1-20 of 23 results  for:

  • inventor (general) x
  • Results with images only x
Clear all

Article

Avery, R. Stanton (13 January 1907–12 December 1997), inventor and entrepreneur, was born Ray Stanton Avery in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the son of Oliver Perry Avery, a Congregationalist minister, and Emma Dickinson Avery. Avery's early life was largely shaped by his family's religious and humanitarian interests. (Avery's mother was the daughter of a Congregationalist minister, and his brother became a minister.) Although “Stan” rebelled against the family profession, he continued to be drawn to its secular message. As a student at Pomona College from 1926 to 1932, he worked at a Los Angeles skid row mission. During a year-long trip to China (1929–1930), he spent several months at a missionary-run famine relief center. In 1932 he graduated from Pomona and took a job with the Los Angeles County Department of Charities. In later years he always insisted on the highest ethical standards in business relationships....

Article

Bell, Alexander Graham (03 March 1847–02 August 1922), inventor and educator, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, the son of Alexander Melville Bell and Eliza Grace Symonds. Family tradition and childhood environment set him on the path to his greatest invention, the telephone. His grandfather had turned from acting to speech teaching, and his father had become eminent in the latter vocation. His mother, despite her seriously impaired hearing, was an accomplished pianist and engaged her son’s interest in that form of sound communication. Edinburgh, second only to London as an intellectual center of the British Empire, excelled in science and technology, which probably stirred the boy’s interest and ambition in such matters. He made a hobby of botany and zoology. Playing about a local grist mill, he took up the miller’s challenge to make himself useful and devised a hand-cranked machine that took the husks off the grain—“my first invention,” he later called it....

Article

Berliner, Emile (20 May 1851–03 August 1929), inventor, was born Emil Berliner in the city of Hannover in the kingdom of Hannover (later a Prussian province), the son of Samuel Berliner, a merchant, and Sarah Fridman. His formal education ended in 1865 with four years at Samsonschule boarding school in Wolfenüttel, where he excelled in penmanship and drawing and evinced an early passion for classical music, a love that remained with him throughout his life. After graduation, his parents being hard pressed to provide for their large family, Berliner took employment in a print shop and then as clerk in a dry goods store. There, watching the handling of bolts of colored fabric, he took an interest in the weaving process and designed a weaving machine—the earliest evidence of his genius for invention....

Article

Coolidge, William David (23 October 1873–03 February 1975), physicist, inventor, and research director, was born in Hudson, Massachusetts, the son of Albert Edward Coolidge and Martha Shattuck, farmers. He grew up on a farm and briefly dropped out of school to work in a rubber factory; a few months there convinced him he had made a mistake. He completed high school and went on to earn a B.S. in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1896....

Article

Cooper, Peter (12 February 1791–04 April 1883), inventor, manufacturer, and civic benefactor, was born in New York City, the son of John Cooper and Margaret Campbell. His father was a struggling merchant who moved the family successively to Peekskill, Catskill, and finally Newburgh, New York, in search of financial success. Assisting his father in a series of occupations (hatter, brewer, shopkeeper, and brickmaker), Cooper obtained valuable practical work experience. Given his family’s relative poverty and constant movement, Cooper was only able to obtain a year’s worth of formal schooling; this deficiency in his formal education haunted him throughout his life....

Article

Curtiss, Glenn Hammond (21 May 1878–23 July 1930), aeronautical inventor and manufacturer, was born in Hammondsport, New York, the son of Frank R. Curtiss, the owner of a harness shop, and Lua Andrews. After the death of his father in 1883, Curtiss was raised by his mother and his strong-willed grandmother Ruth Curtiss in the bucolic Finger Lake region of western New York. After graduating from the eighth grade in 1892, Curtiss secured a job stenciling numbers on the backing of photographic film for the Eastman Dry Plant and Film Company (later Eastman Kodak Company) of Rochester. The next year he purchased a bicycle and found employment as a messenger for Western Union....

Article

Eastman, George (12 July 1854–14 March 1932), inventor, businessman, and philanthropist, was born in Waterville, New York, the son of George Washington Eastman, a nurseryman and educator, and Maria Kilbourn. His father’s pioneering work in establishing Eastman Mercantile (or Commercial) College in Rochester in 1842, a prototype for later business schools, perhaps inspired Eastman to be a trailblazer in another field. His father died when George was seven, two years after the family moved to Rochester, and his mother took in boarders. Eastman attended public and private schools until age thirteen, when he became an office boy in a real estate firm to help support his mother and two older sisters. A year later Eastman transferred to an insurance office and in 1874 he became a bookkeeper for the Rochester Savings Bank....

