Inventions have changed the world and the way we live. In some cases, it has also changed the way we perceive things. From providing longevity to life to allowing us to explore the universe, inventions have made man realize his potential of thinking and creativity. Over the centuries, there have been hundreds of inventions, some of which were immensely revolutionary that without them the human civilization would have not taken a stride. Here are the top ten best inventions of all time:
According to the recorded history, pulp papermaking process was invented in China by the Han Dynasty in the 2nd century and the first thing made on these early forms of paper was a map. Paper was the central invention for the Chinese Golden Age. Paper making led way to books and enhanced scholarship.
Cai Lun (simplified Chinese: 蔡伦; traditional Chinese: 蔡倫; pinyin: Cài Lún; Wade–Giles: Ts’ai Lun) (ca. 50 AD – 121), courtesy name Jingzhong (敬仲), was a Chinese eunuch and political official. He is traditionally regarded as the inventor of paper and thepapermaking process, in forms recognizable in modern times as paper (as opposed to papyrus). Although early forms of paper had existed in China since the 2nd century BC, he was responsible for the first significant improvement and standardization of paper-making by adding essential new materials into its composition. Source
The Chinese Han Dynasty invented the first magnetic compass for divination purpose in the 2nd century. The navigational ability that a compass granted allowed the world to be explored and mapped. It was the primary reason why colonialists were able to go far and beyond, even reach the New World.
Earliest records show a spoon shaped compass made of lodestone or magnetite ore, referred to as a “South-pointer” dating back to sometime during the Han Dynasty (2nd century BCE to 2nd century CE). The spoon-shaped instrument was placed on a cast bronze plate called a “heaven-plate” or diviner’s board that had the eight trigrams (Pa Gua) of the I Ching, as well as the 24 directions (based on the constellations), and the 28 lunar mansions (based on the constellations dividing the Equator) Source
8. Printing Press
The invention of a printing press is attributed to the German blacksmith and goldsmith from Mainz, Johannes Gutenberg, around 1439. However, there are earlier records of a printing press existing. A Renaissance printing press could produce 3,600 pages a day. Without this invention, the world certainly would not have seen the information and knowledge revolution which gave speed to progress.
Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg (/joʊˌhɑːnɨs ˈɡuːtənbɜrɡ/ yoh-hah-nəs goo-tən-burɡ; c. 1398 – February 3, 1468) was a German blacksmith, goldsmith, printer, and publisher who introduced printing to Europe. His invention of mechanical movable type printing started the Printing Revolution and is widely regarded as the most important event of the modern period. Source
7. Steam Engine
Steam engine was first invented by Thomas Newcomen from England in 1712, which was a commercially successful atmospheric engine. This invention gave birth to the railway industry, significantly improved the world’s commutation and allowed people to travel the world easier than possible before. It also proved as an impetus to the Industrial Revolution.
The majority of people will tell you that the steam engine was invented by James Watt. But, this is far from the truth. Like all other great inventions and great discoveries, the steam engine came about after centuries of work by numerous scientists, engineers and even writers. It came from a compilation of work and theories that took centuries to complete. Source
It was invented in 1876 by the Scottish engineer, Alexander Graham Bell, but earlier scientific work toward making a telephone can also be found. The invention of telephone allowed the human voice to be converted into electrical signals and transmitted over the wires for a long distance communication. It was forerunner to the telecommunication revolution which we experience today.
There is a lot of controversy and intrigue surrounding the invention of the telephone. There have been court cases, books, and articles generated about the subject. Of course, Alexander Graham Bell is the father of the telephone. After all it was his design that was first patented, however, he was not the first inventor to come up with the idea of a telephone.Source
Also known as the gramophone, this invention by Thomas Edison in 1877 paved the way for a record player and thus gave a platform to many talented singers’ voices. Earlier works on a voice recorder only recorded sounds, but could not reproduce them.
“Mary had a little lamb” were the first words that Edison recorded on the phonograph and he was amazed when he heard the machine play them back to him. In 1878, Edison established the Edison Speaking Phonograph Company to sell the new machine.
4. Light Bulb
A light bulb was first invented by Joseph Swan in 1860, but it could not glow for more than a couple of hours. In 1878, Thomas Edison invented a light bulb that could glow for a longer time and he was granted its U.S. patent in 1879.
In 1802, Humphry Davy invented the first electric light. He experimented with electricity and invented an electric battery. When he connected wires to his battery and a piece of carbon, the carbon glowed, producing light. His invention was known as the Electric Arc lamp. And while it produced light, it didn’t produce it for long and was much too bright for practical use.
The desire for humans to fly could be traced back to 400 BC in Greece. Like other inventions, airplanes also had many pioneers, with first attempts made by Abbas Ibn Firnas in the 9th century, but none of these could last. The first sustained flight was made by the Wright brothers in 1903 in North Carolina, United States. It gave way to the first modern fixed wing aircrafts.
The brothers began their experimentation in flight in 1896 at their bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio. They selected the beach at Kitty Hawk as their proving ground because of the constant wind that added lift to their craft. In 1902 they came to the beach with their glider and made more than 700 successful flights. Source
The first digital computers were developed during the early 1940s in the United Kingdom and the United States for military purposes, with their size as large as a room and they consumed a lot of power to work. The first personal computer was invented in 1957 by IBM, which propelled the Information Age.
But nowadays, I think it is better to reserve the word “computer ” for the type of machine which has swept everything else away in its path: the computer on which you are reading this page, the digital computer with “internally stored modifiable program. “
1. World Wide Web (Internet)
The invention of the worldwide web in 1990 by an English engineer Sir Tim Berners-Lee started the internet revolution we are living in now. Worldwide web is a system of interlinked hypertext documents which are accessed through the internet. This means the websites and their billions of pages. Often people confuse it with the internet itself, which was invented for military purposes in the early 1960s.
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The Internet did start with the ARPANET project and the federal government directly funded the creation of the Internet we know today, Cerf wrote. And Xerox deserves credit for great work, Cerf wrote, including creation of the Ethernet protocol, the ALTO personal computer, the Xerox Network System and PARC Universal Packet. “XEROX did link homogenous Ethernets together but the internetworking method did not scale particularly well,” Cerf wrote.