Here are five of the stories that most inspired us:
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Helping millions of people suffering from blindness or impaired sight to read, the invention of Braille in the 1820s by French teenager Louis Braille is one of history’s most important innovations. Blinded in an accident at the age of three, Braille developed his system of raised dots during his teen years as a student at The National Institute for Blind Youth in Paris.
The first book containing Braille was released when its inventor was just 20 in 1829 and the system is still used all around the world in almost every language.
2. The Trampoline
Image Credit: Lauren Manning
Inspired by trapeze artists falling into a net to cushion their landing, 16-year-old George Nissen developed the trampoline. Throughout his teen years and during his time at university, Nissen kept improving his invention. Originally called the Bouncing Rig, the trampoline originally had no market as it was so unique and unusual.
The inventor spent his years travelling the world, demonstrating his invention to generate interest – and today trampolines can be found in back gardens in almost every country. Nissen could still perform a headstand at the age of 92 before his death in 2010.
3. Science Lab Nuclear Reactor
Not satisfied with dissecting a frog or learning about reflection, 13-year-old Jamie Edwards from Penwortham Priory Academy near Preston decided to turn his school science lab into a nuclear reactor earlier this year. The schoolboy was not taken seriously by nuclear laboratories and university departments, so decided to utilise his school’s science labs to complete his experiment.
After successfully creating helium, Edwards became the youngest person in history to achieve nuclear fusion. He’s now working on a new project: building a miniature hadron collider.
4. Ear Muffs
The old saying, necessity is the mother of invention, is particularly pertinent in the development of ear muffs. In the 1870s, 15-year-old Chester Greenwood was suffering from cold ears during the winter in his hometown of Farmington, Maine. His efforts to warm up his ears by wrapping his scarf around them were unsuccessful, so he began work on a better solution. Greenwood created a wire frame and asked his grandmother to sew beaver skin pads to them and the ear muff was born.
The young inventor patented his creation in 1877 at the age of 19 and went on to make a fortune, selling hundreds of thousands of units every year.
5. Ice Lollies
Image Credit: Didriks
The youngest entrant on this list is the creator of the world’s first ice lolly: Frank Epperson. The 11-year-old left a cup of powdered soda and water outside during a cold night with a piece of stirring string inside, waking up the next day to the first ever ice lolly. He dubbed his invention the Epsicle, which he then sold to a large New York company in 1923. Renamed the Popsicle, the market-leading brand now sells hundreds of thousands of ice lollies every single year.
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