The GadgeteerGenius is good at what he does, but he doesn't have a particularly profound effect on TheVerse, because ReedRichardsIsUseless. This guy, however, is almost singlehandedly responsible for ending the MedievalStasis: the one person responsible for all the high technology in a setting. Anyone GivingRadioToTheRomans is likely to be this. See also AlternateUniverseReedRichardsIsAwesome.


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Dr. Vegapunk of ''Manga/OnePiece'' is the primary reason the OceanPunk setting has robots with FrickinLaserBeams. The technology he's created, most of which is heavily controlled by TheGovernment, is explicitly described as ''500 years'' ahead of the rest of the world.
* Dornkirk, from ''Anime/TheVisionOfEscaflowne''; any number of {{Emperor Scientist}}s may have this going on as well. Which isn't much of a surprise when you realize Dornkirk is actually [[spoiler:[[BeethovenWasAnAlienSpy Sir Isaac Newton]]]].
* In LightNovel/MaoyuuMaouYuusha, in her guise as the Crimson Scholar, Maou is proving to be this to the Southern Kingdoms. In her case its slightly more realistic as she is moving gradually first with a Green Revolution in agriculture before moving on to the Guttenburg Press. Other characters also contribute such as the seeds of Liberalism and Alternate Currency.
* ''Manga/DrStone'' has its protagonists wake up several millenia after [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt the entire human race was turned into stone]] − needless to say, all the machines and facilities have long crumbled by then. One of those protagonists, [[ImprobablyHighIQ Senku]], is a walking encyclopedia and a scientific genius. He ends up in a primitive human village and introduces certain modern mechanics, food, and systems to their civilization much earlier than they would have done it themselves, to the point the villagers first call it "sorcery". Senku and co. are opposed to Tsukasa, a super strong guy who intends to rebuild a society [[ScienceIsBad freed of the evils of technology]] and thus sees Senku as his main enemy.
* The Whispered in ''LightNovel/FullMetalPanic'' have the potential of becoming this due to their main purpose of creating Black Technology, which is far more advanced than present tech. According to Gauron, Amalgam always seeks out Whispered and tests them for their scientific prowess, which can be as low as making a new rocket or high as devices that can convert one's willpower into a physcial force.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In ''Comicbook/{{Watchmen}}'', Dr. Manhattan's ability to make rare elements from scratch is the reason his world has cancer-free cigarettes, efficient zeppelins and cheap electric cars.
* ComicBook/LexLuthor in ''ComicBook/SupermanRedSon'' is responsible for technology decades ahead of its time.
** In main DC continuity, the city of Metropolis was "upgraded" by Brainiac around New Year's Day 2000 to be centuries ahead of its time.
* In ''ComicBook/ElfQuest'''s "Shards" arc, the half-elf, half-troll Two-Edge becomes this for the human warlord Grohmul Djun.
* In ''ComicBook/UniversalWarOne'', Kalish finds a way to travel through space and time, and literally starts a new civilization.

* A major theme in ''FanFic/DungeonKeeperAmi''. Justified. Ami has access to all the knowledge of the modern world, in addition to several kinds of {{magic}} and a horde of minions to impliment said Industrial Revolution. A fair ammount of innovation is her own, as well, she is highly intelligent after all. This is what founds and feeds her reputation of cunning and genius.
* ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire''/''Series/GameOfThrones'' fanfics:
** In [[ A Connecticut Yankee in King Robert's Court]] ([[ Story-only thread]]), an American engineer gets thrown into Edmure Tully, and an American nurse into Myranda Royce. While Edmure manages to introduce brandy, new roads, paper, gunpowder and new agricultural techniques, Myranda manages to create new jewelry, the bra, better health practices (including cardiopulmonar resuscitation) and the spinning wheel... and there is foreshadowing that there is going to be a lot more. It is a Two People Industrial Revolution.
