The Wonderful People who invented Wonderful Things

Most of the inventions the world hears about today is associated with the white man. But what many people do not know is that even people of African ethnicity have contributed alot when it comes to inventions and innovations.

Jan Ernst Matzeliger 1852 – 1889

Invented: Shoe lasting machineryJan Matzeliger was born in Paramaribo, Dutch Guiana in 1852. He was a shoemaker by trade, the son of an African homemaker and a Dutch engineer, in whose machine shop Jan Matzeliger began working at the age of ten. He immigrated to the United States at the age of 18. Jan Matzeliger helped revolutionize the shoe industry by developing a shoe lasting machine that would attach the sole to the shoe in one minute. The shoe lasting machine adjusts the shoe leather upper snugly over the mold, arranges the leather under the sole and pins it in place with nails while the sole is stitched to the leather upper.

George Edward Alcorn 1940

Invented: Imaging X-Ray SpectrometerPhysicist George Edward Alcorn, Jr. is best known for his development of the imaging x-ray spectrometer. An x-ray spectrometer assists scientists in identifying a material by producing an x-ray spectrum of it, allowing it to be examined visually. This is especially advantageous when the material is not able to be broken down physically. Alcorn patented his “method for fabricating an imaging x-ray spectrometer” in 1984. He was cited for his method’s innovative use of the thermomigration of aluminum. For this achievement he was recognized with the NASA/GSFC (Goddard Space Flight Center) Inventor of the Year Award.

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Unique things do come from unique people. Who said you have to have a degree in order to come up with something great. There are people who dropped out of college and went ahead to create something beautiful.

1. Thomas Edison

Many people considered Thomas Edison to be learning disabled, and he dropped out of school at a young age. Later, Edison went on to invent some of the most important inventions of our time – the electric light bulb, the phonograph, and more.

2. Bill Gates


Bill Gates is the head of one of the most successful companies of all time – Microsoft – and also one of the world’s richest people. However, he actually dropped out of Harvard to start his company, never finishing school.

3. Cornelius Vanderbilt

Cornelius Vanderbilt left school early – at age 11. However, he went on to change the world by expanding the steamboat and railroad industries, altering transportation forever.

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