The creator of the Learjet turned 25 in June 1927. Working at Universal Battery in Chicago in the mid-1920s, he got a better offer from another company, and went to his boss to use it as leverage for a pay raise. “I’d like to live a little better,” said Lear (right, with his son in 1964). “I wonder if you can pay me more money.” His boss replied, “Lear, your problem is, you have a champagne appetite and a beer income.” Lear replied, “You certainly hit the nail right on the head. I feel I can do something about the income. I don’t think I can do much about the appetite.” With no high school education, but with a knack for electronics and business—Lear also invented the car radio, or the “Motorola”—he took the new job. By age 29, he had enough money to buy his first airplane.
Photos from: "What Were They Doing at 25?" »