We give you a list of the 10 youngest inventors ever, it includes young people who are responsible for innovations that have entertained, helped and amazed people around the world for centuries. And what’s most inspiring about this is that most of these young people created their inventions before they even made it out of high school! Read and be inspired!
- George Westinghouse, Rotary Steam Engine – 19 years old
In 1865, Westinghouse received what would be the first of many patents with his invention of the rotary steam engine.
He is credited for revolutionizing the railroad industry with both his steam engine and other relevant innovations including a railroad braking system using compressed air. This made it possible for trains to travel more safely, and at higher speeds.
By 1905, approximately 2 million vehicles and almost 90,000 locomotives had a Westinghouse Quick-Action Automatic Brake installed.
- Philo Farnsworth, Television – 14 years old
Without Philo Farnsworth we may have never seen a television. Can you imagine?
As a 14-year-old boy in Rigby, Idaho, Farnsworth drafted his first sketch of what would later become the electronic television. For the remainder of his life, Farnsworth labored painstakingly to create the world’s first all-electronic image display device. He is considered to be the godfather of the modern television. Some of his many creations also include the video camera tube, and the image dissector.
- Peter Chilvers, Windsurfing – 12 years old
In 1958, 12-year-old Peter Chilvers created the very first sailboard. As a young boy on Hayling Island, located on the southern coast of Britain, Chilvers enjoyed a variety of water sports. One day he decided to put a sail on his surfboard and the rest is history.
Chilvers is still heavily involved in windsurfing culture. He founded the London East End Windsurfing Centre for underprivileged children and is currently spearheading the bid for his hometown of Hayling Island to create a €40 million windsurfing and sailing center.
- George Nissen, Trampoline – 16 years old
George Nissen designed the first modern trampoline in his parent’s garage with the help of his gymnastics coach Larry Griswold. He first built a rectangular frame, and then stretched a taut piece of canvas over the rectangular frame, thus creating the first trampoline.
After going to college, Nissen continued his gymnastics career and even won three NCAA championships for the University of Iowa. After majoring in Business, Nissen traveled the world and while in Mexico learned the Spanish word “trampoline.” Later that year, he trademarked his invention under the English version of the word and began to create and sell his trampolines across the country.
- Horatio Adams, Bubble Gum – mid teens
Though many attribute the creation of chewing gum to businessman Thomas Adams, it was actually his son Horatio that played an intricate role in the creation of this American staple.
Adams had purchased Mexican chicle and was attempting to transform the natural substance into a rubber substitute. However, after spending some time with the substance, young Horatio quickly realized that chicle could be turned into a chewable substance.
He created 200 balls of what later became known as bubble gum. Horatio had the local druggist dispense the balls. By mid-afternoon that day, all bubble gum balls had been sold for 1 penny.
- Frank Epperson, Popsicles – 11 years old
In 1905, eleven-year-old Frank Epperson forgot about a mixture of water and powdered soda that was in a cup with a stirring stick on his porch. It was a cold evening and the next morning, Epperson discovered a frozen pop on his porch. He found it delicious and called the concoction an “Epsicle.” For the next 18 years, Epperson didn’t pursue development of his accidental invention. However, he made the tasty treat for his children and they called the cold treat “Pop’s Sicle.”
In 1923, Epperson commercialized the product, and applied for a patent. He then created a variety of new flavors and distributed his cold product to the public.
- Blaise Pascal, Mechanical Calculator – 19 years old
Blaise Pascal was a child prodigy educated by his father, a successful French tax collector. His creation of an adding machine was the groundwork for the modern day calculator, which he created in 1642 while helping his father at work.
Pascal’s father spent all day conducting complex mathematical calculations as a tax collector for the crown. Little Pascal created a wooden box that had 16 separate dials and when each dial was turned, additions and subtractions were able to be done quickly.
Blaise Pascal makes it to one of the top spots on our list because he was able to do something that others had tried and failed. In fact, Leonardo da Vinci attempted to create a calculating machine that was similar to the one created by Pascal.
- Becky Schroeder, Glo-Sheet – 12 years old
At the ripe old age of 12, Becky became the youngest women to be approved for a U.S. patent for her Glo-Sheet invention in 1974.
Becky was only 10 years old when she was attempting to do homework in her mom’s car. As it got darker outside, she had the idea that there should be a way to make her paper easier to see in the dark. Becky took matters into her own hands and began playing around with phosphorescent materials, which exhibited light but without heat. She then used phosphorescent paint to cover an acrylic board and The Glow Sheet was created.
- Louis Braille, the Braille Reading – 15 years old
Braille was accidentally blinded as a child. After moving to Paris to attend a school for the visually impaired, he found they had books that allowed the students to use their hands to touch large raised words on the page as a means for them to read.
Braille decided to create a better system using raised dots instead of raised letters. The language of Braille has since become the concrete writing system used by the blind and the visually impaired around the world.
- Alexander Graham Bell, Telephone – 18 years old
At 18, Alexander Graham Bell started to develop a way to transmit speech. He created what he called the “harmonic telegraph” which involved the idea of transmitting a voice message through a single wire to a separately located receiver. Further experiments with his assistant, Thomas Watson finally proved successful on March 10, 1876, when the first complete sentence was transmitted: “Watson, come here; I want you!” the birth of telephone.
Give life to that seed of idea within you, it could be the next big thing!