Every invention and inventor has a story of courage and hard work, a means by which the invention was conceived when others had either failed or didn’t realize the possibility. Some inventors failed thousands of times, not only during the stages of their incredible creations but also during their careers and life. Thomas Edison was pulled from school because the teachers deemed that he will be unable to complete his primary school education. Edison also made over one thousand unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. Some inventions have humble beginnings, such as plastic, which struggled to achieve commercial success for fifty years after its invention, and now it is an integral part of the modern world. Many great inventions have completely changed our lifestyle in many different ways. The invention of the Internet and Television enabled people to communicate worldwide instantaneously. Some inventions didn’t have a long-term vision about their creations. When Alexander Graham Bell made the first telephone call to his assistant in 1876, did he realize that it would become an integral part of our life? Probably not. Bygonely has compiled some of the greatest inventions and genius minds whose intelligence and perseverance have shaped our modern world.
Before the printing press, text and documents were hand-copied by monks, and few individuals have access to them. The printing press is the most influential inventions of the past one thousand years. It revolutionized the accessibility of knowledge and information. Johannes Gutenberg invented printing press around the year 1440; he designed a device based on screw presses that, when partnered with inked movable type heads, allowed the paper to be quickly and efficiently pressed with letters. Johannes Gutenberg was a German blacksmith and goldsmith by trade.
Joseph Nicéphore Niépce was a French inventor, usually credited as the inventor of photography. It was in 1793 that Niépce first had the idea of producing permanent images. Niépce had some success with paper coated with light-sensitive compounds of silver. Images did register on the paper, but they completely blackened when they were exposed to light as they were removed from the camera.
Three years later, Niépce began taking pictures of scenes, rather than ‘photocopying’ drawings. These photos were not negative but positive images. The oldest photo still in existence is View from the Window at le Gras (1826), an eerie image of outbuildings taken from the first floor of Niépce’s house.
An early form of the pencil was made in 1565 by Conrad Gesner when graphite was placed in a wooden holder. the graphite was mistakenly called lead - at the time, the newly-discovered graphite was called black lead or "plumbago," from the Latin word for lead ore - it looked and acted like lead, and it was not known at the time that graphite consisted of carbon and not lead.
Archimedes was the best mathematician and inventor of the ancient world. King Hiero asked Archimedes to design a pump to drain his ship during the voyage to Alexandria, Egypt. Archimedes devised a simple but brilliant solution. The device today known as the Archimedes Screw. The screw lifts water when it turns, and was so effective that it was quickly adopted in many countries for irrigation. Some researchers have postulated this as being the device used to irrigate the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
Toilets had been in use for centuries by the end of the 16th century, often with a sewage system. However, these toilets were, in reality, mere pits/holes, with no moving mechanisms in the waste removal process. That changed in 1596 when writer John Harington installed a flush toilet in his house in Kelston, England. The design used a special valve to let water out of a sudden tank and into the bowl, flushing away the waste.
Steam engines boosted the production and manufacturing of items on a large scale. Even to this day, over 50 percent of the world's electricity is generated through large-scale steam turbines. The first steam engine was invented by Hero Of Alexandria in the first century AD.
The microscope is the most influential technology that allowed us to study and observe things that we could not be able to see with the naked eye. The microscope helps to identify viruses and diseases; these discoveries led to preventative measures such as vaccines. Zacharias Janssen, a Dutch lensmaker, was the first to realize that by inverting the lens structure of early prototype telescopes, we could get a higher degree of magnification. The initial microscopes were simple compound types, combining a magnifying objective lens with an eye lens. Advancements soon followed though and, after Robert Hooke published Micrographia in 1655, the microscope became a staple tool for any scientist.
The telescope has enabled us to see beyond the limitations, discover new planets stars, discover our place in the universe. Nobody is completely sure who was the first to construct a practical telescope or whose genius was the first to realize the potential for this device. However, Dutch lens maker Hans Lipperhey was certainly the first to apply for a patent, in 1608.
Today there are many people around the world with some sort of eye deficiency, so it's a good job we have eyeglasses to help correct vision. This wasn't the case in the late 13th century, as prior to the invention of the spectacles in Italy the optical powers of lenses were poorly understood. Even after they were developed, only the richest visually impaired would have been able to afford a pair of spectacles to help them see.
