8. Richard Spikes (1884–1962)

Notable inventions: Railroad semaphore, multiple barrel machine gun, beer-keg tap, self-locking rack for billiard cues, automobile directional signals, automatic gear shift, and automatic car washer

Is there anything this guy didn't invent? The San Francisco native is most famous for developing a turn signal system for vehicles, but was never awarded a patent for it. Percy Douglas-Hamilton was bestowed the honor in 1907. Spikes might of gotten the better end of the stick, as his transmission and gear-shifting designs helped him score over $100,000 during the 1930s. Dedicated to his work, Spikes worked on the automatic safety brake until he went blind and died in 1962.