15 Great Invention that changed the world and paved way for modern Technology.
Humans are an ingenious species. From the early men to the modern men, Human creativeness and inventions have shaped civilizations and transformed life on the Earth. From stone tools to steel and metal tools, to the debut steam engine and the Internet, several key advancements stand out as particularly revolutionary.
You may think you can’t live without your tablet computer and the Internet, but what about the inventions that came before them? Humans have been innovating since the dawn of time to get us to where we are today.
Here are just 15 of the hundreds of inventions that profoundly changed the world and paved the way for modern technology..
15. The wheel
Wheels were invented 3,500 B.C., and rapidly spread across the Eastern Hemisphere.
Before the invention of the wheel in 3500 B.C., humans were severely limited in how much stuff we could transport over land, and how far.
The wheel stands out as an original engineering wonder, and one of the most famous inventions. This basic technology not only made it easier to travel, but also served as the base for a huge number of other innovative technologies.
14. Printing Press
Before the Internet’s ability to spread information, the printing press helped information travel around the globe.
German goldsmith Johannes Gutenberg is credited with inventing the printing press around 1436, although he was far from the first to automate the book-printing process. Woodblock printing in China dates back to the 9th century and Korean bookmakers were printing with moveable metal type a century before Gutenberg. Gutenberg was the first to create a mechanized process that transferred the ink (which he made from linseed oil and soot) from the movable type to paper.
Johannes Gutenberg’s machine, however, improved on the already existing presses and introduced them to the West. By 1500, Gutenberg presses were operating throughout Western Europe with a production of 20 million materials, from individual pages, to pamphlets, and books.
13. The compass
Ancient mariners navigated by the stars, but that method didn’t work during the day or on cloudy nights, and so it was unsafe to voyage far from land.
The Chinese invented the first compass sometime between the 9th and 11th century; it was made of lodestone, a naturally-magnetized iron ore, the attractive properties of which they had been studying for centuries. (Pictured is a model of an ancient Chinese compass from the Han Dynasty; it is a south-indicating ladle, or sinan, made of polished lodestone.)
This modern invention may have originally been created for spiritual purposes. Later it was adapted for navigational purposes. The compass enabled mariners to navigate safely far from land, increasing sea trade and contributing to the Age of Discovery.
12. Edison cylinder phonograph
Before the Mixer and Amplifier, Thomas Alva Edison’s cylinder phonograph brought music to the masses. It was the first type of record player, which used tinfoil sheets and a vibrating stylus. The 1857 invention was a far cry from the iPod, but it heralded the beginning of portable music.
Phonograph cylinders are the earliest commercial medium for recording and reproducing sound. Commonly known simply as “records” these hollow cylindrical objects have an audio recording engraved on the outside surface, which can be reproduced when they are played on a mechanical cylinder phonograph. In the 1910s, the competing disc record system triumphed in the marketplace to become the dominant commercial audio medium.
The transistor is an essential component in nearly every modern electronic gadget. In 1926, Julius Lilienfeld patented a field-effect transistor, but the working device was not feasible. In 1947 John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley developed the first practical transistor device at Bell Laboratories. Their invention won the trio the 1956 Nobel Prize in physics.
Transistors have since become a fundamental piece of the circuitry in countless electronic devices including televisions, cellphones, and computers, making a remarkable impact on technology.
10. Morse code and The Telegraph Machine
The telegraph was developed around 1830–1840 by Samuel Morse and other inventors, which revolutionized long-distance communication.
The electrical signals were transmitted by a wire laid between stations. In addition, Samuel Morse developed a code, called Morse code, for the simple transmission of messages across telegraph lines. Based on the frequency of usage, the code assigned a set of dots (short marks) and dashes (long marks) to the English alphabet and numbers.
Earlier many inventors had created “lightbulbs” but these were not capable of commercial application.
Thomas A. Edison improved on Swan’s design by using metal filaments and in 1878 and 1879 he filed patents for electric lights using different materials for the filament. He eventually discovered that a carbonized bamboo filament could last over 1200 hours. This discovery made commercially manufactured light bulbs feasible, and in 1880, Edison’s company, Edison Electric Light Company began marketing its new product. As well as initiating the introduction of electricity in homes throughout the Western world, this invention also had a rather unexpected consequence of changing people’s sleep patterns.
Light bulbs changed the world by allowing us to be active at night.
8. The telephone
Telephone history conceivably started with the human desire to communicate far and wide. With the arrival of the mobile phone in the 1980s, communications were no longer shackled to cables, Thanks to Alexander Graham Bell earliest invention of the telephone.
The clever invention of the cellular network supported the revolution of the telephone industry. Starting from bulky mobile phones to ultrathin handsets, mobile phones have covered a long way so far.
7. The Camera
The camera is undoubtedly one of the most cherished creations.
