One of the founders of the country, Benjamin Franklin was a man of many talents. He was a diplomat, writer, postmaster and businessman. One of his most lasting legacies is the skill he had as one of the most famous American inventors. Perhaps the most famous image of Ben Franklin is of him flying the kite up into a storm with a key at the end of the line. His many experiments with electricity led him to invent the lighting rod, which is one of the most widely used inventions in the world. Franklin also invented bifocals, which is another invention that is ubiquitous. Other inventions that Franklin came up with include the Franklin stove, an odometer, a flexible urinary catheter and a glass harmonica.
Samuel F.B. Morse
Morse was born in 1791 and for most of his life communication in the United States was very slow. Letters carried by horse and train made getting information disseminated quickly nearly impossible. Morse changed that with his invention of the telegraph. He created his first working telegraph line from Baltimore to Washington, DC in 1844. Within 10 years, more than 23,000 miles of telegraph lines were strung throughout the country. This invention changed the nature of communication and made distance no longer an obstacle in communicating.
Thomas Alva Edison
Edison is one of the most prolific American inventors in the history of the country. He held hundreds of patents at the time of his death. His most famous invention was the incandescent light bulb, which he invented in 1880. Edison also came up with the fluoroscope, which was the earliest machine that could take X-ray pictures. Music lovers everywhere should thank Edison for his invention of the phonograph, the first device capable of playing recorded sounds.
Orville and Wilbur Wright
These two famous brothers created one of the most important inventions in human history, the airplane. They made the first airplane flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on December 17, 1903. As well as inventing the first airplane, they also invented the three-axis control system for aircraft. This control system is the same one that every pilot uses to control an airplane today.
Alexander Graham Bell
Bell was one of the most prolific American inventors who is most famous for his invention of the first practical telephone. In 1875, he designed a device that could use the existing telegraph lines to carry human speech. He also invented the metal detector as well as the hydrofoil. Bell also was a major innovator in the field of aeronautics. He invented the aileron, which is a flap on the wing that allows an aircraft to roll.
Vladimir Kozmich Zworykin
Zworkyin is not a name that many Americans know, but they sure love using the device that was created with his inventions, the television. Zworkyin was born in Russia in 1888. He came to the United States after World War I and shortly thereafter came up with a television system that employed cathode ray tubes. This was the start of his continued work developing the television throughout the 1920s and 1930s. He also is famous for inventing the electron microscope.
Dr. Jonas Salk
Before Salk invented the first polio vaccine; polio was one of the most terrifying diseases in the world. Epidemics broke out yearly, crippling and killing many victims. Many of the victims were children. Salk’s vaccine that was introduced in 1955 has saved millions of lives.