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Meet Some Famous Inventors for Kids

Updated on June 4, 2016

Inventors are people who make new things. There was a time when people didn't have cars, telephones, computers, airplanes and DVD players. All of these things had to be invented by someone. This is an introduction to some great inventors who have helped change the world. Some of these inventors created things that you make use of everyday.

We'll look at the inventors of the airplane, the car, the air conditioner, the windshield wiper, the television, the radio, computer programming, and the phonograph (think of it an an olden days MP3 player).

The Wright Flyer
The Wright Flyer

The Wright Brothers

Orville and Wilbur Wright were born in Dayton, Ohio in the United States. They made the first working airplane. When they were kids they like to spend their time learning and exploring. Their parents encouraged this. Their dad bought them a toy that looked a little like a helicopter. The brothers tried to come up with a way making their own. Another thing they were interested in was making kites.

When they were adults, they owned a bicycle shop. They built bikes. Later they designed and built gliders. They had to learn a lot about flying to do this. They went to Kitty Hawk in North Carolina to test their first glider. They needed a windy area.

To make an airplane, they needed to have an engine. So, they made a plane called the Wright Flyer. They flew it for the first time at Kill Devil Hills on December 17, 1903, near Kitty Hawk.

Now millions of people fly around the world everyday in passenger airplanes. Millions of packages and products are delivered all over the world in cargo planes. Many inventors tried to build working flying machines. The Wright brothers were the first to succeed.

Top 10 Inventions Thought Up By Kids

Karl Benz
Karl Benz

Karl Benz

Karl Benz is credited with the invention of the first modern car. Have you ever heard of a car called a Mercedes-Benz? It was named after him. He was born in Germany on November 25, 1844. He liked working with machines, so he decided to put an engine into a horse carriage. Now people could have carriages that didn't require horses to pull them. Cars used to be called “horseless carriages” for this reason.

Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot and Gottlieb Daimler also made important developments in technology that led to the invention of the car.

Ada Lovelace
Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace

Computer software and games are made up of code. Code is a set of instructions that tell the computer what to do. Computer programmers write code. Ada Lovelace is often called the first computer programmer. She was born in London, England on December 10, 1815. As a child, she loved math and science.

Computers didn't exist when she lived. She came up with a way to program a machine called the Difference Engine. It used punch cards to come up with solutions to math problems. Punch cards were actually used to program computers until the early 1980's.

John Logie Baird

John Logie Baird was born in Scotland on August 13, 1888. Like Karl Benz, he loved working with machines. He invented the first television. Television pictures come through wires. John Logie Baird was the first person to figure out how to send images through wires. At that time, the images could only travel a very short distance. Other inventors had to come up with ways to send the images over much longer distances.

Willis Carrier
Willis Carrier

Willis Carrier

Willis Carrier invented the modern air conditioner. He was born in Angola, New York on November 26, 1876. He graduated from Cornell University in 1901 with a degree in Electrical Engineering and then got a job as a research engineer. The invention of air conditioning led to big changes in the United States. Many Americans moved to warmer parts of the country because they could now keep homes and businesses cool.

Mary Anderson

Mary Anderson was born on February 19, 1866. She was from Alabama. During a trip to New York City, she saw streetcar drivers opening their windows when it rained, so they could see where they were going. She realised that drivers needed a safe way to remove rain and snow from their windshields. In 1903, she received a patent for the first windshield wipers. By 1916, windsheld wipers were installed on on all American cars. Yet Anderson didn't make any money from her invention. Her patent expired before car manufacturers began to use them.

Guglielmo Marconi
Guglielmo Marconi

Guglielmo Marconi

Guglielmo Marconi is credited with inventing the radio. He was born in Bologna, Italy on April 25, 1874. Even as a child, he was interested in the science of physics and electricity. When he grew up, he wanted to invent a device that would send radio waves through the air over long distances. His parents let him set up a laboratory in their home. His experiments succeeded and he went on to start his own company.

He won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1909. Survivors of the Titanic disaster awarded him with a medal because radio calls for help had saved their lives.

Thomas Edison Phonograph Recording

Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison was born in the State of Ohio on February 11, 1847. He had a lab in an area called Menlo Park where he work on his inventions. Many people mistakenly think that he invented the light bulb. But this isn't true. Early light bulbs used to die too quickly to be useful. Edison figured out how to make them last for a long time. He invented the phonograph, which could record voices and music.


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    • EZ Swim Fitness profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 

      4 years ago from Southern Wisconsin

      Fascinating! I have never heard of Ada Lovelace before - what a wonderful tribute to inventors.


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