They say children are the future – but some of these young inventors are creating it!
Technology has created a number of opportunities, but more so for young inventors. Gone are the days where years of craftsmanship go into inventing the next best gadget.
Today, more and more young people are running billion dollar businesses from their bedrooms. Some of the people mentioned below came from humble beginnings, but have grown into impressive entrepreneurs.
Some young inventors have gone on to be world name brands. Here are a few which you may have heard of.
1. Mark Zuckerberg
The first of our young inventors that springs to mind, and perhaps the most well-known, is Mark Zuckerberg. Just before his 20th birthday, Zuckerberg launched Facebook back in 2004 with his fellow students at Harvard University.
By December 2004 it had 1 million active users. By September 2017, Facebook had 2.07 billion monthly active users worldwide. Zuckerberg arguably transformed the way we interact with the world, providing a microscope into each individual life.
The site has also evolved to become an advertising powerhouse with a reported $39.9 billion in ad revenue in 2017. Zuckerberg himself is now worth $58.7 billion, according to Forbes.
2. Matt Mullenweg
Zuckerberg was only one of many young inventors to make his name out of the internet. Mullenweg created the world’s first user-managed system in 2003 which we know as WordPress. Aged 19, Mullenweg’s content management system opened up the floor to billions of people looking for a window to the outside world.
Whilst other websites have made attempts at a similar format, WordPress remains unique and everyone from the Rolling Stones to the Republican Party uses it. The company values at over $1 billion.
3. Robert Heft
Back in 1958, a school boy from Ohio busily got to work on his history assignment. His task? To redesign the American flag. The boy, Robert Heft, created the flag in his grandparents’ basement from old rags. His teacher awarded him a B minus.
Heft gave his design to the White House and then-President Eisenhower was extremely impressed. Heft stood back and watched his flag raised for the first time in Washington on 4 July 1960. It is still the flag we know to this day, making Heft one of many young inventors who really made a difference.
4. Mary Shelley
Aged at just 18, Mary Shelley was the creator of Frankenstein’s monster. In reality, she probably created a lot more than that. Some have attributed Shelley to be one of the young inventors of science fiction as we know it today.
She took Gothic horror and modern technology to create a story that was inspired by her travels around Europe. Remembering Shelley’s backdrop of romantic poetry in a man’s world, Mary was a female pioneer of literature and it is one of many reasons why her name still survives to this day.
5. Blaise Pascal
This physicist and mathematician is one of those young inventors with a lot to his name, but, one of his early works was that of a mechanical prototype. Whilst still a teenager in 1642, Pascal created the Pascaline, which could add and subtract inputs using a wheel-based system.
It’s become what we know today as the humble calculator.
6. Louis Braille
As young inventors go, this one was very young. His invention was the result of a tragic accident which left him blind from age 3. However, Braille went on to be a musician after developing an embossed dot reading format from a military messaging system when he was just 15.
The new dot format is known across the world as Braille, after one of the world’s most extraordinary young inventors.
7. Siegel and Shuster
Perhaps they themselves are the young inventors of comic book characters as we know them today. But, in 1933, teenagers Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster came up with the illustrated short story “The Reign of the Superman.”
At the time, Superman wasn’t the good guy, but instead a bald telepathic villain quite different to the character we know today. This is because science fiction fans, Siegel and Shuster, had originally written the sketch for their fan-zine “Science Fiction: The Advance Guard of Future Civilization.”
The red cape character appeared in the late 30s in “Action Comics” and has been involved in everything from WWII propaganda to teaching children in Kosovo.
8. Chester Greenwood
An invention, nonetheless, but young inventors have also been at play for these fashionable ear-warmers. A boy of 15 called Chester Greenwood was ice skating when he asked his grandmother to fix pads of beaver fur to a wire frame to protect his ears from the cold.
Greenwood went on to patent the idea and was producing 50,000 pairs every year by his mid-20s. At the time of his death, there were more than 400,000 pairs of earmuffs in manufacture. Since 1977, December 21 marks Chester Greenwood Day in Farmington, Maine – his hometown.
Next time you log in to Facebook or see the American flag, you might just find yourself wondering what these young inventors will come up with next!
By Becky L.