His solution? As they
approached the gate, he yelled to them: "This company is dismissed
for two minutes, when it will fall in again on the other side of the
gate." By the time his military service was over, he had attained
the rank of... private!
Despite being a captain at the time, he had no military
experience, so he knew nothing about leading soldiers. Back in his
day, the person who recruited the volunteers became their commanding
He was a congressman from Illinois, and he invented a device to
help boats maneuver through shallow waters; in fact, there is a
model of his invention in the Smithsonian Institution.
I sometimes refer to the inventors in these stories only by their
first names or their middle names in order to hide their identities.
I can't do that with this inventor, though, because his first name
is so unique that it would be obvious, and his middle name -- well,
he didn't have a middle name.
There are only 43 people in the United States who have done what
this inventor did. Yet his one and only patented invention never
made it onto the market.
Some of his colleagues were successful inventors, but he was the
only one in this elite group to apply for and receive a patent. He
would later survive many setbacks in his life -- a life that was cut
down in his prime by a murderer. For example (you may have seen this
list somewhere before, but it's worth repeating):
In 1832, he lost his
job and was defeated in the race for legislature.
In 1833, his business
In 1835, his
In 1836, he suffered
a nervous breakdown.
In 1838, he was
defeated for speaker in the legislature.
In 1843, he was
defeated for nomination to Congress.
He was elected to
Congress in 1846 but was defeated in 1848.
In 1854, he was
defeated for the Senate.
In 1856, he was
defeated for nomination for vice-president.
In 1860, he was
elected president of the United States: President Abraham
[to top of second column]
So the commander who had a hard time leading his men through a
gate ultimately wound up as president of the United States.
There's another intriguing list of events that describe the life
of Abraham Lincoln. This one contains the eerie similarities between
President Lincoln and President John F. Kennedy and, like the above
list, you may have seen this somewhere before:
Abraham Lincoln was
elected to Congress in 1846. John F. Kennedy was elected to
Congress 100 years later, in 1946.
Abraham Lincoln was
elected president in 1860. John F. Kennedy was elected president
100 years later, in 1960.
The last names of
Lincoln and Kennedy each contain seven letters. The names of
their assassins each contain 15 letters (John Wilkes Booth and
Lee Harvey Oswald).
assassinated by Southerners, and both were succeeded by
were named Johnson. Lincoln's successor, Andrew Johnson, was
born in 1808. Kennedy's successor, Lyndon Johnson, was born 100
years later, in 1908.
Booth ran from a
theater and was caught in a warehouse. Oswald ran from a
warehouse and was caught in a theater. Booth and Oswald were
both shot before their trials.
Unlike Lincoln, though, Kennedy was not an inventor.
Paul Niemann may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can learn
more about Invention Mysteries by visiting the official
Invention Mysteries website.
Copyright Paul Niemann 2006