** In ''Fanfic/GreyjoyAllaBreve'', Theon Greyjoy receives not only the memories of a modern man familiar with the books, but a mental connection to Wiki/TheOtherWiki and thus detailed knowledge of everything from gunpowder to photography, to medicine, Bessemer process and flight.
* Flim and Flam in ''Fanfic/TheRiseOfDarthVulcan'' tried. However when it became apparent to their frustration that no one regarded their revolutionary inventions as anything more than novelties, they decided to get their own back by becoming [[SnakeOilSalesman con ponies]].
* Ahsoka Tano in ''Fanfic/HarryTano''. She brings a lot of incredibly advanced technology with her, but in the end she still needs the help of her magical friends to make the first steps towards the new industrial revolution.
* With the help of an entity that makes it technically a crossover, [[Literature/LordOfTheRings Saruman]] in ''FanFic/SarumanOfManyDevices'' overturns the sword and bow warfare of the Third Age with the application of rifle-armed Uruk Dragoons.
* Downplayed in the ''Videogame/{{Undertale}}'' fanfic [[ Visiontale]], [[ posted on Archive of Our Own]]. A small group of monsters is responsible for the scientific innovations, hard and soft, in the Underground. They have lived for centuries, so they have had the time to develop their ideas. Even so, they still need help from others to conduct research and turn their ideas into tangible results.


* ''Disney/MeetTheRobinsons'' has a fairly extreme example: Cornelius Robinson has invented all the cool new stuff we see the future has, ''and'' it's managed to become widely adopted by the time he's still middle-aged!

* ''Literature/AConnecticutYankeeInKingArthursCourt''. Hank develops bicycles, gunpowder, and even electricity, enriching the lives of the medieval peasants. He's also able to spread these technologies because he happens to meet the king early on and scares him into compliance with a conveniently timed eclipse. This allows him to set up a system of schools and manufacturing complexes which make his introduction of technology almost plausible. Until the Church declares Hank a heretic and bans his inventions.
* Creator/LeoFrankowski's ''The Cross Time Engineer'' series.
* The ''Literature/PrinceRoger'' series has {{Space Marine}}s crash on a planet chock full of alien barbarians. In order to make it across the planet to the spaceport, they ally with certain tribes and give them Roman Empire-era technology and tactics.
* ''Literature/{{Safehold}}:'' Nimue "Merlin" Alban brings modern technology ''back'' to the colonists, who are in a sort of involuntary SpaceAmish-ism.
** Among the locals, Baron Seamount is so this that at least one character argues ''against'' telling him about the technology stolen from them in part because he's already single-handedly progressing Safehold technology without access to the knowledge, thus furthering exactly the sort of inquisitive scientific mindset the protagonists want to encourage in Safeholdians generally. If everybody bringing technology back to Safehold is just duplicating stuff that was developed on Old Earth that's not going to encourage the desired mindset.
* Martin Padway in ''Literature/LestDarknessFall'' invents distilleries, the telegraph, the printing press, the telescope... He's a time traveller stuck in Italy just before Justinian's disastrous reconquest, so he tries to make the best of it.
* In "The Deadly Mission of Phineas Snodgrass", a {{deconstruction}} of ''Lest Darkness Fall'', a man goes back in time to the Roman Empire and brings them modern knowledge until a thousand years later the Earth is so overpopulated that the future sends someone ''else'' back in time [[TimePolice to kill him]] just as he arrives in Roman times. The last line in the story is "And darkness blessedly fell".
* Subverted in ''Literature/MostlyHarmless'': Arthur ''thought'' he could do this since he comes from a technologically advanced place (compared to the place he ends up at), but then he realizes he didn't know how any of that stuff actually worked. The one invention he ends up bringing to them is... [[SatiatingSandwich sandwiches]].
* Subverted in Creator/PoulAnderson's story ''The Man Who Came Early'': A 20th-century American GI teleported back to Viking-era Iceland tries to fast-forward technological progress, but fails utterly.