Article

Edgerton, Harold Eugene (06 April 1903–04 January 1990), electrical engineer and photographer, was born in Fremont, Nebraska, the son of Frank E. Edgerton, a lawyer, and Mary Coe. Edgerton received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Nebraska in 1925 and a doctorate of science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1931. He married Esther May Garrett in 1928; they had three children. Most of Edgerton’s career centered on his invention, development, and application of the stroboscopic flash....

Article

Edison, Thomas Alva (11 February 1847–18 October 1931), inventor and business entrepreneur, was born in Milan, Ohio, the son of Samuel Edison, a shingle maker, land speculator, and shopkeeper, and Nancy Elliott, a schoolteacher. Of Dutch and American heritage, his father escaped from Canada during the rebellion of 1837–1838 and, with his wife and children, settled in Milan, a burgeoning wheat port on a canal near Lake Erie, midway between Cleveland and Detroit. “Al,” as his family called him, received devoted attention from his oldest sister Marion and his mother. The arrival of the railroad in a nearby town sharply diminished the canal business in Milan and prompted the family to move to Port Huron, Michigan, in 1854. Al attended both public and private schools for short periods but studied extensively with his mother at home, where he also read books from the library of his politically radical father....

Article

Fulton, Robert (14 November 1765–23 February 1815), artist, engineer, and entrepreneur, was born on a farm in Little Britain (later Fulton) Township, south of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the son of Robert Fulton, a Scotch-Irish tailor and tradesman, and Mary Smith. Fulton’s father had left the prosperous market town of Lancaster to establish his family on the land, but like so many others with the same goal, he failed. The farm and the dwelling were sold at sheriff’s sale in 1772, and he took his family back to Lancaster. He died two years later....

Article

Holland, John Philip (24 February 1841–12 August 1914), inventor, was born in Liscannor, County Clare, Ireland, the son of John Holland, a coast guard officer, and Mary Scanlon. The Hollands lived in a small coast guard cottage, and though they had greater economic security than many residents of the village, the poverty, famine, and disease that surrounded them and that led to the death of John’s younger brother Robert and two of his uncles had a profound impact on him, initiating a strong anti-British sentiment that influenced much of his life. In 1853 Holland’s father died and the family moved to Limerick, where Holland entered the monastery school. He was very committed to his studies and rapidly excelled in the physical sciences. The hardship caused by his father’s death, along with Holland’s strong interest in education, prompted his entrance into the teaching order of the Irish Christian Brothers in 1858. He was sent to the North Monastery School in Cork for further training and apprentice teaching. Over the next fifteen years Holland moved to various teaching posts throughout Ireland and taught a variety of subjects ranging from the physical sciences to music. However, his poor health forced him to take periodic breaks from his teaching duties and, along with his interest in designing submarines, influenced his decision to move to the United States in 1873 to join his mother and two brothers, who had moved to Boston several years earlier....

Article

Hollerith, Herman (29 February 1860–17 November 1929), engineer, was born in Buffalo, New York, the son of Johann George Hollerith and Franciska Brunn. In Germany Johann Hollerith had been a professor of ancient languages in the Gymnasium at Speyer; after immigrating he acquired several farms in states west of New York but lived in Buffalo, where his wife’s brothers had a carriage factory. Herman received his secondary schooling largely by being tutored by a Lutheran minister because he hated spelling so much that he once jumped out a second-floor school window to avoid spelling class. He graduated with distinction from Columbia College (now University) School of Mines in 1879. As a special agent in the U.S. Census Office (1879–1881) he worked on statistics of manufacturers; as an outside activity he computed life tables for ...

Article

Ives, Herbert Eugene (31 July 1882–13 November 1953), physicist and inventor, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Frederic Eugene Ives, a photographer and inventor, and Mary Elizabeth Olmstead. He attended public school in Philadelphia as well as the University College School in London, England, in 1892 and the Lawrence Sheriff School in Rugby, England, from 1897 to 1898. In 1898 he joined his father’s business, the Ives Kromskop Company, and spent the next three years designing and building various pieces of equipment for producing three-color negative photographs. He also attended the Franklin Institute Night School of Mathematics for a year before matriculating at the University of Pennsylvania in 1901. After receiving a B.S. from Pennsylvania in 1905, he accepted a teaching fellowship in physics at Johns Hopkins University, where he experimented with different methods for producing photographs in color. His work with the diffraction process, whereby lightwaves are bent around the close, equidistant, parallel lines of a diffraction grating and dispersed into the various colors of the visible spectrum, gained him the Franklin Institute’s Longstreth Medal in 1906 and a Ph.D. in physics in 1908....

