Every year, someone creates a new invention that makes our life better and more efficient. These inventions have made it much easier to live in the world today. Everything man-made around us started with an idea that solved a problem, or had a unique design and blossomed into something magical. The following inventions have started the thought-process for inventors all over the world to create the next best, life-changing, thing.
1. Fire – Even though it is argued that this was actually discovered rather than invented, early humans observed fire and then learned how to control and produce it. This was one of the earliest tools for humans in which we have been able to heat our bodies, our food and our homes.
2. Wheel – Invented by Mesopotamians, the wheel was put on a chariot which has assisted in our thriving automobile markets today.
3. Paper – originally invented in China, this disposable item has paved the way for notebooks, books, & journals.
4. Lenses – this invention has taken us from optical glasses, to microscopes and telescopes. All of which has greatly expanded our livelihood. Lenses have played a big roll in photography, film and television as well as technology as a whole.
5. Gunpowder – invented in China in the 9th century, this has been a major factor in all of our military technology. Because of that, it is also a major player in the outcome of every war thereafter.
6. Printing Press – laid the foundation for our modern age. This became the reason ink is able to be transferred onto paper in a mechanized way. Creator, Gutenberg, first printed 200 copies of the bible in Latin, and never lived to see how successful his printing press could be. Books were generally hand-written, this printing press gave way for more knowledge to be spread far and wide. From here, inventors were able to move from the press to the present day printer.
7. Electricity – a number of bright minds contributed to the creation and advancement of electricity over thousands of years ago back into ancient Egypt and Greece. Benjamin Franklin is the one typically credited with furthering our knowledge of this and has shaped our life as a whole. Our technology today would not exist without this.
8. Steam Engine – powers up trains, ships & factories. This put in motion the start of the Industrial Revolution.
Internal Combustion Engine – converts chemical energy into mechanical energy that overtook the steam engine and is what is still being used in modern cars. Elon Musk’s company Tesla, is currently trying to revolutionize technology in this arena. This is a small example of how inventors are taking current inventions and making them better and/or more efficient!
9. Compass – around 200 – 300 B.C. Compasses were created in China. This navigational device has been the foundation of navigation.
10. Telephone – The first patent was established in 1876 by Alexander Graham Bell which since has revolutionized our ability to communicate. Our phones have progressed rapidly over the years and are just getting smarter and more advanced. Now, our phones are instruments for education, entertainment, social and political change, e.g. smartphones.
11. Vehicles – The first motorcar was created in 1885 by Karl Benz which completely changed the way in which we travel. Because of this, the designs of our cities have also changed to fit those needs.
12. Airplane – invented in 1903 by the Wright Brothers, planes have made it possible to travel far distances in a short amount of time. This technology has not only changed transportation but import and exports throughout the world.
13. Rockets – this creation transformed military capabilities and allowed for human space exploration as a whole. Elon Musk also took this creation by stride and has since found an easier and more technologically advanced way to get to space.
14. Computer – these have greatly expanded human capabilities and intelligence. Especially in our current state and time, our life would be altered completely without the ability to work from home on a personal computer. Companies like Apple, Microsoft and IBM have redefined this arena.
15. Refrigerator – In the 1750’s, artificial refrigeration began and then came the first working vapor-compression system, the first ice-making machine and finally in 1913, home refrigerators were invented. These have changed the way we are able to eat and keep food.
16. Penicillin – created in 1928 by Alexander Fleming this drug has completely transformed medicine. Penicillin is the front-runner for its ability to cure infectious bacterial diseases and started the era of antibiotics helping each individual become free of diseases easier and faster than ever before.
17. The Birth Control Pill – created in 1957, the drug was approved by the FDA for menstrual disorders and was approved in 1960 as the first oral contraceptive. Because of this, women gained some power and the world is doing more research for women’s health.
18. The Internet – being developed since the 1960’s the Internet has completely transformed our lives, including communication, intelligence, commerce, entertainment and so much more.
19. Vaccines – this invention has helped curb life-threatening epidemics. The smallpox vaccine saved countless lives and earned him the title of the Father of Immunology. This invention has helped the humankind to transgress periods of deadly diseases.
20. Internal Combustion Engine – converts chemical energy into mechanical energy that overtook the steam engine and is what is still being used in modern cars. Elon Musk’s company Tesla, is currently trying to revolutionize technology in this arena. This is a small example of how inventors are taking current inventions and making them better and/or more efficient!
Without patent offices set up in most countries all over the world, some of these inventions may not have occurred. The US offers an inventor the right to restrict others from making and selling their patented product/system for up to 20 years in exchange for making the enabling details of their invention available to the public in the form of a patent application. Without this motivation of economic gain, companies and investors would not pursue a product if another could simply knock it off and profit, as well. This is what drives progress in technology.