helped build America's economy. It was his intelligence, ideas, hard work and perseverance that made him the front-runner in America's first technological revolution. Edison is reported to have set the stage for the modern electric world. It is his discoveries and inventions that became the foundation of industries and made life blissful for the human race. With about 1093 US patents and many more patents in other countries, Edison is accredited with numerous inventions, including stock ticker, phonograph, first practical electric light bulb, motion picture camera, mechanical vote recorder and a battery for an electric car.
Often remembered as the Father of Modern Astronomy, Galileo Galilei was one of the most celebrated and illustrious astronomers, mathematicians and physicists in the history of mankind. He played a major role and was instrumental in establishing the scientific revolution. Galileo is credited for developing much of the modern concepts, which have proved to be the foundation on which research is conducted in the present times. Throughout his life, Galileo greatly contributed to astronomical observatory. He bettered the telescope, which assisted him in his discoveries. He also dismissed the Aristotelian view which was dominant in that era and supported Copernicanism. His contribution in the field of astronomy includes the telescopic confirmation of the phases of Venus, the discovery of the four largest satellites of Jupiter, and the observation and analysis of sunspots. Furthermore, he invented an improved military compass and other instruments in the field of applied science and technology. It was his prophesizing the heliocentric view and supporting Copernicanism that irked the Roman Catholic Church and resulted in his lifelong conflict with the same. Nevertheless, with the dawn of the 20th century, the Church lifted the ban imposed on Galileo's books and acclaimed him as the Father of Modern Sciences.
One of the greatest inventors of the late 19th century, Alexander Graham Bell is probably most famous for the invention of the telephone and the ˜Bell Telephone Company', he formed soon after. Throughout his life, he sought to foster the advancement of scientific knowledge with his utmost dedication and sincere efforts. His career only began in earnest after his family moved from London, England to Ontario, Canada in an attempt to improve his health. He started as an elocution teacher for the deaf people where he worked tirelessly to spread an early form of sign language across America. He displayed his innovative talent with his invention of various sound recording and transmission devices. In his later years, his research interests shifted away from transmission devices to transport, including both aeronautics and experimental forms of boats that would later progress to become known as hydrofoils. His greatest achievement remains the invention of the telephone that has changed and continues to change the way people communicate around the world. He was a pioneer, who gifted mankind with one of the most astonishing and trailblazing discoveries in human history, the telephone.
More often than not we have heard of brother's rivalry and contention. However, turning the pages of history, one such brother duo not only wronged this clichÃ© but contributed to making history in aeronautical engineering! Wright brothers, Wilbur and Orville, were the foremost pioneers, inventors and innovators in the field of aviation who mastered the creation of the world's first successfully controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight in 1903. Since the very beginning of their decade long effort they concentrated on resolving flying problems by developing a reliable method of pilot control. The approach was quite different from other inventors who concentrated on building powerful engines alone. They achieved a breakthrough with the invention of the three-axis control, which enabled the pilot to steer the aircraft effectively and to maintain its equilibrium. Dodging skepticism and criticism, the brothers went on to initiate Wright Company that was involved with selling of flying device. While both the brothers did not have business acumen, Wilbur was blessed with executive skills which Orville missed on. As such, upon the death of the former, Orville sold the company and retired to become an important member of the board of major aeronautical organizations.
Wilbur Wright was an aviator and inventor who along with his brother <a title='Orville' href='/famous/orville-wright.htm'>Orville</a> Wright developed the world's first successful airplane. The Wright Brothers were the pioneers in building a power-driven, controlled airplane that could sustain human flight. Wilbur's fascination with flying began when his father bought him a toy helicopter based on the design of Alphonse PÃ©naud, a French aviation pioneer. Wilbur was very close to his younger brother, <a title='Orville' href='/famous/orville-wright.htm'>Orville</a> with whom he conducted his experiments. As a bright youngster, he was always on the lookout for new intellectual challenges. The Wright brothers were deeply influenced by the works of the German aviation pioneer, Otto Lilienthal who was the first person to make repeated gliding flights. Lilienthal's tragic death in a gliding accident made Wilbur realize the importance of controls in an aircraft. The brothers studied all the models of the existing flying machines, and were determined to come up with something better. The brothers worked unceasingly for years towards building an airplane that could sustain flight while seating a human on board. In 1903, they were successful in designing and building the Wright Flyer, which The U.S. Smithsonian Institution described as "...the first powered, heavier-than-air machine to achieve controlled, sustained flight with a pilot aboard."
Louis Braille was a French educationist, who is regarded as one of the greatest contributors to the field of reading and writing systems for the visually impaired. Braille used to visit his father's leather workshop and often worked with pieces of leather when he was a child; however, he injured his eyes in an accident when he was trying to pierce a piece of leather. The injury was the reason why he went blind at the age of five. His parents tried to give him a standard education and when he was grown up he was sent to Paris to study at the Royal Institute for Blind Youth. It was at the institute that Braille came into contact with a reading system for blind people and later on he met with Charles Barbier, who showed the reading system that he had invented on his own. It proved to be the inspiration for Braille to design his own reading system for blind people and the most important feature of his reading system was its simplicity as well as the fact that blind people could also write using his system. Although Braille's system did not get enough recognition during his lifetime, it became the universal reading and writing system for blind people in the subsequent years.
African American inventor of the three-position traffic signal and one of the first gas masks, which he called a Safety Hood. He made a heroic rescue in 1916 when he and three others used his safety hood device to save workers trapped in a water intake tunnel being dug under Lake Erie after a natural gas explosion and fire.
German blacksmith who invented the first printing press with moveable type, which started the Printing Revolution of the 15th and 16th century. His invention helped increase literacy in Europe and gave the middle class a boost.
