Famous Belgian Inventors & Discoverers

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 1 
Adolphe Sax
(Inventor of Saxophone)
Adolphe Sax
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Birthdate: November 6, 1814
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dinant
Died: February 7, 1894

The inventor of the saxophone, Belgian musician Adolphe Sax, was born to instrument-maker parents who had themselves re-designed the French horn. As a child, he was known as "the ghost" for his frequent brushes with death. He made many other instruments, which were included in the French army bands.

 2 
Leo Baekeland
(Chemist & Inventor)
Leo Baekeland
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Birthdate: November 14, 1863
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Sint-Martens-Latem, Belgium
Died: February 23, 1944

Industrial chemist Leo Baekeland is remembered as The Father of the Plastics Industry for creating Bakelite, the first synthetic plastic of the world, thus marking the beginning of the Polymer Age. His many inventions include Velox, a special photographic paper, the rights of which he sold to George Eastman.

 3 
Étienne Lenoir
(Inventor, Engineer)
Étienne Lenoir
2
Birthdate: January 12, 1822
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Luxembourg
Died: August 4, 1900

Étienne Lenoir was a Belgian-French engineer. He is credited with developing the internal combustion engine which was commercialized in sufficient quantities. Lenoir is also credited with inventing such electrical devices as an improved electric telegraph which played a key role during the Franco-Prussian War. 

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 4 
Paul Otlet
(Belgian Author and Lawyer Who Predicted the Arrival of the Internet Before WWII)
Paul Otlet
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Birthdate: August 23, 1868
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brussels
Died: December 10, 1944

Belgian author and lawyer Paul Otlet went down in history as the man predicted the emergence of the internet as a world-wide information network over 50 years before its arrival. He also laid down the Universal Decimal Classification and penned the iconic book Traité de Documentation.

 5 
Zénobe Gramme
(Belgian Electrical Engineer Who Invented the Gramme Machine)
Zénobe Gramme
1
Birthdate: April 4, 1826
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Amay, Belgium
Died: January 20, 1901

Belgian electrical engineer Zénobe Gramme is remembered for inventing the Gramme machine. While he initially worked in an electrical industry factory in Paris, he later collaborated with French engineer Hippolyte Fontaine, to work on his dynamo model. His invention made use of much higher voltages than the standard dynamos back then.

 6 
Charles Joseph Van Depoele
(Belgian-Born American Inventor Who Made Pioneering Inventions Related to Electrical Railway)
Charles Joseph Van Depoele
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Birthdate: April 27, 1846
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Lichtervelde, Belgium
Died: March 18, 1892

Belgian-born American electrical engineer and inventor Charles Joseph Van Depoele was responsible for pioneering inventions in electrical railway. From being a church furniture manufacturer, he went on to own patents for many inventions, including the world’s first trolley pole. He later sold all his patents to the Thomson-Houston Electric Company.

 7 
Hans Ruckers, the Elder
(Flemish Instrument Maker Who Specialized in Building Harpsichords)
Hans Ruckers, the Elder
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Birthdate: 1555 AD
Birthplace: Mechelen, Belgium
Died: 1623 AD

Flemish instrument maker Hans Ruckers, the Elder was also known as a music maker, owing to the several musical instruments he invented. He was a master of building harpsichords, including his earliest invention, the double virginal. His sons and grandson later joined their family musical instrument-making empire.