Let me add Joseph Marie Jacquard, who in 1804 invented a programmable loom, that was capable of mass producing complex patterns in cloth. It operated on punch cards.
While I could name a few people whom I would call Celebrity Makers, most of those whom I consider heroes are the every day innovators who see a problem and find a fix too it. Most family farmers fall into these categories, especially those who chose to do sustainable farming, they have to find new ways to confront known problems and they do.
I would also say that many within our own community of makers are heroes, you often see somebody who will mentor another with no expectation of reward or compensation.... We often become acclimated to these behaviors as we spend more time in our groups, but stop and look around some Wednesday Evening, I cannot think of anyplace else where people with such technical skills, openly discuss and share what in business is called "Trade Secrets" or "Proprietary"
But we all have our criteria, and that is part of what makes us a special group.
"Makers" or "Making" are nothing new. Only the labels are new. People have been making, modifying, or customizing stuff for millennia. Look at any old issue of "Popular Mechanics" (1902-present), "Mechanix Illustrated" (1928-1984), "Mother Earth News" (1970-1986), "The Home Shop Machinist" (1982-present), etc., and you can see many of the same kinds of things that are in "Make", just without the micro-controllers and LED's. (I remember one article in "Mother Earth News" on how to build your own Gas Powered Arc Welder, out of an old lawn mower and a alternator out of a car.) It's just that people these days have gotten so used to buying what's on the shelf in the store, that they've forgotten that they CAN make it themselves.
I went to the "North American Model Engineering Society" (NAMES) show (near Detroit) a couple times, and that was another very open, sharing, and inventive group of people. Everyone there was very willing and eager to share their knowledge and experiences. They also put on several seminars on tools, techniques, how to build your own CNC equipment, etc.