World Patent Marketing Salutes Kid Inventors
These kid inventors prove that the drive to invent starts early. Young inventors are found in every field, from high-tech medical inventions, to food, entertainment, sports, and even modern business inventions.
World Patent Marketing salutes kid inventors whose great invention ideas compete with the best. We present some of the great inventions from the past that were invented by "kids" as well as modern day All-American entrepreneurs.
Calculator Invented by an 18 Year Old
Quite a few people are aware that the famous mathematician, Blaise Pascal, invented the calculator. But, most people don't know that he built it for his father when he was only 18 years old. Pascal's calculator could automatically perform sums, subtract, multiply and divide. It operated by a system of turning wheels and gears. Pascal's father was a tax collector and the machine was designed to help him with his work. Pascal built about 20 of the machines, but they didn't take off, there wasn't enough demand for the expensive machines.
Pascal was always a precocious mathematical genius. He wrote a significant treatise on geometry when he was only 16. Later he continued to work in mathematics and philosophy. Shortly before he died in 1661, he had been working on another "social" invention, which might be thought of as the precursor to a modern bus. It was a carriage with rows of seats that could hold more passangers than a typical carriage.
Pascal died in 1662 after having suffered from ill health most of his adult life. It is commonly believed that he committed suicide after failing to beat the roulette wheel, but this is not true. The programming language PASCAL is named in honor of this "kid" inventor.
"Kid" Develops Cancer Screening
Proving that modern day kids are perfectly capable of giving the greats like Pascal a run for their money, Jack Andraka created a way to screen patients for pancreatic cancer. His method uses nanotubes suspended in solution that react with a special paper to provide quick reliable results. He isn't the first to develop the method, but he is the first to use it for pancreatic cancer specfically. Tests are still underway to determine if his test produces positive benefits. Andraka has won a number of science awards and now attends Standford University. Expect exciting things from this superstar kid inventor.
You Can't Stop a Brilliant Mind, a Blind 15 Year Old Invented Braille
Braille is textured printing for the blind. This digital form of writing which dates from the early 1800s was invented by a 15 year old. And he was blind as well.
Louis Braille went blind at the age of three. He attended a special school for the blind in Paris. He and his fellow students wanted books that they could read (there were some books for the blind at the time, but they were very difficult to use and expensive to make.)
The French Military had developoed a form of textured printing that was called "Night Writing" for use on the battlefield in the dark. Braille took this method, refined and adapted it. He invented a complete Braille system by 1824, when he was only 15 years old. He published his system for the academic community in 1829. Later, in 1837, he introduced a new and better system using dots, which is for all intents and purposes, the same Braille system used today. It is called "Braille" in his honor.
Kid Inventors with Entreperneurial Spirit
Makin' Bacon is a specialty cookware dish that cooks bacon in a microwave. This household invention earns over one million dollars per year in royalties. The inventor was just 8 years old when she made her first prototype. Abbey Fleck's breakthrough idea, was to create a cooking dish that holds the bacon up and out of the fat as it cooks in a microwave.
To bring the product to the marketplace, her whole family got involved. Walmart was interested in the product, but they had a minimum order of 100,000 units. At age 8, Abbey didn't have the capital or resources to manufacture at that scale. In order to make that first order happen, her grandfather literally mortgaged the family farm. The rest is Makin' Bacon history.
It's Cold Outside
An American kid, 15 year old Chester Greenwood, created the first ear muffs. It was the late 1800s and Chester liked to ice skate in his home state of Maine. But, he got tired of freezing his ears off. So he found a wire loop and got his grandmother to sew fur on the ends. Earmuffs were born.
Chester continued to develop his invention over the years and took out an invention patent in the 1870s for Greenwoods Champion Ear Protectors. He made a fortune with U.S. Military contracts for the earmuffs during WW I. Like many young inventors, Chester didn't stop with his first. He created more than 100 products, including a steel rake.
Accidental Discovery Led to the Invention of the Popsicle
Way back in 1905, Frank Epperson was enjoying a powdered drink on the porch. He set it down and left it there overnight with the stirring stick resting in the cup. And it froze. The first popsicle was born.
Frank called it the Epsicle, from his last name. But at first he didn't do much with the idea commercially. After many years his children took to calling them "Pop's" 'sicles. So Epperson changed the name to Popsicle and patented the idea in 1923. He sold the rights to the name and the result was the creation of a well-known worldwide product that is still going strong more than a hundred years later.
15 Year Old Was Critical to the Invention of Television
Philo T. Farnsworth spent his entire life involved in the invention process, developing and refining the television. And boy did he start young. By age 15, Farnsworth was showing plans and diagrams for his television set to his high school teachers. He developed the plans for the vacuum tube, essential to early televisons, by the time he was 16. It was all the more remarkable, because at this time, television was unknown to the majority of the population.