Salvino D'Armate invented the concept of spectacles. He shared the invention of his new device with Allesandro Della Spina, an Italian monk, who made it public and is often credited with inventing eyeglasses.
Plastic is the most widely used synthetic material that can be molded into any shape; it is used in numerous packaging applications, bottles, containers, pipes and many more. Alexander Parkes, unveiled the first man-made plastic during the International Exhibition at London in 1862. A few years later, American inventor, John Wesley Hyatt set about making the first synthetic man-made plastic.
Italian scientist, Alessandro Volta, made a voltaic pile in 1799. A simple and reliable source of electric current that did not need to be recharged like the Leyden jar; his invention quickly led to a new wave of electrical experiments. The pile, which was a stack of silver and zinc discs separated by pieces of brine-soaked fabric, was crude, but when it ends were connected via metal wire, it produced a small electric current. In the years following the pile's invention, the battery was improved again and again, and now it is a fundamental source of portable power that many of us just couldn't live without.
German engineer, Karl Benz, designing the first true motor car. Karl Benz closely followed developments in engine design after leaving college and worked towards his dream of building a motor car. Karl Benz closely followed developments in engine design after leaving college and worked towards his dream of building a motor car. In the 1870s, Benz designed a reliable two-stroke petrol engine (in which the four operations of the four-stroke engine are combined into one upward and one downward stroke), for which he was granted a patent in 1879.
During the 19th century, railways revolutionized travel and communication for millions of people. The coming of the railways was made possible by the invention of high-pressure steam engines by English engineer Richard Trevithick, who also designed and built the first steam locomotives. At that time, working engines used steam only at atmospheric pressure or slightly above. Trevithick realized early on that steam under high pressure could lead to more compact, more powerful engines.
Charles Babbage designed machines that mathematical operations and invented the world’s first programmable computing device. He envisaged a machine that would calculate tables at speed and remove the risk of human error. Babbage’s Analytical Engine was the first known design for a mechanical, general all-purpose computer.
Dying of smallpox was not a pleasant way to go, with a slow and painful death almost guaranteed. On the other hand, catching cowpox was only a minor inconvenience and, better yet, it prevented you from catching smallpox. English doctor Edward Jenner noticed this link and, after experimenting on some of the local diary workers, published his results in 1798. He invented a vaccine that later became mandatory, though the majority of the people rejected this idea before his research was finally recognized.
The invention of steel-girder skyscrapers enabled architects to move away from the constraints of load-bearing walls and towards steel-framed structures that granted more freedom and creativity. The first of these buildings was architects William Le Baron Jenney's ten-story Home insurance company building, completed in 1885. As soon as it was built and proved a success, the technology proliferated rapidly, and soon rival architects tried to outdo each other, designing ever taller and more complex buildings.
The invention that completely revolutionized communication. In the 1870s, Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Gray both invented devices that could transmit voice reflectionally. Surprisingly both men finished their designs within hours of one another, and both rushed to the patent office to have their invention verified as original. Ultimately, it was Bell who arrived first and is now credited with the invention, although Gray challenged this assertion for quite some time. His invention was much more successful than attempts by other people to create something similar, and he ultimately wound up victorious as the true inventor of the telephone.
Until the late 19th century, patients undergoing even minor surgery had about as much chance of dying afterwards as they did of surviving. English surgeon Joseph Lister dramatically improved patients’ chances in the 1870s, by introducing antiseptics into surgery.
In 1865, Lister read a report by French chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur (1822–1895) suggesting that fermentation and rotting are caused by airborne micro-organisms. Pasteur also showed how micro-organisms could be killed by heat, filtration or chemical attack.
In July 1877 Edison came up with an idea for a device that would make it possible to record and play back sounds. One of his researchers set about trying to make it, and in November, Edison recited the first verse of the poem “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” To everyone’s amazement, the device played back Edison’s voice. The phonograph indented sound vibrations on to a sheet of tinfoil wrapped around a cylinder turned by a hand crank.
One of the 19th century's most important discoveries happened entirely by accident. German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen was experimenting with passing electrical currents through gas-filled tubes similar to fluorescent light bulbs when he noticed a screen starting to glow. It was illuminated by invisible rays coming from a tube that was covered in black paper, meaning they had the power to penetrate solid objects. Rontgen created the first X-ray image by swapping the screen for a photographic plate. The image revealed the bones in his wife's hand.