* J.F. Bone's novel ''Literature/TheMeddlers'': A man's starship runs out of fuel (wire made out of precious metals) and he lands on a primitive planet. He must teach the natives how to use technology so he can get enough fuel to get home.
* Creator/VernorVinge:
** Sherkaner Underhill takes technology from WWI-ish to present day singlehandedly in ''Literature/ADeepnessInTheSky''.
** ''Literature/AFireUponTheDeep'' reveals that every spaceship carries 'uplift' files, in case they get caught in the slow zones where higher end technology won't work, and they have to build lower-tech replacements to get back to the higher zones.
* In Creator/MichaelSwanwick's ''Jack Faust'', German scholar Johannes Faust kickstarts a technological revolution that skyhooks Renaissance Europe into the early 20th century in the space of a century. Justifiable in this case, as the story is written more as a fable than a realist novel (at least, if the parts where Mephistopheles tells Faust how to create new technologies is anything to go on).
* Subverted in the ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' with Leonard of Quirm, who could create massive technological change had the Patrician not had him placed in a large, airy room for which he has the only key, where his failure to consider the consequences of his inventions can't do any harm. This is a man who created [[ILoveNuclearPower something]] for use in the mining industry "for when they want to move the mountains out of the way".
* While not a ''one'' person Industrial Revolution, the core cast of ''Literature/{{Everworld}}'' manages to plant the seeds for technology, starting in ''Enter the Enchanted'', where April shows Merlin how to perform a blood transfusion, but more significantly in ''Discover the Destroyer'', where Jalil and David manage to get a ''lot'' of gold for showing the fairies how to construct a telegraph. It all comes to a head in the last two books where the technology has spread so drastically that there is now electricity and cable cars. It goes even ''further'' when, after battles, April instructs the elves in safety from germs and bacteria, as well as other things. Christopher was of the belief that April's contribution brought the study of medicine in Everworld forward by about five hundred years practically overnight.
** Not to mention trading the formula for gunpowder (out of a high school chemistry book) to some aliens in exchange for a [[AbsurdlySharpBlade little upgrade]] to their pocketknife.
* The protagonist of Creator/RALafferty's ''Literature/{{Rainbird}}'' is this. So brilliant is he that at the end of his life he invents a time machine so he can give his younger self all his future inventions, allowing young!Rainbird to work on even more advanced technologies. [[spoiler:After trying this once too often, old!Rainbird freaks out young!Rainbird and causes him to give up inventing altogether, thus erasing all Rainbird's inventions from history.]]
* Ayla from the ''Literature/EarthsChildren'' book series single-handedly invents and introduces to prehistoric Europe an absurd number of things, including making fire with pyrite and stone, sewing needles, wound suturing, animal domestication, bras and sanitary napkins for women. We are also supposed to believe that she is the first person ever to realize that children are conceived as a result of sex.
* In [[Creator/DaveDuncan David Duncan's]] ''The Seventh Sword'' series an Earth engineer Wally Smith is transported into the body of a swordsman on a primitive world. He finds himself unable to speak of anything advanced -- the language lacks the appropriate words and the warrior's vocabulary is too limited and one-sided. When he does manage to explain something, the locals are wary of anything new. After meeting local "sorcerers", who already possess the secret knowledge of [[spoiler:writing, firearms and spyglasses]] and are ready to learn new things, Wally muses that if he is captured, "He would be thrown into the nearest torture chamber and laid on the rack, producing a secret a day for the sorcerers like a battery hen, a one-man industrial revolution." While undesirable, it does fit his goal of developing this world. Later he finds less painful ways to collaborate with them.
* In ''Literature/UltimaThule'', Tommy Paine deliberately and repeatedly invokes this trope among multiple worlds of the United Planets over a period of years. He's not just doing it for kicks, though.
