Throughout history, there have been hundreds, if not thousands, of great inventors, scientists and engineers whose work has paved the way for great technological advances, making our world more comfortable, more efficient and better understood.
However, not many of them became household names. For every Thomas Edison and Leonardo da Vinci, there are a dozen – if not more – whose work affects us on daily basis, yet whose names are known only to specialists and trivia fans. Here are just a few of those forgotten thinkers.
This 17th century English polymath was an architect, chemist, biologist and physicist amongst many other talents, and he influenced today’s world in many ways. He was very important to our industry, as he formulated the law of elasticity – now known as Hooke’s Law – which is vital in understanding the design of springs. Although he was a very important figure of his time, he died essentially unmemorialised; following the 300th anniversary of his death, a number of new memorials were put in place to rectify this, but he’s still unknown to the average layperson.
Heinrich Westphal, a German inventor in the 19th century, never made much money from his best-known invention; it took too long to catch on, and he is thought to have died in poverty. However, it’s something many of us still use on a daily – or rather, nightly – basis. He is credited with the invention of the innerspring mattress in 1871; it didn’t gain widespread use until the 1930s, but since then it has helped millions to enjoy a sound nights’ sleep.
Susan Hibbard’s invention may not have been a complex machine, but what makes her worthy of recognition is her willingness to fight for it. Until relatively recently, women were frequently overlooked as inventors, scientists and engineers because credit for their work was so often taken by husbands or male associates. In 1876, when Susan Hibbard’s husband tried to claim ownership of her invention – the humble feather duster – she squared off against him in patent court and after a five-year long fight she won, helping to pave the way for other women to take the credit for their own ideas.
Here at Airedale Springs, we offer a flexible service so whether you need a small bespoke order of torsion springs or a bulk order of wire forms, we can help. For more information on our services, call us on 01535 643456 or contact us online.