First of all, there is something in the mind and spirit of an inventor which is understood only by that person, that drives him to create, to make something new that is serviceable to mankind. Perhaps, it is something of the artist merged with the mechanic along with a curiosity and desire to make things better and easier. And, there must also be the desire to be acknowledged as a creator.
The light bulb
A prolific inventor, Thomas Alva Edison is credited with 1093 patents. A man who slept very little, Edison was continually working on something new. His invention of the incandescent light greatly improved the efficiency and quality of human lives. Before there were electric lights, kerosene was employed. The use of kerosene lamps was somewhat dangerous since fires could catch if any spilled, and the lanterns did not emit the kind of light that the incandescent bulb would. The electric light allowed people to work or read with more ease when there was not natural light. Of course, Edison's harnessing of electricity contributed greatly to light and power utilities, phonographs, sound recordings, telephones, and even motion pictures.
It has been noted that above his desk, Thomas Edison displayed a placard with a famous quotation from Sir Joshua Reynolds: "There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking." He jokingly put this idea as his motivator.
The sewing machine
The sewing machine has not been a single invention. Thomas Saint, an Englishman, is credited with the invention of the sewing machine in 1790, but he did not market his product well. During the Industrial Revolution, there were a number of inventions designed to improve productivity and efficiency, and the sewing machine was a definite boon. Earlier, in 1755, Charles Wiesenthal was awarded a patent for a mechanical device that aided a person in sewing such things as leather and sails.
Other men such as Thomas Stone, James Henderson, John Duncan came up with ideas for sewing machines, but the first working one was made by Josef Madersperger in 1814. Later, in 1845 Elias Howe's lockstitch machine was invented; in 1851 Isaac Merritt Singer received a patent for a treadle sewing machine. The two men fought, but formed a Sewing Machine partnership.
At any rate, once the sewing machine was perfected, it greatly aided housewives and seamstresses alike as they could spend less time on one garment and have more time for whatever else they needed. Eventually, clothing was less expensive as it could be mass produced. Additionally, the sewing machine played an important role in stitching books, furniture with upholstery, curtains, and other products.
Singer and all the others were probably thrilled that they had brought such progress to society.
The steam engine
The steam engine was an important component in the Industrial Revolution. While there were others who conceived of the steam engine, it was James Watt in 1781 who developed a steam engine that produced continuous rotative motion which could provide power to a variety of manufacturing machinery. As long as factories located by a source of water, they could manufacture products.
Certainly Watt was proud that his invention worked better than those before him, providing energy for mass production. And, he became both famous and wealthy as he increased the progress and capabilities of society.
Truly, there is something in inventors who wish to be on the cutting edges of progress, whose names will go down in history, who will always know that they helped improve the lives of many people, who know that they will rank with the other creators in the world.
Most things are invented for a variety of reasons. There is no one single reason that causes inventors to invent things. They are generally driven by a combination of curiosity and interest, a desire to be famous, and a desire to make money.
One reason that people try to invent things is because we are innately curious. We want to be able to find new ways of doing things. We want to take ideas and see how they might apply to our lives. We want to see if we can solve problems. All of these things lead people to tinker around and to, eventually, come up with inventions.
A second reason that people invent is to become famous. We know that Thomas Edison, for example, wanted very much to be well-known and respected. When a person is able to devise something that is new and valuable, they can become immortal. We still remember the names of James Watt, Elias Howe, and Thomas Edison long after they are dead. This is a compelling reason for anyone to try to invent new things.
Finally, there is a desire to make money. We are often told that necessity is the mother of invention, but what necessity really does is give inventors an incentive to invent. Think about the light bulb, for example. It was “necessary” in order to give people the safe, bright light that they wanted. This means that people would be willing to pay good money if someone could invent light bulbs. The same goes for things like steam engines and sewing machines. Inventors know that they can make a lot of money if they can create something that fills a perceived necessity. This gives them a tremendous incentive to try to invent.
Most inventions, including the ones that you are asking about, were devised by inventors who were curious and who wanted fame and fortune.
Inventors are very creative people that want to make a difference in the world. When they get motivation, or a reason to create something in order to solve a problem, they will work their very hardest to create something that will help. It starts as a child and it's just something about their mind set.
The creator of the steam engine was Thomas Savery who based his invention on a pressure cooker. He wanted to know how to pump water out of coal mines so he created something that could do just that by using pressure and water.
Sewing by hand was something that was well over 20,000 years old. Thomas Saint was the first to patent a complete sewing machine in 1790. I would say he just wanted to make it easier for everyone to mass produce clothing, since mass producing was introduced around this time period, which meant people had to make more clothes at a faster rate.
The first light bulb was invented by Thomas Edison in 1879. The light bulb was an important thing for distributing power to homes throughout the country, which until electricity was invented was lit by candles and sunlight. Edison invented more than just a light bulb: the phonograph and motion picture camera.