* In Scott Westerfeld's ''{{Literature/Leviathan}}'' trilogy, UsefulNotes/CharlesDarwin discovered not only the theory of evolution, but Mendelian genetics and DNA. This advanced the understanding of biology so quickly that by the onset of UsefulNotes/WorldWarOne, Britain and her allies (the "Darwinist" powers) have replaced much of the machinery in their societies [[OrganicTechnology with genetically engineered animals instead]], like a BioPunk version of TheFlintstones.
* Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace in ''Literature/TheDifferenceEngine'', and most of the [[FollowTheLeader many "Victorians with computers"]] SteamPunk stories that came after it.
* Shef, in Creator/HarryHarrison's ''Literature/TheHammerAndTheCross'' has shades of this; while many of the inventions aren't his, he is the driving force behind the wave of new mechanisms and devices that sweep the world.
* This is very literally true about Emily in the ''Literature/SchooledInMagic'' books. She introduces the printing press, basic accounting methods, and steam power (just to name a few things) to the medieval world she finds herself in.
* Attempted in ''[[Literature/ArrivalsFromTheDark Envoy from the Heavens]]'', where all attempts by human agents to subvert [[HumanAlien Osieran]] MedievalStasis end in failure. When Ivar tries to subtly reference early experiments with steam engines, people point out that they tend to explode, making them unsafe and, therefore, undesirable. The local horse equivalent is only used for pulling chariots. Ivar's suggestion of a saddle to ride the animal are met with horrified expressions. The locals would never put their weight on such noble animals. Political upheaval is out of the question, as TheEmpire is extremely stable and firm in its rule of the sole inhabited continent. The continent on the other side of the planet is uninhabited, but the local religious beliefs preclude attempts to explore oceans (they think the world is flat).
* ''Literature/TheYoungAncients'' gives us a MagiTek example in [[TheArchmage Tor Green Baker.]] In a decade or so of story time, the Kingdom of Noram goes from MedievalStasis with some magic items floating around to a damn-near post-scarcity society with [[CoolSpaceship cool spaceships]] and a moon colony. Tor and his family are eventually banished from Earth, in fact, because they're too disruptive to everything and the world needs time to adjust to things like instant healing. Aside from having a lot of imagination and workaholic tendencies, the major difference between Tor and every other Master [[OurMagesAreDifferent Builder]] is that Tor always spends an extra hour or so on his designs, to make them easily duplicated and mass producible.
* ''Literature/ReleaseThatWitch'': Played with. Most of the scientific inventions come straight out of the main character Roland's head, including concrete, steam engines, hot air ballons, smokeless gunpowder, electric lighting, and more. And even concepts already discovered in the setting, like black powder or sulfiric acid creation, are only moved to industrial scale production thanks to Roland.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS33E3ATownCalledMercy "A Town Called Mercy"]], crash-landed alien scientist Kahler-Jex brings the titular Wild West town decades ahead of where it should be in terms of technology and medicine.
* On ''Series/StargateAtlantis'', [=McKay=] does this to/for a civilization he mistakes for a Sim game, bringing them from MedievalStasis to SteamPunk over the course of two years.
** Which doesn't sit well with his "game" opponent John Sheppard, whose country reflects his military mindset, and who constantly complains that [=McKay=] cheated by advancing them too fast.
** Sheppard has also advanced them beyond what they would normally have, just not to the extent of [=McKay=].

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}} Time Travel'' supplement ''Alternate Earths'' has this. In the "Gernsback" parallel, UsefulNotes/NikolaTesla's inventions revolutionized the modern world.
* In the ''TabletopGame/{{Deadlands}}'' setting, Dr. Darius Hellstromme is responsible for the vast majority of technical advancements from about 1870 to the 2100s - the steam-powered wagon, the transcontinental railroad tunnel from Denver to the West Coast, the zombie-brain-powered robots (he uses a similar technique to put his brain into a robot body after his original body dies), the nuclear bomb (in both [[FantasticNuke fantastic]] and regular forms), faster-than-light space travel, et cetera.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/ArcanumOfSteamworksAndMagickObscura'' gives us Gilbert Bates, who invented the verse's first steam engine, sparking an industrial revolution that transformed Tarant from a backwater hole into a world superpower. [[spoiler:And by 'invented', I mean 'blatantly copied off an abandoned dwarven prototype that he had been shown'.]]
