Welcome to a world of political geniuses who were also brilliant inventors. Today, we’re exploring the lives of five famous figures who revolutionized both politics and technology. From Benjamin Franklin’s lightning rod invention to Harrison Schmitt’s Apollo 17 lunar rover, these individuals used their intellect and ingenuity to shape our world in incredible ways. Read on to learn more about the fascinating accomplishments of these remarkable individuals!
In addition to their political legacy, some famous politicians throughout history have also made their mark as inventors. From electricity to steelmaking to the Lunar Rover, these innovators used the skills of their trade to push the boundaries of technology, science and exploration. In this guide, we take a look at five political figures who have left an indelible mark on history not just by crafting laws but by engineering innovative new inventions: Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Peter Cooper and Harrison Schmitt. Read on to find out more about each figure’s accomplishments and lasting impact.
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1. Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin was an American founding father, inventor and politician. He is best remembered for his role in the American Revolution and his contributions to the formation of the United States.
Franklin was also a prolific inventor, producing a wide variety of products from stoves to lightning rods. The Franklin stove, which he invented in 1742, still bears his name today and is credited with providing improved heating efficiency in many homes. His interest in electricity was expressed through practical experiments on lightning conductors that are still used today.
He also generated ideas for bifocal eyeglasses, swim fins, language spelling reform and alternative forms of currency. At one time six out of every ten Americans used products that he had inventively developed or contributed to. He also wrote a dozen books, penned numerous newspaper articles and developed a unique phonetic alphabet together with several unique methods to collect meteorological data that are still used today by researchers.
2. Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was an influential Founding Father of the United States, whose ideas and works are still remembered today. He is credited with authoring the Declaration of Independence, leading the Louisiana Purchase, serving as the third President of the United States and founding the University of Virginia. But he was also an impressive inventor who created many novel devices. He designed portable copying presses, designed a new type of the plow and invented a swivel chair that allowed him to read books conveniently. In addition, he developed a laptop-style portable writing desk that served as extremely handy for record-keeping while traveling.
3. Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was not only the sixteenth President of the United States, but he also held a U.S. patent for an invention he had come up with. In 1849, when Lincoln was a lawyer in Springfield, Illinois, he devised a structure that could be used to lift boats out of shallow water with the use of underwater pneumatic pressure technology. Although it did not become widely used at the time, many aspects of Lincoln’s invention are now believed to have shaped modern engineering concepts. The patent is even displayed alongside other key documents in the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington DC which emphasizes its important place in American history.
4. Peter Cooper
Peter Cooper (1791-1883) was an American inventor, industrialist and philanthropist. He is renowned for his development of the first steam locomotive in the United States and for founding The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.
His locomotive design had several pioneering characteristics, such as using a single boiler to heat water and create steam, increasing the efficiency of its operation. This same engine was later used in 1827 to haul a train from Mount Clare to Ellicott’s Mill on its eight-mile route. The engine was named “Tom Thumb” after a famous folktale character.
In addition to his invention of the locomotive, Cooper also made significant contributions in the fields of steel production and telegraphy. His groundbreaking contribution to telegraphy was in perfecting Samuel F. B. Morse’s original invention by developing an inexpensive method of mass-producing electromagnetic induction coils that could be connected together as part of a larger system operating over extended distances with greater reliability than ever before seen. He also founded The Cooper Union which served as one of America’s most influential academic institutions for technical training.
5. Harrison Schmitt
Harrison Schmitt was an American astronaut, geologist and United States Senator who was born in Santa Rita, New Mexico on July 3rd, 1935. Following his successful stint as a lunar module pilot for the Apollo 17 mission, Schmitt acquired 12 patents in diverse areas of technology prior to his election to the U.S. Senate in 1982. His inventions included four relating to coal mining, three involving blast-hole drills used in open pit mining, two propane heaters and one regarding carbon dioxide removal from enclosed spaces such as submarines and space capsules. Schmitt also had an important role as a scientific advisor during the Reagan Administration on matters pertaining to energy issues, natural resources and defense science policy projects related to civil space exploration issues. He currently serves as chairman of the engineering firm Harrison Schmitt Associates and is a frequent lecturer at universities and other research institutions worldwide.
The five famous political figures who were also inventors provide a diverse range of inventions and achievements, with Benjamin Franklin’s work being the most influential and significant. He played a major role in laying the foundations of modern science, as well as making important contributions to electricity and electrical engineering. Thomas Jefferson was equally talented, producing numerous inventions such as portable writing desks, devices for measuring water currents and steamboats.
Abraham Lincoln made major contributions to agricultural technology with the invention of his patentable motive power for fences. Peter Cooper was another innovator with several patents relating to the telegraph system including one on the telegraph machine itself. Finally, Harrison Schmitt held several patents, his most significant work being related to rocket engines which served an important role in projects such as Apollo 11’s moon landing mission. Each of these inventors accomplished impressive feats that all had an impact on either daily life, technology or science.