At 21, Farnsworth held the first public demonstration of a television set. During his lifetime he racked up over 100 patents for devices and components that were found on typical television sets in 1971.
Inventor at Age 6, Million Dollar Mogul at Age 9
As they say, the best products solve every day problems. Just ask Kelly Reinhart, who designed Thigh Packs when she was only 6 years old. Thigh Packs is an adaptation of a gun holster, that is specially designed to carry kid stuff, like portable video games.
Three years later, this little entrepreneur had a business that generated one million dollars in orders. Many people, including the Pentagon who considered placing an order for specially designed Thigh Packs, were surprised to find that the chairperson of TPak International, a million dollar company, was just 9 years old.
The whole company began as a fun project designed by Kelly's parents to keep their seven children busy. They asked their children to draw a picture of an invention idea they would like to make. Kelly drew the Thigh Pack, modeled after the holsters she saw in westerns. Her parents had some prototypes made that quickly sold out at flea markets. Kelly took them to school and got feedback from friends for modifications and changes. The family started selling Thigh Packs at trade shows, and the product took off from there. By the time Kelly was off to junior high school, she was already a celebrity entrepreneur.
Kids Invent Fun
Leave it to a crazy teenage boy to create a breakthrough water sport. In 1922, Ralph Samuelson invented waterskiing. On his home waters in Lake Pepin, Minnesota, he tested a variety of materials for his water skis. He started out with wooden barrel staves, and also tested snow skis, before he finally settled down to his own design of specially-shaped wooden skis.
Waterskiing was a huge hit and Samuelson spent years traveling around the country, introducing people to the sport. He also created the first waterski jump and set the first waterskiing speed record, while being towed behind a WW II flying boat at 80 miles per hour. Samuelson didn't patent his invention, missing out on a bonanza of profits.
Creative Problem Solving by Kids
The inventor of the Cast Cooler suffered from cerebral palsy. In tenth grade Krysta Morlan had a series of sugeries that left her in uncomfortable casts. Being stuck in a cast didn't stop her creativity. It led to the invention of the Cast Cooler, a battery-operated device with a tube attached that blows air into the cast to cool off hot and itchy arms and legs.
And Krysta didn't stop with one good idea. During physical therapy in the pool, she came up with the Waterbike, a bike that has fins and a rudder, so she could "ride" it in the pool. Krysta invented both of them before she graduated from high school. And you can buy them today from a variety of online venues!
Kid Fun, The Trampoline
George Nissen came up with the idea of the trampoline when we was 16 years old. He was an active gymnast. He got the idea from the circus nets used in trapeze and high-wire acts. He loved the way the aerial artists bounced when they dropped onto the nets.
He decided to create a platform that he could "bounce" on at home. He developed his early prototypes in his parents' garage and displayed it as the "bouncing rig." Then he learned that in Spanish a diving board is el trampolin.
He added an "e", and came up with Trampoline. He spent the rest of his life promoting the Trampoline as a sport and fun fitness platform. The Trampoline was added to the Olympics as a sport in 2000. Nessen died in 2010 at the age of 96.
Winter Fun, The Snowmobile Is the Work of a 15 Year Old
Joseph-Armand Bombardier lived in a rural town outside of Quebec in the early 20th century. In winter, the roads were impassable and his family was completely isolated for months at a time. He solved that problem in 1922, when he was just 15 years old, by inventing the snowmobile.
He and his brother built the first snowmobile prototype invention using a sled and a propeller, powered by an old Model T engine that their father had given to the boys as a reward for rebuilding the engine of his truck. That first snowmobile worked, but it had trouble in certain snow conditions.
Over the years Joseph-Armand continued to work on perfecting the snowmobile, scrapping the propeller driven system for a track-drive and making other improvements. He received patents for many of the drive improvements. It took years to develop a machine that was reliable and fun to use in all types of snow and ice.
By 1959, he refined and launched the sleek and speedy machine that we all recognize as a snowmobile.
A Practical Baseball Invention from a Six Year Old
For all of you who have ever dreamed of inventing a product that makes it onto the shelves of a big box retailer, you'll probably feel a touch of envy at this story.
6 year old Jacob Dunnack visited his grandmother's house. When he left, he remembered his trusty baseball bat, but forgot his ball. It upset him quite a lot, so he came up with the idea of a plastic baseball bat, that had a removable cap so the ball could be stored inside.
His parents put him in touch with a product designer and they perfected the idea and pitched it to Toys R Us. The number one toy seller in the country picked it up for their stores. Today, you can buy the JD Batball at Toys R Us stores across the nation. Not bad work for a first grader!
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