Even though Philo Farnsworth, the inventor of electronic television, was disappointed by it for most of his life, he changed his mind the day he saw Neil Armstrong walk on the Moon thanks to his invention, telling his wife “this has made it all worthwhile”.
Stephanie Kwolek the inventor of Kevlar was working on finding a new, lightweight substitute for steel belting in automobile tires, on fears of a looming oil shortage and in anticipation of a market for lighter tires. What resulted was a new fiber five times stronger than steel by weight.
A German soldier, Artur Fischer, survived Stalingrad on the last plane out. After the war, he went on to invent many ubiquitous items such as the synchronized camera flash and the plastic wall anchor, and held over 1100 patents before dying at age 96.
In 1908, German housewife Melitta Bentz was tired of ground coffee leftovers in her coffee cup. As a consequence, she invented the paper coffee filter, founded a company, and became the employer of her own husband, in a time when women weren’t even allowed to vote.
On November 10, 1903, Mary Anderson invented an automatic car window cleaning device controlled from within the car, called the “Windshield Wiper”.
Vesta Stoudt, who had the idea for duct tape, couldnt get her bosses at a military ordnance plant to take her seriously. So she sent a letter to FDR who recommended it to the War Production Board where it was approved for use on ammo boxes.
In 1898, Nikola Tesla tricked an entire crowd into believing they could control a boat by shouting commands – in fact he invented Radio Control and piloted the boat himself.
In the late 18th century, Jacques Barbeu Du Bourg, Benjamin Franklin’s French translator, invented le parapluie-paratonnerre, the lightning rod umbrella, which is said to have become fashionable among Parisian gentlemen.
The man who patented the ouija board has a ouija board headstone.
Willem Kolff created the first dialysis machine in the Netherlands during WWII. Lacking materials, he used sausage casings, tin cans, a washing machine, and salt water. He also saved more than 800 people from the Nazis by hiding them in his hospital. And he later invented the artificial heart.
Caroline Shawk, the inventor of modern butter sculpture, couldn’t afford marble, so she started making butter sculptures to raise money at local fairs. Her butter sculpture became a runaway hit at Centennial exhibition, which allowed her to open her own studio and work with marble.