We take for granted that adults are the ones who change our world by inventing new technologies. But what if I told you there were many times in history when the most interesting discoveries were made by smart kids.
Here are some cool inventions made by children.
At the age of 13, Joseph-Armand Bombardier made a toy steam locomotive from a desk clock, then a steam engine from an old sewing machine. When he turned 15, his father decided to distract the young engineer from inventing “useless junk” and gave him an old broken Ford T.
Bombardier humbly accepted the gift and immediately started tinkering with the machine. A few days later, in 1920, he made a mechanical sled with an engine from the car and a propeller at the back.
In 1912, a schoolgirl came up with the idea of using a soot cleaner to sculpt interesting figures. The cleaning chemicals were eventually removed from the pliable substance, and colored dyes were added, creating one of the most fun substances kids can play with — Play-Doh.
A shoemaker’s son, Louis Braille, who had been blind since 3, invented a special font for the sightless when he was 15. The young Frenchman took the “night font” used by the artillery captain Charles Barbier to read messages in the dark and improved upon it. Today, Braille is a special volumetric font, where each letter can be recognized by touch.
16-year-old George Nissen created something that every gymnast needs to perform, not to mention all those kids having heaps of fun with it. We’re, of course, talking about the trampoline. For some reason, people before 1930 didn’t think about safety nets.
11-year-old Frank Epperson revolutionized frozen treats completely by accident. In 1905, he tried to create a new type of soda with his not-yet patented original syrup. When the experiment failed, Frank left it outside overnight. In the morning, he realized that frozen sweet soda makes for a great and easy-to-eat dessert. A year later, the kid started selling the novelty snack in parks and cinemas before eventually patenting the recipe and becoming rich.
6. Anti-hiccup medicine
Another famous American, Mallory Cuveman, invented a new medicine at the age of 13. Most of all, the scientific community was struck by the simplicity of her recipe: it included sugar, apple cider vinegar, and regular candies. The novelty remedy was named rather succinctly — Hiccupops.
7. New molecule
10-year-old Clara Lazen unintentionally constructed a new molecule in the middle of a chemistry lesson. She combined oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon in a way that no one’s thought of before until that day. Her name was later mentioned in a professional, scientific article investigating the “new molecule”.
The first swimming attachments were created by Benjamin Franklin when he was only 11 years old. However, instead of tying those oval pieces of wood to his feet, the future US president put them on his hands like paddles. Let’s just say this was only the first of his numerous inventions, including the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove.
9. Anti-DUI technology
Vadym Khomich, a 16-year-old resident of Zhytomyr, Ukraine, invented a device that blocks the car whenever a drunk driver is inside. Before starting the engine, the device takes a sample of exhaled air for analysis. If the system sniffs out any alcohol fumes, the engine will be immediately blocked.