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A CLASS ACT - YOUNG INVENTORS

A look at the great and often unrecognized pioneers in the field of invention and innovation. We cover both young inventors that became well-known and some lesser-known young inventors.and their contributions.

 
1642 The mechanical adding machine was invented by a nineteen-year-old French boy named Blaise Pascal way back in the year 1642.
1648 Anton van Leeuwenhoek is best known for his work on  the improvements of the microscope, in 1648 at the age of 16. He also contributed towards the establishment of microbiology in 1673.
1721 In 1721, Benjamin Franklin at the age of 15, was busily occupied in delivering newspapers by day and in composing articles for it at night. These articles, published anonymously, won wide notice and acclaim for their pithy observations on the current scene.
1824 When Louis Braille was 15 years old, he developed an ingenious system of reading and writing by means of raised dots. Today, in virtually every language throughout the world, Braille is the standard form of writing and reading used by blind people.

At the age of 15, Cyrus Hall McCormick invented a lightweight cradle for carting harvested grain. Seven years later, in 1831 he invented the reaper, a horse drawn farm implement to cut small grain crops.

1830 Henry Bessemer produced his first invention at the age of seventeen--embossed stamps for use on title deeds. At that time, the British government was losing thousands of pounds in revenue each year through the illegal reuse of title stamps. Bessemer's invention made the crime impossible and earned him his first job.
1862 When he was 15 years old Thomas Alva Edison published a weekly newspaper, printing it in a freight car that also served as his laboratory. While working as a telegraph operator, he made his first important invention, a telegraphic repeating instrument.
1865 Since the age of 18, Alexander Graham Bell had been working on the idea of transmitting speech. While working on a multiple telegraph, he developed the basic ideas for the telephone.

George Westinghouse, at age 19, obtained his first patent, for a rotary steam engine.
1873 At age 17, Chester Greenwood applied for a patent. For the next 60 years, Greenwood's factory made earmuffs. Greenwood went on to create more than 100 other inventions.
1921 Philo Farnsworth a 14-year-old had an idea while working on his father's Idaho farm. Philo realized an electron beam could scan a picture in horizontal lines, reproducing the image almost instantaneously. It would prove to be a critical breakthrough, towards electronic television.
1930 At 16 yrs. old, George Nissen finished high school and set out to develop a bouncing apparatus(trampoline). Working in his parentsí garage using steel materials he found at a junkyard, he built a rectangular frame with a piece of canvas stretched across it. It was an instant hit ≠ Nissen was sure he could commercialize it.
1958 As a 17-year-old high school junior, Robert Heft found himself in need of a class project. His proposed 50 star American Flag idea was initially turned down by the teacher. He went ahead and finished his project, receiving a B minus for his efforts. Heft's teacher compromised and promised to deliver a better classroom grade if he could get the U.S. Congress to accept his flag. The rest is history.
1972 Rebecca Schroeder from Toledo, Ohio, USA was ten when she became an inventor. Becky got a patent for her invention in 1974; she was on television and won awards for it. She improved upon the idea over the next few years eventually calling it the Glo-Sheet. The Glo-Sheet has been used in many places. Doctors use them so they can check patient's notes in the dark without waking them up and the US Navy and NASA have used them.
1993 One Saturday morning in 1993, when she was eight years old, Abigail M. Fleck and her father, Jonathan, were cooking bacon in their St. Paul, Minnesota home. Inspired by an offhand comment from her father,. Abbey Fleck invented a new, quicker and healthier way to cook bacon, then founded a company to sell her product, The Makin' BaconĆ.
2000 "I called it a Batball because I can store my baseballs inside the bat and I like it. It's really cool.'' says Jacob Dunnack age 8.
2005 Taylor Hernandez, age 10, invented "Magic Sponge Blocks," large building blocks made from sponge that can safely stack high without worry that they could fall and hurt a child.