Article

Kent, Atwater (03 December 1873–04 March 1949), inventor and manufacturer, was born in Burlington, Vermont, the son of Prentiss J. Kent, a physician, and Mary Elizabeth Atwater. His first name was actually Arthur, but he used his middle name alone throughout his life. He attended Wooster Polytechnic Institute from 1895 to 1897 but left school to begin a manufacturing business and did not graduate....

Article

Kilby, Jack St. Clair (08 November 1923–20 June 2005), Nobel Prize-winning inventor of the microchip, Nobel Prize–winning inventor of the microchip, was born in Jefferson City, Missouri, the son of Hubert Kilby, an electrical engineer, and Vina Freitag. When Jack was four years old the family moved to Salina, Kansas, where his father worked for the Kansas Power Company. By sixth grade the family relocated again to Great Bend, Kansas, on the Arkansas River, where his father became president of Kansas Power, overseeing power distribution in the western third of the state. Jack spent his summers cleaning out oil tanks and steam generators. After an ice storm in April 1938 his father used a ham radio to keep up with the company's distant customers. Amateur radio appealed to Jack and sparked an interest in electronics. He became a Depression-era ham radio operator at call letters W9GTY....

Article

Morse, Samuel Finley Breese (27 April 1791–02 April 1872), artist and telegraph inventor, was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, the eldest child of Rev. Jedidiah Morse and Elizabeth Ann Breese. Some biographers have emphasized the influence of his father’s evangelical Calvinism on Morse, but much of his early life was spent away from home; he was enrolled as a boarder at Phillips Academy in Andover at age eight. He entered Yale in 1805 and graduated in 1810, obtaining some knowledge of electricity (but not of electromagnetism, which had yet to be discovered) from courses with ...

Article

Schick, Jacob (16 September 1877–03 July 1937), military officer, inventor, and entrepreneur, was born in Ottumwa, Iowa, the son of Valentine F. Schick, a German immigrant who staked prospector's claims and established a coal mining company. Jacob grew up in Los Cerillos, New Mexico. Learning to read and write English, German, and Spanish at home, he began working as a child for the family business. After his sixteenth birthday his father placed him in charge of building a railway spur line to transport coal to a smelting forge....

Article

Schmitt, Arthur J. (14 June 1893–29 March 1971), inventor, CEO, and philanthropist, was born Arthur John Schmitt in Austin, Illinois (later annexed by Chicago), the son of Henry W. Schmitt and Barbara Elizabeth Schneider Schmitt, owners of a leather-tanning business. Schmitt read Popular Mechanics...

Article

Thomson, Elihu (29 March 1853–13 March 1937), inventor and industrialist, was born in Manchester, England, the son of Daniel Thomson, a mechanic, and Mary Ann Rhodes, both Scots. The Thomsons were driven to the United States in 1858 by unemployment and settled in the rapidly industrializing Southwark neighborhood of Philadelphia. A precocious student, Thomson finished grammar school at age nine, passed the entrance exam for Philadelphia’s highly competitive Central High School two years later, and, too young to enter the program, studied science and experimented on his own until beginning his four-year training at the high school at age thirteen. Mentored by Professor ...

Article

Watson, Thomas Augustus (18 January 1854–13 December 1934), technician and entrepreneur, was born in Salem, Massachusetts, the son of Thomas R. Watson, a livery stable foreman, and Mary Phipps. A bright, quick boy, he left public school at fourteen from restless ambition rather than incapacity. After drifting from job to job for four years he settled down at the Boston shop of Charles Williams, who made a variety of electrical devices in small quantities. Watson took to his new job from the first. He later recalled his exultation as “I made stubborn metal do my will and take the shape necessary to . . . its allotted work.” He lay awake at night devising special tools to speed and improve his work. By 1874 he was recognized as one of the shop’s best men and accordingly was set to doing custom work for inventors. In January 1875 Watson was assigned to make apparatus for a young inventor, ...