Monday, January 25, 2016

Folk Legends: Inventors

 Inventors who are folk legends

Those folk legends who are inventors have made our world what it is today. Entrepreneurs from all walks of life for all kinds of reasons have been coming up with ideas that can change our course. Intended or not, these devises, systems, and services take us to the next step of our evolution.

Sometimes the transition is so smooth that we hardly notice it or the person responsible for making it possible. These unsung legends, unlike their more notorious or more celebrated colleagues, such as Albert Einstein and Florence Nightingale, have not become household names. Sometimes because they were too far ahead of their time and sometimes because were a bit out of step.

Nonetheless, they deserve our attention and appreciation just the same. 

Here are four of them:

Dutch inventor Cornelis Jacobszoon Drebbel (1572-1633) contributed numerous advances to the fields of chemistry and optics. Some suggest his most impressive achievement was the construction of the world’s first navigable submarine in 1620.
His third version was an oar-driven contraption. It was built in 1624 out of wood and leather, and could carry 16 passengers 15 feet below the surface for three hours at a time.
Records report that he took English King James I for a test dive beneath the Thames. 

Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) was the daughter of British poet Lord Byron. From an early age she was noted for her mathematically talent. When she and fellow mathematician Charles Babbage joined forces they created what today is considered to be a mechanical calculator.

After Baggage introduced her to his “Analytical Engine,” idea, her thoughts burst forth into an algorithm for the engine that computed Bernoulli numbers. These numbers – a sequence of signed rational numbers that can be defined by the exponential generating function – made her the one of the first computer programmers.

Unfortunately the machine she conceived of was not built in her lifetime.

Paris printer and bookseller, Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville (1817-1879) was considered to be a shorthand and stenography expert. Focused on this, he sought to find a way to record and transcribe the spoken word. 

His 1857 patented phonautograph was able to translate the vibrations of sound onto a hand-cranked cylinder. 

His invention preceeded Edison’s creation of the phonograph two decades later. 

Italian immigrant Antonio Meuccci (1808-1889) migrated to Staten Island, in 1857. His tenacity and creativity allowed him to create an electromagnetic telephone that linked his basement laboratory to the second floor bedroom where his bedridden wife lay.
His invention, the “telettrofono”, was buried beneath a sea of patents and financial burdens almost twenty years before Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone patent was issued.
They folk legend inventors all deserve a place on the list of those who made contributions to the world.

Related Information:

Antonio Meucci

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