We take inventions that were created years ago for granted. But we often forget about the people who devised them. Once you read about the ways in which these people created their life-changing inventions, you’ll appreciate even more what they had to go through to make it.
There is so much we can learn from these inventors—from their determination to their resourcefulness and sacrifices. They did some surprising things in the process. In these modern times, we sometimes need to remind ourselves how far we’ve come.
10 Christopher Cockerell – The Hovercraft
Christopher Cockerell became interested in the idea for the hovercraft after scientists discovered a basic prototype could float with a cushion of air inside it. The problem was that the air quickly escaped through the sides.
Cockerell demonstrated that a “wall” of air could solve this problem by trapping all the air. He conducted an experiment where he fitted a cat food tin inside a coffee tin and then pumped air from a vacuum cleaner between them.
Amazon.com Gift Card i... Buy New $25.00 (as of 10:05 EDT - Details) In 1955, he patented his idea. Four years later, his hovercraft test was successful after it traveled along the South Coast of England. His invention is especially useful in countries where there are worn roads and railway tracks. This gives people the chance to travel through different landscapes like rivers and deserts.
9 Frank Whittle – The Jet Engine
While studying at the Royal Air Force College, Frank Whittle wrote a paper on “Future Developments in Aircraft Design.” He went into detail about how airplanes would soon be able to travel at speeds of more than 800 kilometers per hour (500 mph).
They would be equipped with jet engines instead of propellers. Whittle described how his engine design would burn cheap fuel oil, thus producing gases that would turn the turbine blades and cause the plane to go forward from the sheer force of the gases.
Amazon.com Gift Card i... Buy New $10.00 (as of 01:45 EDT - Details) Sadly, the Air Ministry wasn’t interested in his idea. In 1936, he decided to start a company called Power Jets Ltd. while studying at Cambridge University. He filed a patent for his turbojet engine idea as well as the turbofan. The engine was initially tested on the ground on April 12, 1937. Four years later in May 1941, it was installed in the Gloster E28/39 airplane and flown for the first time with no problems.
Whittle showed that his jet engine design was much more efficient than the engines of the time. To this day, his jet engine is used to power most airplanes.
8 Peter Durand – Tin Can
Peter Durand received the first patent for the tin can. However, Nicholas Appert from France was the first person to preserve food by packing it in glass jars. He would then cook the food for a few hours until it was sterilized.
Durand applied the same method with his tin can. He placed food in a container and sealed it. Next, he placed the container in cold water and gradually brought it to a boil. Finally, he opened the lid slightly and then sealed it again.
He originally got the idea from Philippe de Girard, also from France. Girard communicated his idea to Durand and used him as an agent to help patent it. However, Durand’s name was the only one visible on the patent, which was granted by King George III in 1810.