Peter Cooper, born on February 12, 1791 in New York City, invented a gelatin dessert that later became Jell-O.

His father was a hat maker in Newburgh, New York. Early in his life, Peter worked as a coach maker’s apprentice, cabinet maker, hat maker, brewer, and grocer. He was always a tinkerer (was he one of us?)

Peter was a self-taught engineer, inventor — even a presidential candidate.

And a philanthropist: he founded the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York.

There’s facinating information about the long life and career of Peter on Wikipedia, click here.