Samuel Morse was an American painter and inventor, who invented the single-wire telegraph system.. Born to a modest household, Morse started his career as a painter, his forte being portraiture. In no time, he established a name for himself in the field of painting and painted portraits of significant personalities such as, former US President John Adams and James Monroe and French aristocrat Marquis de Lafayette. Though Morse was always fascinated with electromagnetism, it was the sudden news of the death of his wife that gave him the impetus to come up with a device that allowed long-distance communication. After years of hard work, he finally came up with the single-wire telegraph system that changed the way people sent and received messages in the world. He co-developed Morse Code, a method of transmitting textual information as a series on an off tones. Interestingly, in some parts of the world, Morse Code is still in use in radio communications
Inventor, academic, and ophthalmologist who is most known for being the first woman to have served on the Jules Stein Eye Institute.
James Watt was a Scottish engineer and instrument maker, who is known for his invention of the first modern steam engine. He modified the Newcomen steam engine to increase its efficiency through his creative thinking and scientific knowledge of instrument design. He learned writing, arithmetic and geometry in his childhood along with the craft of instrument making, which he later pursued as a career to achieve great heights. One of his greatest strengths was that he was a quick learner, which transformed him from an apprentice to a skilled professional in very less time as compared to other people. He faced a lot of poverty as he was vastly in debt and was not allowed to work as a professional initially. Eventually, he became a successful and famous inventor through some of his finest works including the steam engine, rotary engine and copying system. His vast knowledge of mechanical engineering, leading the way for the future generations, also symbolized his mark in history as one of the most celebrated scientists of all time. He also developed the concept of ˜Horsepower' and the S.I. unit of power, Watt, is named after him. He was married twice and had seven children, but unfortunately only one of his children lived beyond the age of 30.
Best known as the inventor of mechanical lubrication for steam engines, he also had 57 other U.S. patents to his name. His name, McCoy, is a likely origin of the expression "The real McCoy."
Most famous for inventing the popular Super Soaker water gun toy, he went on to patent seven dozen other products, including the Johnson Thermo-Electrochemical Converter System, which made Popular Mechanics' 2009 list of the year's ten most important inventions.
'The Black Edison' who recorded over 50 patents to his name over his long career and who strived to make a safer and better public transportation system. He was the first African American to be a mechanical and electrical engineer after the Civil War.
Italian instrument maker who invented the piano and was employed by the Medici family. He was also skilled at building existing instruments, such as the clavicytherium or upright harpsichord and the standard Italian harpsichord.
Russian small arms designer who most notably designed the world's most popular automatic weapon, the AK-47. He was named a Hero of the Russian Federation in 2009.
Samuel Colt was an American inventor and industrialist who designed and developed the world's first handgun”better known as the ˜Revolver'”a hand held gun that could be fired multiple times without reloading. He founded the Colt's Manufacturing Company and made it possible to commercially mass produce revolvers for the first time. He is one of those inventors who left an indelible mark on the weapons industry with his innovative gun designs. He had an interest in all things mechanical from an early age. As a teenager, he used to dismantle the gadgets in his house to understand how they worked. He had a special fascination with firearms and had a desire to develop a gun which could shoot multiple times without reloading. He got his idea for a ˜revolving' cylinder when he embarked on a voyage aboard a ship. He observed the ship's steering wheel that could spin or alternatively be locked in a fixed position through the use of a clutch. No doubt Colt was a brilliant inventor, but his initial business ventures failed miserably. But, his business picked up during the American war with Mexico when the Texas Rangers ordered 1,000 of his revolvers. His production and marketing techniques were ahead of his times and he successfully employed the assembly line production due to the usage of interchangeable parts. By the time of his death, he was hailed as someone who had revolutionized the weapons industry.
Inventor and cancer researcher who, at fifteen, created a sensor to detect early stage pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancers. He has been awarded numerous public service awards, including the 2014 Jefferson Award, and has gone on to speak to young adults around the world.
Antonie van Leeuwenhoek was a renowned scientist of the seventeenth century whose pioneering research works, laid the founding stone for emergence of microbiology as a stream. Hailed as the ˜Father of Microbiology' this talented biologist chanced upon scientific research by mere coincidence. Antonie was a young entrepreneur, who established his own linen business and in search of a high quality magnifying lens, to be used for inspection of thread used in the linen, ended up devising a new technique of creating lens which can provide magnification up to 500 times. Upon encouragement from friend and physician Graaf, Antonie used the improved design of microscope to make many significant discoveries, which laid the foundation for evolution of microbiology. Beginning with identifying the first bacteria to describing the structure of RBC's to the detailed study of deadly disease he suffered from; this eminent scientist contributed to scientific advancement even in his death. As more of his works began to get published his repertoire increased exponentially; he was visited by many eminent personalities throughout his lifetime which include the likes of Russian Tsar Peter the Great, German philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and Prince William III of England. Though this expert lens man shared his findings with the public, he preferred to work alone and kept the technique of making high precision microscope a closely guarded secret until his death. Read on to know more about his works and achievements
Inventor, salesman, and engineer who invented the first version of the zipper in the late Nineteenth Century. He was also one of the early thinkers regarding the invention of railway systems in urban areas.
Inventor who built the world's first rocket fueled by liquid fuel, which he launched successfully for the first time on March 16, 1926. His monograph, A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes, which was published in 1919, is considered one of the classic texts of 20th-century rocket science.
One of America's earliest food scientists who most notably invented a method to condense milk so that it would have a longer shelf life. He also created the "meat biscuit" for stylers crossing the plains who need portable concentrated food.