When you think about the people who have used their skill and imagination to create things that alter the way we live our lives, you tend to think about the men in white coats, locked away in secret labs, or even crazy old men in garden sheds. Never, if you were asked to name a famous inventor would you come up with the name of an adolescent kid, just shows you how wrong we all are.
Braille was Invented by a 15 Year Old
When he was just three years old Louis Braille had an accident whilst playing with his father’s tools, he managed to injure his eye, which then became infected. As antibiotics were still some way in the future he had no option than to let the infection run its course and his sight was lost forever. At this time France was the only country to have a specialist blind school for children and luckily for Louis he was bright enough to win a scholarship at the age of ten to study there. Learning involved listening to lectures, but Louis wanted more. He wanted to read and to write and do all of the things that other children could do, so he was left with only one choice; to invent a system of reading and writing for the blind. It took three years of study and trials, but by the time he was fifteen he had developed the system of modern Braille that is still used today.
The Snowmobile was Invented by a 15 Year Old
Snow is one of those things that you either love or hate. These days we can cope fairly well even with the biggest snowfall thanks to our central heating and modern heat retaining clothing. However, back in the day snow could often mean freezing to death. So off we go to Quebec in Canada, the year is 1907. People are regularly trapped by large drifts of snow but teenager Joe Bambadier has decided that he is going to be trapped no longer. At fifteen he modified an old Model T Ford that his father had given him to ‘tinker with’. He added a sleigh frame to enable the vehicle to move over the snow and added a wooden propeller which he had whittled and carved himself, and so was born the first ever snowmobile.
The Revolver was Invented by a Teenager
All of the guns that are in use today can be traced back to one man, well, one teenager named Samuel Colt. Samuel was a bit of a loner, he was sent away to boarding school and spend a lonely time there with no one to call his friend. Seeking popularity and attention he crafted a firework and set it off one day outside his class. Instant popularity followed, until that is the school burned to the ground. Fascinated with explosives it wasn’t long before he started designing a hand held explosive device. Prototypes were tried, many blew up, but it was when he partnered with a certain Mr Walker (Texas Ranger – head of!) that the design was cleaned up and made marketable. Over thirty million weapons bearing the colt name have since been sold globally.
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