Great Inventors & Their Inventions by Frank P. Bachman is a well-known public domain work that introduces readers to the inventors and inventions that have shaped our lives today. Originally copyrighted in 1918, the text covers 16 inventors and their inventions, weaving the stories together with the purpose of encouraging the imaginations and hearts of its readers:
These materials are not only interesting, but they convey their own vivid lessons on how big things are brought about, and on the traits of mind and heart which make for success…. While appealing to [the readers’] interest in inventions and in men who accomplish great things, may it also bring them into contact with ideas which will grip their hearts, fire the imagination, and mold their ideals into worthier forms.
By spending two weeks on each inventor and his invention, there will be 32 lessons — enough for a standard school year with a bit of wiggle room for holidays and other activities.
You’ll find free download options for the text in the introduction.