During the late 1800s, America was in full throes of the Gold Rush, and Jacob Davis, a Latvian immigrant, was working as a tailor in Nevada. Jacob sold clothing to local miners and workmen, who required strong and hard-wearing material for their word. It was here that Jacob struck gold.
By fixing small copper rivets to the most strained areas of the garment, such as the pocket, he created a much more durable design. The new, robust clothing caught public attention and Jacob's 'waist overalls', as they were known, became so popular that he sought a patent to protect his idea. The pair were granted a patent in 1873, and before long the modern denim jeans were being worn in factories, farms and mines across the country.
In 1882, Nikola Tesla had a flash of inspiration that resulted in one of his most important inventions: the AC (alternating current) motor. AC is electric current that repeatedly changes the direction it flows along a wire, unlike DC (direct current) which flows in one direction only. Inside Tesla’s motor, AC passes through a clever arrangement of current that repeatedly changes the direction it flows along a wire, unlike DC (direct current) which flows in one direction only. Inside Tesla’s motor, AC passes through a clever arrangement of spins the rotor (the rotating part).
Aspirin is now the most widely used drug for pain relief in the world. Around 100 billion tablets are taken every year. Salicylic Acid is a substance that helps reduce pain in the body's never-ending. Ancient Greek people used willow bark tree, which is rich in Salicylic acid more than two thousand years ago. However, it tasted awful and could cause vomiting and stomach pain. In 1897, German chemist, Felix Hoffmann produced Acetylsalicylic acid which caused fewer side effects but still and effective pain reliever. German Chemical company Friedrich Bayer and CO began selling ASA in 1899 under the brand name Aspirin.
As elevators gave people a safe lift to the top, buildings began to grow taller, and the shape of city skylines changed forever. Elevators were not used to lift people because of the risk of the rope snapping. American inventor Elisha Graves Otis solved the problem in 1853 with his safety hoist. If the cable broke, the car still didn't fall. the first passenger elevator, drive by steam power, was installed in New York department store in 1857. It climbed five stories in one minute.
While canned food may get a bad reputation today for not being 'fresh', it has been and remains a critical source of nourishment in many parts of the world. Indeed, canned food has many benefits, including acting as a preservative and providing a protective container for transportation. In 1809, Nicolas Appert, a French confectioner and brewer, observed that food cooked inside a jar did not spoil unless the seals leaked, and developed a method of sealing food in glass jars. It radically transformed what the average person ate. Appert was awarded the prize in 1810 by Count Montelivert, a French minister of the interior.
Cornelius Drebbel was a Dutch inventor, who built the first submarine. He was born in Alkmaar, in the Netherlands (then the Dutch Republic), the son of a wealthy farmer. Between 1620 and 1624, Drebbel built three different versions of his vessel, while working for the English Royal Navy. He tested them in the River Thames in London. There is a reconstruction of one of Drebbel’s submarines sits in Heron Square, London. It was based on design documents found at the Public Records Office in London, and made in 2003.
While no single person can be credited with inventing moving pictures, two French brothers – Auguste and Louis Lumière – stand out for their foresight and their important contributions. Using a film camera projector that they designed, they put on some of the earliest public film screenings and helped to define cinema. Important contributions. Using a film camera projector that they designed, they put on some of the earliest public film screenings and helped to define cinema-projector, the Cinématographe, in February 1895. Louis shot their first film, which was called La Sortie de l’Usine Lumière à Lyon (Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory in Lyon).
Imagine going to the doctor and being asked if he or she could listen to your heart, only for them to proceed to place their ear against your chest. Awkward, right? In the days before stethoscopes, this was how it was done. Physician Rene Laennec found it incredibly undignified, especially when a lady was involved, so resigned himself to inventing a solution. Upon watching children sending signals using long, hollow sticks, he came with a device that would enable him to listen to a patient's heartbeat at a polite distance. He named his instrument the 'stethoscope', from the Greek word echos, meaning chest, and skopos meaning examination.
