Ever wish you had invented an everyday product that made your life easier or more enjoyable, and also maybe a little rich as well? If you’re looking for some existing inventions for inspiration, don’t be surprised if a particular item was invented by someone who was not old enough to drive, drink alcohol, or vote. In fact, some products that we use every day were dreamed up by those who still believe in Santa Claus.
From earmuffs to an early version of the calculator, to trampolines and popsicles, many products that we take for granted were invented by young people.
So, in recognition of young inventors, and Absolutely Incredible Kid Day, which is celebrated on March 15, 24/7 Wall St. salutes those prodigies who have made our lives better.
The children who invented these products and others come from all walks of life. Many of these inventions became instant hits among the inventor’s peers, and savvy parents took steps to secure a patent, get distribution deals, and line up production sources. In other cases, these young inventors were forced to rely on their own talents and resources to gain recognition.
Many of the products invented by kids addressed problems they and their parents face each day. Others inventions were created for fun or as a way to pass the time. Like so many products, some of these items came into existence by happenstance. Other products were made by inventors who gained fame later in life. And some creations were developed to address the needs of challenged members of society.
George Nissen, age 16, was inspired by trapeze artists. He designed a bouncing rig that we know as a trampoline.
The popsicle was created by accident when 11-year-old Frank Epperson left a soft-drink concoction outside one cold winter night in San Francisco.
Benjamin Franklin, famous for inventing bifocals and the lightning rod, developed hand flippers for swimming when he was a preteen.
Even at such a young age, these inventors were smart enough to recognize a problem and to solve it. For many of them, such as snowmobile inventor Joseph-Armand Bombardier, the early experience of inventing led to a career of innovation.
To compile this list, 24/7 Wall St. looked at websites of companies, reference materials, and media sources to create a list of kids who developed everyday products. We considered those products that are recognizable and are used everyday. Not all of these products are sold today, but project to be popular in the future, or have already enjoyed a period of success in the past. Some of these products were precursors to the items that became widespread. All invention dates and inventor ages are estimates