Some people just have a gift. They may already be talented musicians, actors, artists, or mathematicians, but some prolific thinkers have minds that work in overdrive in multiple different areas. Some very famous inventors originated items that we still use every day, and even those who didn’t fill sketchbooks full of ideas sometimes had a flash of brilliance that resulted in a product that has lasted until our modern age.

Mark Twain
What did novelist Mark Twain, née Samuel Langhorne Clemens, have in common with 21st century moms and craft aficionados? He had an avid scrapbooking habit. Twain kept scrapbooks detailing his journeys and travels, and he filled them with notes and pictures from along the way.

Benjamin Franklin
One of our country’s most beloved founders and diplomats, Benjamin Franklin was also a prolific inventor who had a lifelong fascination with medicine. Besides such items as the Franklin stove and bifocal lenses, he also invented the flexible urine catheter.

Isaac Newton
Newton may be best known for formulating the laws of gravity and thermodynamics and singlehandedly developing calculus, but he was also an animal lover, and many sources credit him with inventing the first cat door.

Napoleon III
In the 1950s, a wave of butter-phobia swept the United States. Because butter contains saturated fat that can lead to heart disease, consumers turned en masse to margarine. Few people today know that margarine owes its existence to Napoleon III. The Emperor (and nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte) wanted to keep the French army hale and hearty, but butter spoiled too quickly. He therefore offered a prize for anyone who could come up with a fat that could be substituted for butter.

Photos by divinecaroline.

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