You know all about Alexander Graham Bell's telephone. But did you know Bell also made a metal detector in an unsuccessful attempt to find the bullet in President James Garfield after he was shot in 1881? The device (which came along after one developed earlier in France) is one of many lesser-known creations of big-name inventors like Bell, Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, and Benjamin Franklin, as Mental Floss reports. A sample from the site's list, which includes a creepy talking doll:
- Tesla: Best known for developing the alternating-current electric system used around the world today, Tesla also wowed with his invention of a 4-foot-long remote-controlled boat, exhibited in New York in 1898. The battery-powered boat included a moveable propeller and rudder, plus flashing lights.
- Franklin: One of Benjamin Franklin's lesser-known inventions came when he was 11. He developed wood paddles that could be attached to his wrists to help him swim.
- Edison: Incandescent light bulb creator Thomas Edison also made toys, including what Mental Floss calls "a terrifying talking doll" that incorporated his phonograph technology. You can see one and hear an audio clip here.
- Watt: James Watt's steam engine made waves, but he also developed a copier in 1780. You'd press a page against a thinner, transparent page so that the ink would transfer.
See the full list here
at Mental Floss. (Read more inventions