Benjamin Bradley was born a slave in 1830 in Maryland. Although it was against the law for a slave to be educated, Bradley was educated by his master’s children. He would develop a skill in mathematics and for engineering. During his teenage years, Bradley began to develop what would become the first ever steam engine. He would eventually hold a job position at the United States Naval Academy were he would further develop the steam engine. Although he was never allowed to patent his work, he was paid and therefore purchased his freedom. Read more about Benjamin Bradley below.