Many average citizens lead private lives that impact relatively few people in the overall scheme of things. Some who engage the public via music, books, politics, or show business can affect vast audiences in at least a small way. Others, like inventors, manage to combine the two—somehow touching the lives of many while remaining relatively anonymous. An Adirondack man did just that, reaching hundreds of millions of people and saving the US government vast sums of money. Museums, including the Smithsonian, have featured exhibits on his work. Yet today he remains a virtual unknown.
Benjamin Rollin Stickney was born in May 1871 in the village of Port Henry (town of Moriah). After schooling locally, he lived and worked in Ticonderoga, operating a bicycle repair shop, and at one time working in the machine shop of the Ticonderoga Pulp & Paper Company. It was also at Ticonderoga where he met and began a romance with Hattie Delano, a cousin of FDR. » Continue Reading.