11. Alexander Miles (1838 – 1905)

Notable invention: Automated elevator door system

During a time when many people died falling down elevator shafts, Alexander Miles made significant upgrades to the electric lift by introducing automated doors and improving the open/close mechanism for elevator shafts. Miles would go on to create an insurance agency devoted to serving blacks who were discriminated upon and would be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2007. Thanks for saving us the walk-up.