Inventor. Innovator. Entrepreneur.
These are today’s heroes. Public policies are designed to help them. Investors want to fund them. Successful ones make hundreds of millions, even billions, of dollars. Whole nations pin their hopes on these people to stimulate their economies, solve their problems, give them prestige on the world stage.
But who are they? What special gifts do they have? And what exactly is it that they do? That is what this book is about.
The story of the sewing machine, an invention that dramatically transformed the lives of women, shows that it was brought into existence by individuals with very different aims and talents. Who deserves the credit? Was it the man who built a test device that made a stitch, but then gave it away or lost it? Or another, who built a machine that barely worked, but got a patent on it? Then there was a man who developed it into something useful, and made millions from it. Or was the “true inventor” someone who built an innocuous device to move cloth between stitches, which turned out to be the one feature no sewing machine could do without? Or was he the man who made a simple machine that anyone could afford?
Each of these fascinating characters contributed something essential. If we look closely at what they did, and what they were like, we’ll understand how inventions really happen.