20. Andrew Jackson Beard (1849 – 1921)

Notable invention: The Jenny Coupler

Before the Jenny Coupler, railroad cars were manually joined together. As one of the many railroad workers who lost a limb (his leg) in a coupling accident, Beard saved many lives with his invention, which automatically locked two car-bumps together. He patented the device in 1897, the same year Congress created the Federal Safety Appliance Act, a law that made it illegal to operate railroad cars without automatic couplers. Not bad for a man with little to no education in engineering.