February 11th is National Inventors Day. President Ronald Reagan declared it a National Day because he was inspired by Thomas Edison and his inventions. Thomas Edison was born on February 11, 1847. Every February 11th we pay tribute to Edison and all the other inventors that came before him and after him. In honor of National Inventors Day, we wanted to take a look into young inventors. What we learned was super amazing.
Braille by Louis Braille
When Louis was three years old, he got a severe eye infection that left him blind. Before the invention of Braille, they used raised letters on paper. This was very difficult to follow. When Louis was twelve, he learned of a method of silent communication used by the French military. He tweaked that a bit and he was able to read much easier. He first presented his work in 1924, and now Braille is used by the blind community worldwide.
Christmas Lights by Albert Sadacca
Before the invention of the Christmas lights we use today, people would use live candles to decorate their Christmas trees! Surprisingly, people were more worried about trusting electric lights than the open flames, but they eventually started swaying toward the electric lights. They were horribly overpriced until Albert came along. His family owned a novelty light company and at fifteen years old he used their equipment to create a much more affordable Christmas light. Now Albert’s invention of Christmas lights are a staple of Christmas tradition.
The Snowmobile by Joseph-Armand
At the young age of 15, he invented the snowmobile. He mounted the engine of a Ford Model T to four runners, whith a handmade propeller attached to the back. The first model of the invention traveled half a mile before finally stopping. After his invention of the snowmobile he continued to tinker with the invention until 1959 when he created the Ski-Doo.
Image Dissector by Philo T. Farnsworth
Many kids watch television, Farnsworth was busy inventing it. When he was 15 he started sketching his ideas. He invented the first video camera tube or ‘image dissector’, as he called it. This led to the invention of the television.
Catherine Wong’s Invention
Healthcare is often taken for granted, but there are lots of places in the world where good healthcare is almost impossible. In many of those places computers and fully equipped hospitals are hard to find. However, cell phones are commonly used. In 2012 a 17-year-old science student from New Jersey invented a device that shows the patients heartbeat right onto their phone screen. Using this device, they are able to undertake an electrocardiogram to check for any problems. This invention has the potential to improve medical care for millions of lives.
Self-Disinfecting Hazmat Suit by Mark Leschinsky
9-year-old Mark Leschinsky of New Jersey wanted to help during the Ebola scare of 2014. He saw an issue with the hazmat suit design. He read that 900 healthcare workers got infected despite wearing the suits. So, he invented the self-disinfecting hazmat suit, designed to keep workers safe when treating patients. The suit has three layers, an impenetrable inner layer, a center layer with pockets filled with disinfecting solution, and an external layer that lets the solution out to kill viruses. In 2015 Mark was added into the National Gallery of Young Inventors. PopSci visited Mark to learn more about his life-saving invention.
Westinghouse and the Rotary Steam Engine
In 1865, nineteen-year-old Westinghouse received his first out of many patents with his invention of the rotary steam engine. He is credited for revolutionizing the railroad industry with his steam engine and other relevant innovations. This made it possible for trains to travel more safely, at higher speeds. By 1905, about 2 million vehicles and 90,000 locomotives had his inventions incorporated in them.
Blaise Pascal and the Calculator
Blaise was 18 years old when he invented the first calculator in 1642. He was educated by his father, a successful French tax collector for the crown. His creation of an adding machine was the groundwork for the modern-day calculator. Blaise created a wooden box that had 16 separate dials and when each dial was turned, additions and subtractions were able to be done quickly. What’s amazing about Blaise is that he did what Leonardo da Vinci attempted do but failed
We are super inspired by these awesome young inventors. You never know, maybe one of your students will be the next young inventor the change the world!