17. Jan Ernst Matzeliger (1852 – 1889)

Notable invention: The shoe-lasting machine

Half Dutch, half Surinamese, Matzeliger crafted a machine to help expedite the final step of shoemaking—connecting the leather from the upper shoe to the inner sole. The device helped ensure better quality and fit, and increased shoemaking speed by up to 900 percent. Remember him the next timey you throw down over $300 on a pair of kicks.