Youngest Inventors

8 of the Youngest Inventors in History

Ideas are the genesis of every luxury we enjoy in this world. The way we interact within our space and those around us is influenced by the creations of one another. Every marvel man and woman has achieved, every invention that thrusts us into a more civilized age, all starts with the conception of a thought. Those curious and courageous enough pull at the strings attached to the thought until they reach the end. And that’s when something truly special is revealed.

The beautiful thing about inventions is that it’s not just a business reserved for the adults who earn a wealth of knowledge over decades. Sometimes, the advantage goes to the little guy. The ones with a childlike curiosity uninhibited by conventional wisdom and jaded thinking are capable of accomplishing wonders. The breeding grounds of creativity flourish the most with those who have no fear, challenge the norms, and are ready to try something new.

Today, we’re going to look at some of the youngest and brightest inventors that have something to share with the world, whether big or small.

8. Blaise Pascal

Age: 18
Born: 06/19/1623
Invention: Mechanical Calculator
Nationality: French

Blaise Pascalphoto source: commons.wikimedia.org

Blaise Pascal is responsible for one of the most important and frequently used inventions of all time. Its applications extend far beyond just its primary field of mathematics. From typing inappropriate words via numbers to having a giggle with your classmates to calculating propulsion trajectories of NASA space missions, the calculator is a staple in every home, office, and classroom in the world.  

Like many inventors, Blaise created the calculator out of necessity. His father was a prominent tax collector and struggled to manage his overwhelming workload on time. And so, the calculator was born as a means to make life a little easier for the Pascal family. 

Did You Know?

More than just an analytical mind, Pascal is considered one of the greatest authors during the French Classical Period and was known for his prose. His humor and wit inspired a generation of people to use snappy, argumentative, humorous rhetoric to support an argument while also undermining their opposition. It’s something we see all the time in our political discourse today.


7. Horatio Adams

Age: 16
Born: 05/04/1818
Invention: Bubble gum
Nationality: American

photo source: eBay.com

Horatio Adams was 16-years-old when he discovered the delicious substance we know as chewing gum. During the 19th century, Adams bought Mexican chicle, or sticky adhesive, used as a rubber substitute to do some DIY work around the house. In step with how most toddlers discover their environment through taste and sticking things in their mouth, this teenager decided he’s never too old to try the same.

Horatio noticed that not only was the chicle chewable and non-perishable, but it could take on the flavor of whatever he put on it as well. Cut to him creating dozens of chicle balls which became fan favorites amongst immediate friends and family. His father, Thomas, saw the lucrative opportunity and named the gum New York Chewing Gum. 

Did You Know?

The first of the flavored gum variety came in 1870. The taste was black licorice, and it was named Black Jack. Adams patented the first chewing gum-making machine, and by 1888, it was in vending machines everywhere to be enjoyed by everyone.


6. Chester Greenwood

Age: 15
Born: 12/04/1858
Invention: Earmuffs
Nationality: American

Chester Greenwoodphoto source: wmky.com

Chester Greenwood was 15-years-old when he got fed up with freezing his ears off on the cold winter nights in Maine. Looking for a solution, he used a little elbow grease and creativity to take two pieces of wire, attach the soft fabric to it, and stuck them to his ears.

By 1877, just three years after he put together his useful little contraption, his patent for ear mufflers was official. His invention was an immediate success, and he was selling thousands per year. They were called Greenwood’s Champion Ear Protectors. 

Did You Know?

Maine has declared the first Saturday of December as Chester Greenwood Day.


5. Walter Lines

Age: 15
Born: 1882
Invention: Scooter
Nationality: American

Walter Linesphoto source: wikipedia.org

The scooter is the tool of a speed demon. It’s probably what most of us used to dart to and from sleepovers and to school or to impress friends with the tricks we learned along the way. It’s also responsible for shin bruising so painful it was practically life-threatening. If it wasn’t the bike, it was the scooter that ignited our love for tricking and extreme sports.

We can credit 15-year-old Walter Lines for this two-wheeled speedster. Lines invented his toy company one year earlier, and they’re responsible for doling out a slew of great products in the same family of transportation. 

Did You Know?

Tri-ang Toys had its own railway system called the Rovex.


4. Philo Farnsworth

Age: 14
Born: 08/19/1906
Invention: Television Set
Nationality: American

photo source: commons.wikimedia.org

Philo Farnsworth is the one to thank when we feel like enjoying a little escapism after a day’s hard work. That’s because, at 14-years-old, Philo sketched his first concept art for a device that could display motion pictures. We can call it the television set! A few years after his concept art, he developed the components necessary to bring it from the page to the living room. 

In 1927, the first fully functional electronic television was a reality. He began mass-scale production through Farnsworth Television and Radio Corporation in Fort Wayne, Indiana. 

Did You Know?

Farnsworth operated a factory in Indiana that developed shortwave radios used by American soldiers in WW2.


3. Becky Schroeder

Age: 12
Born: 1962
Invention: Glo-sheet
Nationality: American

Becky Schroederphoto source: alvinisd.net

Becky Schroeder was 12-years-old when she developed what we know now as the glow stick. The intention was to make it easy to light up specific points while avoiding enveloping a larger space in light. The Glo-Sheet was the operating name when she developed this phosphorescent paint responsible for the hypnotizing glow.

The applications are far-reaching. The Glo-Sheet is used by medical personnel, photographers, and other professionals that need specialized lighting. Tons of new products come out that use this technology, but it’s Schroeder’s patent that’s credited.

Did You Know?

Becky even made a version that uses batteries called the Glo-Panel. She sold her inventions through her own company, B.J. Products. She’s also featured in a non-fiction children’s book, appropriately titled Girls Think of Everything.


2. Louis Braille

Age: 12
Born: 01/04/1809
Invention: Braille
Nationality: French

photo source: commons.wikimedia.org

Louis Braille was a French educator, inventor, and blind man responsible for creating a system of communication that enables the visually impaired to interact with one another. Fascinatingly, it’s also a system that has stayed relatively the same since he first presented it in 1824.

Braille was passionate about music. He looked for a way to incorporate his new language into musical notation. In 1829, he published a book about his system, Method of Writing Words, Music, and Plain Songs by Means of Dots, for Use by the Blind and Arranged for Them.

Did You Know?

Braille was blinded in one eye at three years old due to a stitching accident. Shortly after, an infection spread and resulted in complete blindness. Despite the lack of resources for the blind at the time, he excelled in academics and earned a scholarship to France’s Royal Institute for Blind Youth.


1. Samuel Houghton

Age: 5
Born: 2003
Invention: Sweeping Device with Two Heads
Nationality: British

photo source: dailymail.co.uk

Samuel Houghton is the youngest inventor with an official patent!

Samuel Houghton was just five years old when he received a patent for his “sweeping device with two heads.” The idea came to Sam while watching his dad sweep in the backyard using two brooms meant for clearing away large leaves and another to pick up debris.

Recognizing it looked tedious, Sam stuck two brooms together with a rubber band, and it was an instant success. Conveniently, his father was a patent attorney and figured it was worthwhile to patent the intellectual property in case his son ever decides to further develop and market his product in the future. 

Did You Know?

The popular British TV show, Wallace and Gromit, played an important role as the genesis for Samuel’s bright idea.

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