Before the mid-19th century, food and drink had an incredibly short shelf life, and in particular, milk deteriorated very quickly, becoming foul-smelling, undrinkable and wasted. This changed with the development of pasteurization, a process of heating liquid until almost boiling to destroy as many harmful microorganisms as possible before rapidly cooling it. Chemist Louis Pasteur made his discovery while researching the fermentation process of wine. He was attempting to discover the cause of sour or spoiled wine and that that rapid heating and cooling prevented any germs and microbes causing contamination.
The story of corn flakes (breakfast cereal) goes back to 1894 when Kellogg brothers overcooked wheat and rolled into flakes. Kellogg and his younger brother, Will Keith Kellogg, left some cooked wheat to sit while they attended to some pressing matters at the sanitarium. When they returned, they found that the wheat had gone stale. Being on a strict budget, they decided to continue to process it by forcing it through rollers, hoping to obtain long sheets of the dough. To their surprise, what they found instead were flakes, which they toasted and served to their patients.
Dynamite transformed the construction industry, clearing the way for railroads and highways and blasting tunnels through rocks. Italian chemist Ascanio Sobrero discovered Liquid Nitroglycerin in 1847, but this explosive was so dangerous that even a knock could set it off. Explosives needed to become more stable if they were ever to be beneficial.
Swedish scientist, Alfred Nobel was determined to make more stable explosives. He found that mixing nitroglycerin with Kieselguhr resulted in the safe explosive that could be dropped without exploding and yet detonated on demand. Nobel believed dynamite would aid the construction of roads tunnels and mines. However, dynamite also became a weapon of war.
The piano was invented because there was a need for an instrument similar to the harpsichord, but which respond more sensitively to the player's touch. Italian inventor Bartolomeo Cristofori made the first piano in 1709. The total number of pianos built by Cristofori is unknown. Only three survive today, all dating from the 1700s. He also invented several other music instruments.
Hypodermic syringes are used to inject substances into or extract liquids from the body. They consist of very think, hollow needle attached to a syringe. Christopher wren was the first to experiment with hypodermic needles in the 17th century, using animal bladders as the syringe and goose quills as the needle. It was impossible to perform injections without an incision until after the invention of the hollow needle by Irish Physician Francis Rynd in 1844.
Flying in air like birds was a dream of many people, so they tried different methods to fly in the air using gliders and hot air balloons. However, no one actually built a plane that could be operated by the pilot and had full control over it, until 20th century. On 17 December 1903, after several failed attempts, Wilbur Wright and his brother Orville Wright made the first flight, the first powered airplane controlled fully by a pilot to become airborne. They travelled 36.6 meters and flew for over five minutes.
The invention of Coca-Cola is one of the most commercially successful accidents of all time. It was originally intended as patent medicine: a cure to headaches and many ailments including low sexual libido. John Stith Pemberton, an American pharmacist, invented Coca-Cola in 1886. After 50 years of its invention, it became the symbol of America.
Television changed the way of life of hundreds of millions of people in the 20th century. However, the history of this far-reaching invention is far from simple: dozens of inventive people contributed to its development. One of the most significant pioneers was Russian born inventor Vladimir Zworykin, who also made important contributions to the development of the electron microscope. Zworykin’s system used one cathode-ray tube to display pictures and another one in the camera. Inside his television camera, the light fell on the screen of the cathode-ray tube.
In its first fifty years, photograph was the preserve of a relatively small number of professionals and enthusiastic amateurs. It was very expensive, time consuming and awkward. All that changed in 1888, when American inventor George Eastman began selling a cheaper camera, which was also easier to use.
His first camera to feature a roll of the film dubbed the ‘detective camera’, was available in 1885. The roll was made of paper, but this was not ideal since the grain of the paper showed up on the prints. In 1900, the Eastman Kodak Company introduced the first of its most successful range of cameras: The Brownie. Eastman Kodak made and sold 99 different models of Brownies between 1900 and 1980s. The first Brownie was a cardboard box that contained a roll holder, a roll of film and a lens.
The Chinese invented the rocket as early as the 3rd century AD. However, it was not until the 20th century that it began to take on its modern form. Robert Goddard invented the first modern rocket fueled by a mixture of gas and liquid oxygen in 1926. The rocket, which he named Nell, rose to an altitude of 41 feet in 2.5 seconds before crashing into a cabbage field.