** [[spoiler:Then again, Gilbert Bates did realize the potential of the device, which the dwarves did not. Given that Gilbert Bates is based on Bill Gates, this was probably intentional. That said -- funnily enough, a talk with a dwarven king implies the dwarves might or not have realized the potential, but Bates certainly didn't stop to think of side-effects.]]
* Mordred on the 'Astro-knights' island in ''{{VideoGame/Poptropica}}''.
* Many, many AlternateHistory stories cast UsefulNotes/NikolaTesla as this. For instance, ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRedAlertSeries'' did it.
** The ''Red Alert'' series also has Einstein. At least until ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRedAlert3''.
** [[DarkMessiah Kane]] from the ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerTiberianSeries''. A more generous interpretation of his actions is that he's preparing humans to be able to use [[GreenRocks Tiberium]] and deal with the [[AlienInvasion Scrin]].
* In ''VideoGame/LufiaCurseOfTheSinistrals'', Lexis is responsible for technology based on [[{{Magitek}} Energy Cores]].
* Lucca in ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'', in fact; she lead to [[spoiler: Porre becoming a military superpower]] based on her technology in ''VideoGame/ChronoCross''.
* The Kappa were already technologically advanced in ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'', but the goddess Kanako Yasaka feeds a dead sun god to a Hell Raven to give them access to nuclear power; and start their Industrial Revolution. When that fails, she successfully exploits Gensokyo's properties to harness cold fusion. Indeed, Kanako has a vested interest in advancing tech level: she's trying to shift her area of influence from "wind and rain" to "technology" due to GodsNeedPrayerBadly.
* [[MadScientist Infel]] from ''VideoGame/ArTonelicoIIMelodyOfMetafalica'' is a one-woman ''{{Magitek}}'' Revolution. Nearly everything about current-age Reyvateils can be traced to her [[spoiler:including the [[TheVirus I.P.D. outbreak]]. She's the BigBad]].
* Jade Curtiss of ''VideoGame/TalesOfTheAbyss'' developed [[spoiler:fomicry, a magical method. of instant, nearly exact cloning that can work on objects as well as people.]] This invention changed the very landscape of the world of Auldrant, and Jade was just a kid!
* Emperor Valkorion [[spoiler: aka the ex-Sith Emperor, Vitiate,]] from ''VideoGame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic: Knights of the Fallen Empire'' supposedly did this to/for the people of Zakuul (albeit raising them from something more like modern technology to an insanely automated droid-based industry that surpasses anything else in the galaxy). It remains to be seen precisely ''how'' he did this, whether it was from things [[EmperorScientist he personally invented]] at [[TimeAbyss some point in his centuries-plus life]] or used some form of LostTechnology that he discovered in Wild Space. Beyond a few examples which are definitely the latter, the actual technology isn't actually that much more advanced. He's just using galactic standard technology in ways the other factions refuse to (the Republic would never allow the economy to be centralized to the degree required, and the Sith use slaves rather than droids for purely idiological reasons).
* In the ''VideoGame/KisekiSeries'', [[{{Magitek}} orbment]] technology was invented by [[PosthumousCharacter Professor Epstein]] and improved upon by [[TheProfessor Professor Russel]]. Made ''slightly'' more realistic in that it took two people to make the technology practical, and it wasn't until Russel invented a functioning orbment-powered airship (which improved commerce ''immensely'') did the technology suddenly start getting adopted in large amounts by society.
