Tullio Campagnolo was a winning road racer, born in 1901 in Vicenza, Italy. The common story goes:
One snowy day in November, 1927, he was unable to remove a wheel attached with wingnuts during a race, probably to replace a flat tire. That prompted him to go to his father’s hardware store, which contained a machine shop, and where he was used to playing with mechanical ideas. He hollowed out an axle, and created the world’s first quick-release skewer, which he soon patented.
The truth, according to some researchers, is that he was not in that race in November, never patented the skewer, and may not have come up with many of the ideas that are attributed to him.
However, he did build the company, Campagnolo, that became the foremost producer of high-end bicycle components. Campagnolo was one of the first companies to build aluminum and magnesium alloy components.
Mr. Campagnolo died in 1983 at the age of 81, having lived 978 months and manufacturing many inventions that are still used today.