Vladimir Zworykin also invented a night vision device, The Snooperscope. This device was sensitive to infrared radiations, which warm-blooded animals emit with greater intensity than non-living things, by virtue of their warm bodies. Zworykin’s device helped soldiers in night-time conflicts in World War II.
Thomas Edison is one of the best-known inventors of all time. He was granted a total of 1,093 US patents. In 1984, Thomas Edison, invented Kinetoscope, the first device for showing moving pictures. He came up with the idea after meeting English inventor Eadweard Muybridge, who pioneered the photography of movement. The Kinetoscope and an associated camera were developed by a British assistant of Edison, WKL Dickson, and led to the cinema.
One of the most useful day-to-day inventions of the 20th century, the refrigerator allows our food to be stored over long periods, reducing the growth of bacteria dramatically. It was invented in 1922 when two students (Baltzar von Platen and Carl Munters) at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, created a gas-absorbing chilling cabinet. Unlike modern fridges, though, this device did not use an electrically driver compressor to maintain internal temperature but, instead of an ingenious system of state-changing gases. After realizing its potential, the inventors put the refrigerator on sale. Unfortunately, it never really caught on, leaving the later electric fridge to make the jump to mass-market success.
The first electronic digital computers appeared in the 1940s. They were not simply the result of advances in electronics. Their development relied on a theory of computation formulated by English mathematician Alan Turing, who was also an important wartime code-breaker and a pioneer of machine intelligence. Turing imagined an ‘automatic machine’ that could read and write symbols on tape, and carry out tasks based on a simple set of instructions. Turing proved that any problem that is ‘computable’ can be solved by such a machine – a ‘universal’ computer – if given the correct set of instructions.
During the Second World War, Turing worked for the UK government helping to decode the German military forces’ encrypted communications. Turing’s invention greatly helped the war effort, and probably shortened the war by a year or more.
When the German army unleashed their secret weapon upon Allied soldiers in April 1915, none were prepared. A thick yellow cloud of poisonous gas advanced across No Man's Land and within ten minutes thousands had died from asphyxia or been permanently blinded.
In the weeks that followed, soldiers were issued with cotton mouth pads soaked in urine, as it had been discovered that ammonia helped to neutralize chlorine. These were quickly replaced by the Black Veil respirator invented by John Scott Haldane, which was treated with a far less-stomach churning sodium-based solution.
Radar is one of the most useful inventions, it uses radio waves to determine the range, angle and velocity of an object. Mostly it is used to detect aircraft, ships and guided missiles. Radar was made out of British-funded 'death ray' project during the run-up to WWII. The British government asked Scottish scientist Robert Watson-Watt to build a machine to destroy personal. Watson-Watt realized that death ray was impossible to build, but did suggest that radio waves could be used to monitor distant object.
Bar codes speed up transactions and cut wait times; they also allow suppliers to track what people are buying. When Joseph Woodland was researching a technology that could identify food products in 1948, he found the solution on a beach. As he drew lines in the sand with his fingers, he imagined a code of bars and spaces. This resulted in the Universal Product Code (UPC), or bar code system.
Starting in 1901, British engineer Hubert Cecil Booth offered vacuum cleaning to rich Londoners with his huge Horse-drawn gasoline-driven machine, from which a long horse would snake into the house through a window. Before Booth introduced his version of the vacuum cleaner, cleaning machines blew or brushed dirt away, instead of sucking it up.
In 1945, the specific heating effect of a high-power microwave beam was accidentally discovered by Percy Spencer. He was not even trying to invent anything when he accidentally conceived of the microwave oven. Working at Raytheon company during the 1940s, by chance, Spencer noticed one day while walking past a radar tube that a chocolate bar that was in his pocket had melted. After testing the effects with other foods- including popcorn - Spencer realized that magnetrons could be used to cook food, thus devising the concept of the microwave oven.
Touch screens allow us to interact with appliances and screens by just touching them. Touch screens invented by English engineer EA Johnson in 1965.
GPS was invented to fire the missiles accurately and minimize the risk of collateral damage. US military asked American physicist Ivan Getting and Professor Bradford Parkinson to build such system. Their proposal was a network of radio transmitters, with each having an in-built clock. It was initially developed for use by the United States military and became fully operational in 1995. Civilian use was allowed from the 1980s. Ivan Getting invented the first Global Positioning System with the help and contribution of Bradford Parkinson and Roger L. Easton.