The Birth of an Invention

A Few Little-Known Facts about the Modern Combine

Farming changed forever when Cyrus McCormick introduced the mechanical reaper to the world. Although Cyrus brought this invention to its birth, its origins are more complex.

- McCormick's reaper was a mechanized marvel in a simpler age. -

– McCormick’s reaper was a mechanized marvel in a simpler age. –

Learn 3 stops on the timeline of invention, and see a LEGO® combine.


How an Artist Invented Texting

Communication Became Instant 170 Years Ago

Aptitude is everything. Or is it? Little Sammy Morse was an artistic boy and wanted to become a painter, but his parents didn’t think relying on art for a living was such a good idea.

After Samuel spent a year working as a clerk at a publishing firm, his parents paid for him to study art in London. However, Samuel struggled to achieve a sufficient income from painting.


Generate Ideas Like a Rocket Scientist

A Five-Step Countdown to Launch Your Imagination

Half a century before his time, Robert Goddard took a quantum leap in scientific speculation. His 1920 scientific paper proposed that rockets could propel themselves through space even without an atmosphere to push against.

- Robert Goddard is known as the Father of Modern Rocketry. -

– Robert Goddard is known as the Father of Modern Rocketry. –

His idea defied the conventional understanding of cause and effect, resulting in a mocking New York Times editorial that concluded: “Of course he only seems to lack the knowledge ladled out daily in high schools.” Maybe the Times was right.


Discover When to “Stick” Out Failure

The Surprising Story of the Post-It® Note

You have likely used a Post-It® Note, but do you know who invented them? Originally discarded as a failure, the adhesive that made the World’s favorite sticky note was ignored for years.

Tasked with developing a high-strength glue, Spencer Silver accidentally made the weak adhesive we now find on Post-Its®. But he didn’t dream up the handy notes.


Do You Know the Story of the LASER?

LASER Inventor Shares His Thoughts on Luck and Invention

Because he was not part of the elite scientific establishment, the inventor of the LASER struggled his entire life to receive the credit he deserved. Curious, adventuresome and somewhat creative as a child, Theodore Maiman wasn’t afraid to look at things a little differently from the crowd.

Maiman started his experiments early. At  three and a half years old, young Theodore was convinced that the refrigerator light was not turning off when his mother closed the door. Like most of us, she was skeptical; but before she could close the door Theodore had climbed inside to inspect.


What Is the Secret Behind Focus?

A Struggle, a Secret and a Hilarious Bonus Video

This article, first published in October 2016, tells the story of a little-known inventor.

Focus is a powerful force. Focusing on a distant object motivates a runner to press on towards the finish line. But focus isn’t everything. A hiker presses forward for the love of the climb, but that doesn’t stop him from gazing at the scenery.

We know focus is important, yet the relentless pursuit of a single mission has caused many great people to neglect their families and basic responsibilities. Focus – like a coin – has two sides and should not be spent all in one place.

Chester Carlson became the breadwinner for his family by the time he was 14 years old. (more…)

How a Pyromaniac Channeled His Explosive Energy

Samuel Colt's Journey from Prankster to Businessman

If I asked you to name a high profile businessman with explosive energy, odds are you would say, “Donald Trump.”

– Colt’s revolvers are classics. But more interesting than the guns is the character who created them. –

I suppose you would be right, but this article is about a pyromaniac with literally explosive energy who became a marketing genius.


Will You Regret Giving Up?

The Man Who Almost Patented the Sewing Machine

Elias Howe invented the sewing machine – but not first. Before Howe patented his world-changing invention, a Frenchman created a sewing machine of his own.

– French tailors tried to stop progress with a riot. –

Concerned about their jobs, French tailors rioted in the streets destroying all of the inventor’s beautiful machines. He had a machine that could change the world, but would he follow through?


The Successful Life of Failure

Lessons from a Crash Dummy

You have probably heard about Thomas Edison’s thousands of failed experiments. But have you ever considered what it might be like to be the failed experiment?

– The crash dummies learn when they crash and burn. –

Samuel Alderson invented the ultimate failure that keeps on saving our lives year after year: the crash dummy.

Click here to see other articles from 2016!