According to Merriam Webster, an eponym is something whose name comes from the person who created it. In the world of inventions, it is very common for inventors to name their creations after themselves. What better way to claim ownership of something than by naming it after yourself? Check out these 5 famous inventions that were named after their creators.
Louis Braille created Braille, the form of written language for the blind or visually impaired, in the early 1800s. A blind man himself, Louis invented the language after learning about the military cryptography of French Army Captain Charles Barbier in a speech at the National Institute for Blind Youth in Paris in 1821. This code consisted of dots impressed on paper, allowing soldiers to communicate in the dark, and Louis Braille discovered that he could use this strategy to create a textured written language for blind and visually impaired folks. Prior to this, the blind reading system consisted of tracing a finger along raised letters, but that was too slow and letters could be easily confused with each other. In 1825 at the age of 16, Louis Braille had developed a functioning system, but it wasn’t until 1854, two years after Braille’s death, that the system gained popularity.
Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel, a German inventor and mechanical engineer, created the compression ignition, internal combustion engine that bears his name in the late 1890s. While studying thermodynamics and fuel efficiency, he considered that 90% of the energy available in fuel is wasted in a steam engine. So, he decided to create a more energy-efficient engine. The director of MAN AG (now MAN SE), where Diesel worked, gave him the opportunity to test and develop his ideas. He obtained patents for the diesel engine in Germany and in many other countries.
George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. invented the Ferris wheel for the 1893 Word’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago to fill the need of an American rival to the Eiffel Tower. Starting as early as the 1600s, there were early predecessors known as “pleasure wheels” wherein passengers rode in chairs suspended from large wooden rings turned by strong men in Bulgaria. Similar amusements popped up in England, Romania, and Siberia in the latter half of the 1600s. Ferris also built bridges and founded G.W.G. Ferris & Co. in Pittsburgh, the same city as InventHelp’s headquarters. Ferris’ invention was 264 feet tall, rotated on a 71-ton, 45.5-foot axle, and weighed more than 53,000 pounds. There were 36 cars that could each accommodate 60 people, totaling a capacity of 2160. Daily, the wheel entertained more than 38,000 passengers. The wheel was used for various World’s Fairs and other events until it was demolished in 1906.
Many inventors name their inventions after themselves, including the inventors of famous, well-known, world-changing products. Braille, the diesel engine, and the Ferris wheel are just a few examples. There are entire encyclopedia’s dedicated to cataloguing eponymous inventions. Check out the list here.
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