All of us enjoy many luxuries or benefits from inventors. Some inventions save lives, save time, save money, save work and much more.
We could look around our room and see the benefits from inventors: our electricity, our lights, our technology, our clock, our TV and I am sure some one invented the chair we sit on.
We will see the lives and the ingenuity of Christian inventors.
William Colgate was born in Hollingbourne, Kent, England. He was the son of Robert Colgate and his wife Sarah (née Bowles). The family moved to a farm near Shoreham when William was six years old.
Robert Colgate (1758–1826) was an 18th-century English farmer, politician and sympathiser with the American War of Independence and French Revolution, whose republican ideals impelled him to leave their farm in Shoreham, Kent in March 1798 and emigrate to Baltimore, Maryland, in the United States of America, after which the family settled on a farm in Harford County, Maryland. Colgate formed a partnership with Ralph Maher to manufacture soap and candles, and William helped the two men, but the partnership dissolved after two years. The family later settled in Delaware County, New York.
William Colgate came to New York City in 1804. He there obtained employment as an apprentice to a soap-boiler.
He closely watched the methods practiced by his employer, noting what seemed to him to be mismanagement, and learned useful lessons for his own guidance. At the close of his apprenticeship he was enabled, by correspondence with dealers in other cities, to establish himself in the business with some assurance of success.
In 1806 William established a starch, soap and candle business in Manhattan, on Dutch Street. In 1820, he started a starch factory across the Hudson in Jersey City.
William followed his goal of prosperity through life, and became one of the most prosperous men in the city of New York. This circumstance, together with his great wisdom in counsel, and his readiness to aid in all useful and practicable enterprises, gave him a wide influence in the community, and especially in the denomination of which he was from early life an active and honored member.
PROVEN BUSINESS LEADER
William’s innovative practices are credited with bringing America’s soap-making business out of the dark ages.
Traditionally, soap on this side of the ocean didn’t even smell good. He introduced perfumed soaps to the United States. He made individual bars of soap available. He offered home delivery service. What some considered his folly in 1820 proved to be one more wise business decision. The starch additive reduced his costs, which lowered prices for the buying public.
A PACT WITH GOD
Why did God continue blessing William Colgate? Because William’s Christian faith advised all parts of his life. He committed his family to God (William and his wife Mary raised their sons in the faith); he served as a wise steward of God’s money (not only tithing but giving generously to missions and other Christian causes); he led his business with a servant’s heart, constantly improving his products for the public.
He wanted others to benefit as he had from God’s word. The devout Christian, fondly known as Deacon Colgate, helped launch the American Bible Society and, later, the American and Foreign Bible Society. Along with sponsoring Bible distribution, he was personally involved in and heavily supported New York’s Hamilton Literary and Theological Institution.
William Colgate did reinvent the world of soap for America. later he created the toothpaste bearing his name.
Although he died on March 25, 1857, his influence lives on through his company’s products, through the distribution of God’s word by the American Bible Society and through the university to which he donated so much.
In 1890, the governing board renamed the institution Colgate University. William Colgate also left a great example for all Christians in business.
Henry J. Heinz
Henry John Heinz (October 11, 1844 – May 14, 1919) was a German-American entrepreneur who founded the H. J. Heinz Company based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was born in that city, the son of German immigrants from the Palatinate who came independently to the United States in the early 1840s.
Heinz developed his business into a national company which made more than 60 food products; one of its first was tomato ketchup. He was influential for introducing high sanitary standards for food manufacturing.
He also exercised a paternal relationship with his workers, providing health benefits, recreation facilities, and cultural amenities
Henry Heinz once stated, “To do a thing uncommonly well brings success.” His Christian faith drove him to do things uncommonly well. He honored God with his success while providing (at one time 57) food products the nation bought.
His parents, German immigrants, settled in Pennsylvania. Henry was born the eldest child of a large family. They needed and grew a sizeable garden. Early in his life, Henry’s parents sent him into the village after each day’s picking to sell that day’s extra produce from a basket.
At age ten, Henry peddled vegetables in a wheelbarrow. In his teen years, his parents gave him his own piece of the garden plot. He started using a horse-drawn wagon. The summer before his eighteenth birthday, Henry earned $2,000 from selling what he grew.
CHARACTER ON DISPLAY
Henry had shared his faith with those around him in other ways. He’d attended Sunday School as a boy. In his twenties he became a teacher. The year after he married and launched Heinz & Noble, Henry became Sunday School superintendent of his local church in Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania.
At every step of growth and expansion, Henry operated the company according to Christian principles. He treated both employees and customers fairly and honestly. He offered employee benefits that included access to a rooftop garden, a gymnasium, and a library. Heinz employees received free health care. After anyone had worked for him for three years, he provided a life insurance policy. He personally visited or had someone visit any worker who was sick.
While becoming an industry giant, Henry kept people, not profit, his priority. He once offered someone the advice, “Make all you can honestly; save all you can prudently; give all you can wisely.”
Cyrus Hall McCormick (February 15, 1809 – May 13, 1884) was an American inventor and businessman who founded the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company, which later became part of the International Harvester Company in 1902.
Cyrus’ spiritual life changed when he was 25. He attended a series of church services one week with his parents and siblings. He did not indicate as others did on the final night that he wanted to follow Jesus. Later, at home, he and his father discussed the matter. The following Sunday, Cyrus made a public confession of faith.
Cyrus’ faith guided him through his business transactions and inventions. He gave toward the founding of a school to train pastors. What was originally named Northwestern Theological Seminary was later renamed McCormick Theologi-cal Seminary. Cyrus also gave generously to the causes of D. L. Moody, the YMCA and Mr. Moody’s Bible institute.