* In the world of ''VideoGame/{{Dishonored}}'', much of the technological and industrial progress in the Empire can be attributed to the name "Edmund Roseburrow" -- a brilliant, if troubled RenaissanceMan who almost single-handedly invented the contemporary [[CallASmeerpARabbit whale]] oil-based industry, among other things. He later committed suicide when he saw how his discoveries were used by the Empire's aristocracy to subjugate the common people, rather than make the world a better place.

* Kevyn from ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'' might count. He invented the teraport and pretty much changed the whole interstellar ball game: it's amazing how much new tech used and taken for granted in the comic is based off the teraport.
** [[PlayingWithATrope Played with]] in that though he ''is'' smart enough to be a revolutionary scientist of this caliber, [[spoiler:it turns out that the teraport is actually [[ fairly derivative]]. The Gatekeepers have been suppressing the teraport for ''millennia'', [[ as per a treaty]] with {{Eldritch Abomination}}s. He's just the first genius ''lucky'' and/or ''weird'' enough to have surrounded himself with tough guys at the same time that he attempted to market the teraport, which [[ kept him alive long enough to realize he was being threatened]] and thus to open-source it.]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Noriko Null from ''Literature/BeyondTheImpossible''. She develops an incredibly cheap fusion reactor that is scheduled to completely phase out nuclear power and fossil fuels within a couple of years.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* The Mechanist of ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' fame can produce tanks, jet skis, and a huge freakin' drill, but the concept of a hot-air balloon [[WebVideo/AvatarTheAbridgedSeries eluuuudes him]].
** Hiroshi Sato of ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'' invented the first mass production automobile, then moved on to [[spoiler:shock-gloves, HumongousMecha and fighter-bomber airplanes]].
** Varrick apparently invented moving pictures (including the video camera, audio recording, and the film projector) and the first battlecruiser of his setting; he invents and produces an elaborate maglev train system, in a sticky situation {{MacGyver|ing}}s an EMP, co-invents the flying mecha suit, and discovers how to utilize [[spoiler:spirit energy, the Avatar universe's rough equivalent to nuclear fusion. He suddenly grows a conscience when he realizes its potential to be weaponized.]] He's also named a unit of power after himself (and a unit of mass after his assistant). It is implied he has invented much more than these prior to the start of the series, although not all his ideas were winners. Due to his eccentricities, he only works one hour a day.
* The Franchise/DisneyFairies movies have Tinker Bell be this.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* [[GadgeteerGenius Archimedes]] may well have done this - for a certain, probably low value of mechanization given the reasons listed below - for the Roman empire, but then a soldier [[NiceJobBreakingItHero went and killed him]] because he was too busy [[ReluctantMadScientist working on a math problem]] to respond to the [[WatchingTroyBurn Roman army sacking the city]]. It could have been something to do with all of the giant death machines Archimedes had built for the Carthaginians, such as a crane for crushing Roman ships. The Greeks at the time had invented a rudimentary mechanical calculator. It probably wouldn't have made a great deal of difference due to the economics of the situation, but one cannot help but wondering WhatCouldHaveBeen...
** Some say the soldier in question was asking him [[DeathByIrony where he could find Archimedes because his boss wanted him alive.]]
** In real life, an industrial revolution - with steam engines and all their associated paraphernalia - could never be started by a single man. It's not for want of brilliance, but rather because of simple economics. The first steam engines were, frankly, pathetic and were only commissioned because it was cheaper to use them (to pump the water out of coal mines, feeding them with the low-quality coal that wasn't suitable for transportation and sale) than to pay for draft horses. So it was with all pre-efficient-steam-engine-mechanisation; if labour costs rose past a certain level, people invested in labour-saving tools. If labour costs fell below that level, as their tools wore out they simply hired more people and/or draft animals. There had been many cycles of mechanisation and de-mechanisation before the nineteenth century, but the efficient steam engine was a real game-breaker that had very specific origins - decent-quality coal being mined below the water table in large amounts for sale to towns and cities at the heart of a good-sized and well-developed (i.e. linked up by loads of navigable rivers and canals) regional market wherein it was relatively easy to get loans (from banks) and labour costs were rising.
