The 10 Most Popular Inventors

The top ten (and growing) most popular inventors. The following popular inventors were determined by reader usage and research demand.

American inventor Thomas Edison in lab
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The first great invention developed by Thomas Edison was the tin foil phonograph. A prolific producer, Edison is also known for his work with light bulbs, electricity, film and audio devices, and much more. More »

Alexander Graham Bell
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In 1876, at the age of 29, Alexander Graham Bell invented his telephone. Among one of his first innovations after the telephone was the "photophone," a device that enabled sound to be transmitted on a beam of light. More »

George Washington Carver
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George Washington Carver was an agricultural chemist who invented three hundred uses for peanuts and hundreds of more uses for soybeans, pecans, and sweet potatoes; and changed the history of agriculture in the south. More »

Eli Whitney
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Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin in 1794. The cotton gin is a machine that separates seeds, hulls and other unwanted materials from cotton after it has been picked. More »

Johannes Gutenberg
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Johannes Gutenberg was a German goldsmith and inventor best known for the Gutenberg press, an innovative printing machine that used movable type. More »

John Logie Baird
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John Logie Baird is remembered as the inventor of mechanical television (an earlier version of television). Baird also patented inventions related to radar and fiber optics. More »

Benjamin Franklin
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Benjamin Franklin invented the lightning rod, the iron furnace stove or 'Franklin Stove', bifocal glasses, and the odometer. More »

Henry Ford in front of a Model T
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Henry Ford improved the "assembly line" for automobile manufacturing, received a patent for a transmission mechanism, and popularized the gas-powered car with the Model-T. More »

Dr. James Naismith
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James Naismith was a Canadian physical education instructor who invented basketball in 1891. More »

Herman Hollerith
The Hollerith tabulator and sorter box was invented by Herman Hollerith and used in the 1890 United States census. It 'read' cards by passing them through electrical contacts. Closed circuits, which indicated hole positions, could then be selected and counted. His Tabulating Machine Company (1896) was a predecessor to the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM). Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Herman Hollerith invented a punch-card tabulation machine system for statistical computation. Herman Hollerith's great breakthrough was his use of electricity to read, count, and sort punched cards whose holes represented data gathered by the census-takers. His machines were used for the 1890 census and accomplished in one year what would have taken nearly ten years of hand tabulating. More »

Nikola Tesla
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Due to overwhelming public demand, we had to add  Nikola Tesla to this list. Tesla was a genius and much of his work was stolen by other inventors. Tesla invented fluorescent lighting, the Tesla induction motor, the Tesla coil, and developed the alternating current (AC) electrical supply system that included a motor and transformer, and 3-phase electricity. More »

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Bellis, Mary. "The 10 Most Popular Inventors." ThoughtCo, Mar. 22, 2018, Bellis, Mary. (2018, March 22). The 10 Most Popular Inventors. Retrieved from Bellis, Mary. "The 10 Most Popular Inventors." ThoughtCo. (accessed April 27, 2018).