Special Report

Famous Inventions Named After Their Creator

Source: Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Bowler hat
> Inventor: William and Thomas Bowler
> Year it was invented: 1850
> Description: Hat to protect the head from tree branches

William and Thomas Bowler were two hatmakers from London. The bowler hat was designed in 1849 for Edward Coke, the younger brother of the 2nd Earl of Leicester, to protect him from low-hanging tree branches. It became a status symbol in England in the 1950s and 1960s.

Source: Katanga / Wikimedia Commons

> Inventor: Louis Braille
> Year it was invented: 1824
> Description: Written language for the visually-impaired

Louis Braille went blind after an accident as a toddler. He invented the touch reading and writing system now used by visually-impaired people all over the world when he was 15. In the braille system, raised dots represent letters. On average, people using braille read about 125 words per minute. He also invented a braille musical codification.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Diesel engine
> Inventor: Rudolf Diesel
> Year it was invented: 1892
> Description: More efficient internal-combustion engine

It took Rudolf Diesel 13 years to develop the slow-burning, compression ignition engine. At the time the steam engine was the major source of power for large industries. High-speed diesel engines hit the market in the 1920s. They were used in passenger cars starting in the 1930s.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Ferris Wheel
> Inventor: George W. G. Ferris
> Year it was invented: 1893
> Description: Tourist attraction

The Ferris Wheel was designed as the American competitor to the Eiffel Tower. George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr., was a young engineer whose company was given the task of coming up with something “daring and unique.” This kind of amusement park wheel had been designed before, but not at this scale. Ferris’s wheel was 250 feet in diameter and it carried 36 cars, each with a capacity of 60 people.

Source: HighwaystarzPhotography / Getty Images

Heimlich maneuver
> Inventor: Henry Judah Heimlich
> Year it was invented: 1974
> Description: To treat upper airway obstructions

Dr. Henry Heimlich was a surgeon in Cincinnati when he developed the life-saving technique to prevent choking in 1974. To remove a foreign object from someone’s upper airway using the Heimlich maneuver, a person pushes the victim’s abdomen in and above the navel, forcing out enough air to clear the windpipe. Heimlich died in 2016.

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