*** Even if such a person was to, say, forcefully enact an industrial revolution it would not get far due to a lack of widespread literacy, educated technicians (who will maintain those steam engines?), an efficient and reasonably wealthy banking system and a myriad of other factors. This is assuming that the one-person-industrial-revolution knows how all of this stuff is supposed to work - the machinery, the institutions, and the economic system - in the first place, anyhow.
* Hero of Alexandria: bringing us the steam engine 1600 years before it was patented. He had also invented all the other components necessary to build a proper steam turbine (with the very important exception of the improvement metallurgy that would be needed to make one large enough to be useful), but never realized what could happen if he put his inventions together.
* UsefulNotes/ThomasEdison came close in real life. His inventions (or inventions from his lab, anyway) gave birth to electric lighting, the recording industry, the cinema industry, and lots of incremental improvements in telegraphy, power generation, and other fields. He's often a villain in fiction nowadays because of his feud with Tesla, but how can you hate a real-life inventor who actually had a pipe organ in his laboratory?
** He also inadvertently gave birth to major film studios based in Hollywood by monopolizing film-making technology, forcing independent film-makers to run as far away they could. Namely, to California.
** Edison could be an indirect example. Though many inventions attributed to him may actually have been from the various inventors he employed, it was his business methods that enabled those inventions to crystallize in the first place. Quite a few also spread because of his efforts to promote them -- his celebrity status earned the public's trust for new technologies with his name stamped on them.
* Well, UsefulNotes/NikolaTesla ''is'' widely credited as the inventor of most of the electrical systems in use today. The guy pioneered AC and perfected its use in the USA, then went on to develop things like radio, remote control, fluorescent lightbulbs and the wireless transmission of electrical power (which we're only ''now'' implementing into consumer products). Also, VTOL aircraft and a DeathRay... maybe.
* One example that appears in real life is Samuel Slater, known as the "Father of the American Industrial Revolution." In the late 1700s, America was still very much pre-industrial, with very little manufacturing. At this time, England still maintained a strong monopoly on the textile industry, because of its mechanization of that industry. Slater was able to sneak plans for these machines out of England by memorizing the details of the plans. He came to the United States, and helped build these machines, and revolutionized the textile industry in the United states, kicking off the American industrial revolution, as his moniker indicates.
** It's worth noting that Slater had the benefit of luxurious loans from British banks keen on investing funds overseas, as well as horrifically high US import-taxes (tariffs) of 50% on all non-edible goods, and that tax was on top of shipping costs.
* Michael Faraday is another quite literal example. His invention of a working electric motor kickstarted the Industrial Revolution, as well as his work on the induction engine, magnetism, polarization, and various other works.
* Richard Trevithick was perhaps the individual who in our reality is the greatest contender for this. By single-handedly pioneering high-pressure steam engines, at a time when respected existing steam inventors said that high-pressure steam was either impossible to harness or too dangerous to be worth doing so (early high-pressure engine boilers regularly blew up, with deaths not uncommon), Trevithick invented, built, tested and proved the worth of a new type of engine that got much more energy out of coal than ever before, and thence created the first vehicle to ever move under its own power generation, and the invention was then taken on to create trains, cross-ocean liners, and large-scale electrical power generation. Along with Faraday's electricity, it can be seen as the core invention that created the industrial world and then modern world we see today--but without Trevithick's high-pressure steam energy generation, electricity would never have been generated efficiently enough to change the world itself. High pressure steam is now seen as perhaps the most significant invention of all time.
* If any present-day person is a contender for this title, it must be Elon Musk. He has, at a minimum, made electric cars practical, ushered in a new era of reusable spacecraft, developed a completely new mode of high-speed transportation (the "hyperloop"), and helped the use of renewable energy sources gain widespread acceptance. It is not unfair to say that he may be remembered as the architect of the 21st century's greatest innovations.