There is a saying, “It’s not rocket science.” I usually fire back, “Actually, it is.”
After my brain surgery in 1999, the surgeons inserted a brain shunt into my skull to assist with the fluid drainage from my brain back into my body. The hydraulic little shunt was actually perfected by a NASA engineer working on the space program in the 1950’s who thought it may be helpful with cardiac surgery. The little pump proved too large for the heart valve – but perfect for the ventricular shunt. In conjunction with a father who was looking for a device to improve the quality of his son’s life after a tragic accident, the shunt technology was patented. Rocket science saved my life.
What about those everyday folks who invented things that have impacted our lives?
Take for instance, ex-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. This woman is credited with perfecting soft-serve ice cream as we know it – imagine that.
How about Henry David Thoreau who improved the pencil and went on to start the Thoreau pencil company that produced the finest American pencils that money could buy. You can read about it here and here.
Mr. Thoreau also invented raisin bread. Rumor has it while making some bread dough – he tossed a handful of his delightful raisins in the mix – the rest is history. (but, I want to know who is credited with throwing in the cinnamon!)
Marlon Brando, widely considered one of the greatest actors of all time, finished out his life on a high note by becoming an inventor who received several patents for his devices that would help drummers tune drumheads. The beat goes on…
My personal favorite is from Sir Isaac Newton. You know those doggie doors? They should appropriately be called “kitty doors” because they were invented for a cat. Apparently, Newton invented the cat flap when his beloved cat incessantly whined to go in and come out. While he was busy working on his experiments – he couldn’t be distracted constantly opening the door for her. The flap was born, from “Sir” with Love.
Ordinary people inventing extraordinary things that changed our lives.
Those simple and not-so-simple inventions that helped to form life as we know it, eat it, listen to it and live it! And, the beat goes on – the drums sounding just a little bit better thanks to Marlon Brando.