1. Money
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Inventive Thinking and Creativity

Stories about Great Thinkers and Famous Inventors


Patent Drawing for Ed Headrick's Wham-O Frisbee

Patent Drawing for Ed Headrick's Wham-O Frisbee

USPTO & Mary Bellis
The following stories about great thinkers and inventors will help to motivate your students and enhance their appreciation of the contributions of inventors.

As students read these stories, they will also realize the "inventors" are male, female, old, young, minority, and majority. They are ordinary people who follow through with their creative ideas to make their dreams a reality.

Earmuffs "Baby, Its Cold Outside"

"Baby, Its Cold Outside" may have been the song running through 13 year old Chester Greenwood's head one cold December day in 1873. To protect his ears while ice skating, he found a piece of wire, and with his grandmother's help, padded the ends. In the beginning, his friends laughed at him. However, when they realized that he was able to stay outside skating long after they had gone inside freezing, they stopped laughing. Instead, they began to ask Chester to make ear covers for them, too. At age 17 Chester applied for a patent. For the next 60 years, Chester's factory made earmuffs, and earmuffs made Chester rich.


At the turn of the century, Mrs. Earl Dickson, an inexperienced cook, often burned and cut herself. Mr. Dickson, a Johnson and Johnson employee, got plenty of practice in hand bandaging. Out of concern for his wife's safety, he began to prepare bandages ahead of time so that his wife could apply them by herself. By combining a piece of surgical tape and a piece of gauze, he fashioned the first crude adhesive strip bandage.


Candy During the hot summer of 1913, Clarence Crane, a chocolate candy manufacturer, found himself facing a dilemma. When he tried to ship his chocolates to candy shops in other cities they melted into gooey blobs. To avoid dealing with the "mess," his customers were deferring their orders until cool weather. In order to retain his customers, Mr. Crane needed to find a substitute for the melted chocolates. He experimented with hard candy which wouldn't melt during shipment. Using a machine designed for making medicine pills, Crane produced small, circular candies with a hole in the middle. The birth of LIFE SAVERS!


The term FRISBEE did not always refer to the familiar plastic disks we visualize flying through the air. Over 100 years ago, in Bridgeport, Connecticut, William Russell Frisbie owned the Frisbie Pie Company and delivered his pies locally. All of his pies were baked in the same type of 10" round tin with a raised edge, wide brim, six small holes in the bottom, and "Frisbie Pies" on the bottom. Playing catch with the tins soon became a popular local sport. However, the tins were slightly dangerous when a toss was missed. It became the Yale custom to yell "Frisbie" when throwing a pie tin. In the 40's when plastic emerged, the pie-tin game was recognized as a manufacturable and marketable product. Note: FRISBEE ® is a registered trademark of Wham-O Mfg. Co.

Note on Trademarks

® is the symbol for a registered trademark. The trademarks on this page are words used to name the inventions.
  1. About.com
  2. Money
  3. Inventors
  4. For & About Kids
  5. Lesson Plans
  6. Articles & Source Materials
  7. Stories about Great Thinkers and Inventors

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.