TO LEARN MORE

ON THE BOOKSHELF:
Brainstorm!: The Stories of Twenty American Kid Inventors
by Tom Tucker, Richard Loehle / Paperback - 144 pages  / Sunburst (1998)
The stories of twenty ingenious young Americans who have filed patents with the United States Patent Office, including Chester Greenwood who invented ear muffs, Ralph Samuelson, originator of water-skiing, and Vanessa Hess who created colored car wax. A great inspiration for your own young scientist.
Kids Inventing! A Handbook for Young Inventors
by Susan Casey / Paperback: 144 pages / Jossey-Bass (2005) / Ages 9+
You'll meet inspiring kids just like you who designed their own award-winning inventions. Discover how exciting it can be to rethink the world around you, solve problems, and surprise and delight others with the results. Anything's possible with Kids Inventing!

The Kids' Invention Book
by Arlene Erlbach /
Library Binding (August 1997) / Lerner Publications Company
The stories of twelve kid inventors.
Erlbach uses the success of 15-year-old Chester Greenwood, who invented earmuffs in 1873, as the takeoff point for introducing more than a dozen contemporary children who have created their own inventions. Each double-page spread profiles one child and his or her invention, some of which have won national recognition in inventors' contests.
The Kid Who Invented the Popsicle: And Other Surprising Stories About Inventions
by Don L. Wulffson / Paperback - 128 pages (1999) / Puffin

Brief factual stories about how various familiar things were invented, many by accident, from animal crackers to the zipper. 
Margaret Knight: Girl Inventor
by Marlene Targ Brill, Joanne Friar / Library Binding - 32 pages (October 2001) / Millbrook Pr
Knight was interested in how things worked and in building and inventing. This picture book tells the story of how she came up with the idea to make a safer loom at age 12.

So You Want to Be An Inventor?
by Judith St. George, David Small / Paperback: 56 pages / Puffin; (2005)  / Ages 9+
Are you a kid who likes to tinker with machines that clink and clank, levers that pull, bells that ring, cogs that grind, switches that turn on and off, wires that vibrate, dials that spin? You maybe inspired by what other inventors have accomplished.


ON THE WEB:

Academy of Applied Science
The Academy is recognized nationally as an educational resource center offering enrichment programs for students, and professional development for teachers and educational administrators.
Partnership for America's Future, Inc
An eagerness to continue learning, without a teacherís prodding, has characterized those students who have participated in the Partnershipís programs. In this way, students have become convinced that education is valuable; and when students believe that education is valuable, then they will value their education.

Celebrating the Achievements of Children
Amazing Kids! is dedicated to inspiring excellence in children. We base this mission on the belief that every child has the potential to be "amazing" in her or his own way. We believe it is through the realization of this potential that children will be able to live more productive and satisfying lives.
Big Learning
This site exists to contribute resources for big learners and promote big learning as a valid way for kids to learn. So explore the treasure troves, check out the links, sign up for the newsletter, and go have fun learning something!
The Kids Hall of Fame
Spotlight The Famous and The Soon-To-Be Famous Kids throughout the world by age level (up to age 19). Archive Their Accomplishments  Provide Positive Peer Role Models For All Kids
USPTO Kids Pages
Lots to see and do at this site operated by the United States Patent and Trademark Office to inspire kid inventors. Resources include games, links to other government/educational sites, contests, puzzles and a helpful frequently asked questions page. So fire up your imagination and get started inventing.
Young Inventors International
To connect inventors and innovative entrepreneurs under the age of 35 to a global network of resources and support, and provide inventors with the skills, knowledge, and connections required in commercializing innovations successfully.
Classroom Inventor Project
Having young inventors around is exciting. You never know what they'll come up with. It's best to talk over their invention ideas first and then make suggestions. Lesson plans from the Apple Learning Interchange.
Craftsman/NSTA Young Inventors Awards
The Craftsman/NSTA Young Inventors Awards Program challenges students to use creativity and imagination along with science, technology, and mechanical ability to invent or modify a tool.
ExploraVision Awards
ExploraVision is a competition for students of all interest, skill, and ability levels in grades K-12. The purpose of the competition is to encourage students to combine their imaginations with the tools of science to create and explore a vision of a future technology.

 
   
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