When Wilson Greatbatch invented the pacemaker, he was fulfilling a promise he'd made to God: keep him alive during WWII, and he'd dedicate his life to helping others.
Was a new invention's ability to save a dying president thwarted by a coil-spring mattress? Did one of the greatest medical innovations of the 20th century come from a simple radio enthusiast? Could a seed-planting device really be the inspiration for one of the military's deadliest weapons? And can you believe the futuristic 3D printer is actually 30 years old? We reveal the true stories behind four inventions that made history, made millions for their creators, and impacted humanity for good and bad.
Watch this episode online now.
Stream hundreds of shows by starting your free trial to Smithsonian Channel Plus. Check the availability of this title and explore our vast library of original documentaries and series.
Access even more free Smithsonian Channel full episodes and documentaries online through participating TV providers.
Find out if your television provider carries Smithsonian Channel.
Don't panic! It's simple to upgrade to the latest version of one of these browsers:
Don't panic! To get the best possible experience on smithsonianchannel.com we recommend you upgrade your operating system.
For the best possible site experience, please use Chrome for Android.
Add username "SmithsonianChan" on Snapchat for fun and fascinating facts. We'll be sharing spontaneous photos and videos as inspiration strikes.