A good invention is created to solve a common problem. These inventions can make our lives easier, safer and even more fun! Some of the inventions came out of the mind of a child. Kids are capable of looking at the world in a fresh new way that no adult could even dream of! Pretty great to have that advantage right?
Here are the top 5 inventions by kids that have shaped our lives for the better!
1. The Popsicle – Frank Epperson, aged 11
In 1905, eleven year old Frank Epperson combined soda water powder and water in a glass, stirred it with a stick, and left his beverage outside on the porch without giving it another thought. When he woke up the next morning, the freezing cold San Francisco temperature had transformed his concoction into a delightful frozen treat on a stick. Entirely by accident, the Popsicle was invented.
Epperson did not start a popsicle business straight away, but years later he could not forget his childhood invention. In 1922, he first served his frozen treats at a Fireman’s Ball, then expanded in 1923 to the hungry crowds at Neptune Beach. After a hugely successful summer, the popsicle had proven to be a hit with the locals. That’s when he knew he was on to something big. He patented the “frozen confectionery” and, starting in 1924, began producing the treat in various fruit flavours on the iconic wooden sticks.
2. The Trampoline – George Nissen, aged 16
This classic past-time used by both kids and adults for both exercise and fun, was invented in 1930 by 16 year old George Nissen. After watching trapeze artists of his time effortlessly bounce off the netting when finishing routines, George had a brainwave. He wanted to invent a world first bouncing apparatus for gymnasts!
He worked hard in his parents garage, salvaging steel materials from junkyards to create the frame, then stretched canvas tightly across it to create bounce. When he had his first successful product he was ready for the world! He named it the “bouncing apparatus”- after its function.
3. Braille – Loius Braille, aged 15
The young french inventor Louis Braille was only three years old when he was blinded in an accident in his father’s leather workshop. At age ten he was sent to the National Institute for Blind Youth in Paris where children were taught using the Huay system. This system consisted of tracing the outlines of Latin letters with one’s fingers which Loius Braille found clunky and limiting. This led the bright young Braille on a quest to figure out a way for blind people to read and write quickly and easily. It took months to read a single book using raised letters at the blind school. Louis got the idea of using raised dots from an army captain, Captain Barbier, who used a raised dot system for sending night messages. He began experimenting with what is now known as braille writing at the age of twelve and finished at the age of fifteen.
Today braille is used by millions of blind people, allowing them to read and write with ease.
4. Ear Muffs – Chester Greenwood, aged 15
It can get pretty chilly in Maine, where the young Chester Greenwood enjoyed ice skating frequently. He didn’t have a hat that would protect his ears from the cold, and after experiencing the unbearable feeling of freezing cold ears he thought he would do something about it. On one particularly cold winter day in 1873, at the age of 15, Chester made two ear shaped loops from wire and asked his grandmother to sew beaver fur and cloth on them. He fastened the hoops together with a steel band creating a headset that he could wear to cover his ears. The world’s first ear muffs had been invented.
He filed a patent for his “ear muffs” and made a fortune selling them to soldiers of World War 1. Over his lifetime Chester would create another 100 inventions. What a guy!
5. The Early Television – Philo T. Farnsworth, aged 15
Yes, it was a kid that originally invented the device that is now a staple in every home. While several inventors contributed to the creation of the television, 15 year old Philo T. Farnsworth made a few fundamental advances. In 1921, Philo had the sketches, diagrams and notes to assemble an electronic television system. By the age of 21, Farnsworth transmitted the first electronic image and held the earliest public demonstration of a functioning television. At the time of his death in 1971, the average TV included about 100 items that he originally patented.