Published On: May 24th, 2022703 words3.5 min read

We’ve talked about a number of inventors who have personally influenced us, including Madam C.J. Walker, Colonel Sanders, and Walt Disney, plus many Black inventors in history. And yet, since May is National Inventors Month, we wanted to spotlight some additional inventors, some of whom might be new to you, who have made a big difference in our lives today.


Fatima al-Firhi

Around 890 AD, she developed a mosque in Fez, Morocco, which became the first university in the world. 


Johannes Gutenberg

You might know that he’s the founder of the printing press. But what he did actually brought reading to the masses.Previously books were reserved for the elites. So if you’re reading this right now, you can thank Johannes. 


Leonardo da Vinci

Many people know him as an artist, but he was also an inventor. His aerial screw eventually led to the helicopter, and an underwater diving suit. If you like to scuba dive, you can thank Leonardo for your scuba suit.


Robert Fulton

He took the technology available at the time and improved it to create steamboats. Without them, we would never be able to get all of the products that we now source from China.


Louis Daguerre

If you took a selfie at Coachella or Stagecoach (or anywhere else), Louis DaGuerre is your man. He was actually a scenery painter for the opera. His tinkering led to the daguerrotype, which was the precursor to last century’s camera… which of course has been adapted for your smartphone.


Thomas Jennings

Born a free Black man in New York City, he developed a patent for a clothes cleaning technique then known as dry scouring, which today we know as dry cleaning.


Nancy Johnson

Do you scream for ice cream? (Here in the Coachella Valley, we really start heating up in May.) She invented the ice cream machine  – the hand-crank kind. She was the one who brought ice cream to the masses. So thank her every time you hear that jingle in your neighborhood that means the ice cream man is here!


Auguste and Louis Lumiere

Are you a fan of Tik Tok or the movies? The Lumiere brothers created a machine that recorded, developed, and then projected films. While movies have come a long way since their day, every industry has a foundation.


Herman Hollerith

This one may be a little more obscure than some of the others… but his work led to modern-day computing. In the late 19th century he invented a method of using electricity to read the punch card tabulations from census takers instead of hand tabulating. Early computers also used electricity to read punch cards which were used for programming.


Margaret Knight

Do you bring your lunch to work, or maybe you ripen fruit inside a paper bag? This woman invented the paper bag machine, among other inventions.


Grace Hopper

If you’re reading this… big props to Grace! One of the first computer programmers, she invented the compiler that translates the programming code to machine code. 


Philo Farnsworth

He developed an all-electric TV system. Netflix and chill? Philo got you started.


Hedy Lamarr

Best known for her acting skills in early Hollywood, she also invented radio guidance for torpedoes during WWII. Her work led to today’s WiFi and Bluetooth technologies.


Ann Tsukamoto

She is a queen of stem cell technology and holds patents for isolating different types of stem cells. Right now they’re key for treating blood diseases such as leukemia, especially in children.


Thomas David Petite

He’s invented a number of wireless technology contributions including materials for the smart grid. As a Native American inventor, he also founded the Native American Intellectual Property Enterprise Council to help others with their technologies and inventions.


If you’re interested in an invention of your own, maybe one of these people can serve as your inspiration!


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