This modern invention has witnessed many phases of evolution — camera obscura, daguerreotypes, dry plates, calotypes, SLRs, and DSLRs. In 1826, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce used a sliding wooden box camera made by Charles and Vincent Chevalier to click what is credited as the first permanent photograph.
With technological advancements, Digital cameras were introduced to save pictures on memory cards rather than using films.
The history of the digital camera began with Eugene F. Lally’s idea to take pictures of the planets and stars.
Later, Kodak engineer Steven Sasson invented and built the first digital camera in 1975. It was built using parts of kits that were lying around the Kodak factory. The camera was about the size of a breadbox and it took 23 seconds to capture a single image.
Today, every smartphone has at least one built-in camera that can also take videos.
Weapons have been used since the dawn of humanity. But it is an undeniable fact that guns and gunpowder have revolutionized the world. Gunpowder was invented in China in around the 9th century, but it may have initially been used for fireworks. One early firearm consisted of a bamboo tube that used gunpowder to fire a spear, and was used in China around AD 1000.
Another early type of portable firearm was the fire lance, a black-powder–filled tube attached to the end of a spear and used as a flamethrower; shrapnel was sometimes placed in the barrel so that it would fly out together with the flames. A fire-lance is depicted on a mid-10th century silk banner from China.
Gunpowder was made more powerful by increasing the amount of saltpeter. This, in turn, meant that a stronger barrel was needed, and the bamboo was replaced by metal, and the projectiles were replaced by smaller pieces of metal that fit into the barrel more tightly.
By the mid-to-late 14th century, knowledge of gunpowder and firearms had reached Europe and smaller, portable hand-held cannons were developed, creating a type of personal firearm.
The problem of needing to reload frequently was solved with the invention of a hand-driven machine gun called the Gattling gun. It was invented by Richard J. Gatling during the American Civil War. As the tech has continued to evolve, each following model has become more deadly.
5. Steam Engine
A Spanish mining administrator named Jerónimo de Ayanz is thought to have been the first person to develop a steam engine. Hie patented a device that used steam power to propel water from mines.
However, it is Englishman Thomas Savery, an engineer, and inventor, who is usually credited with developing the first practical steam engine, in 1698. His device was used to draw water from flooded mines using steam pressure. In developing his engine, Savery used principles set forth by Denis Papin, a French-born British physicist who invented the pressure cooker.
In 1711, another Englishman, Thomas Newcomen, developed an improvement in the engine, and in 1781, James Watt, a Scottish instrument maker employed by Glasgow University, added a separate condenser to Newcomen’s engine, which allowed the steam cylinder to be maintained at a constant temperature — dramatically improving its functionality. He later developed a double rotating steam engine that, by the 1800s, would be powering trains, mills, factories, and numerous other manufacturing operations.
Although the birth of the modern car is often said to have occurred in 1886, when German inventor Karl Benz patented his Benz Patent-Motorwagen, automobiles had been in the works since 1769, when Nicolas-Joseph Cugno developed the steam-powered automobile capable of human transportation.
Over the years, a huge number of people contributed to the development of the automobile and its constituent parts. In the early 20th century, Henry Ford innovated mass-production techniques that allowed automobiles to become affordable to the masses.
The history of the automobile really reflects a worldwide evolution. The work of many people was required in order to develop the internal combustion engine and the other systems the automobile relies on. Dozens of spin-off industries were also involved, including oil and steel.
Definitely, this list of inventions would simply be incomplete without mention of the Wright brothers’ historic flight. While flying machines had been dreamt up since Leonardo da Vinci’s time, and the work of countless inventors over several centuries, the Wright Brothers became the first people to achieve controlled, powered flight. In December 17, 1903 the Wrights demonstrated that an airplane could sustain flight under the control of a pilot, a feat that had never before been accomplished. This invention changed everything from travel to shipping. The duo’s success laid the foundation for modern aeronautical engineering by demonstrating what was possible. Without the Wright flyer, we wouldn’t have destination weddings or last-minute shipping for Christmas.
2. The Computer
Major shoutout to the mechanical engineer Charles Babbage for laying the foundation for this remarkable and most reliable invention, and to Ada Lovelace for creating the first programs. In the early 19th century, the “father of the computer” conceptualized and invented the first mechanical computer.
Although there’s no single inventor of the modern computer, the principle was proposed by Alan Turing in his seminal 1936 paper.
Today, computers stand as the symbolic representation of the modern world.
1. The Internet
the Internet needs no introduction; The global system of interconnected computer networks known as the Internet is used by billions of people worldwide. Unlike the bulb or the telephone, the Internet has no single “inventor.” Instead, it has evolved over time. Countless people helped develop it, but the person most often credited with its invention is the computer scientist Lawrence Roberts. It started in the United States around the 1950s, along with the development of computers.
The first workable prototype of the Internet came in the late 1960s, with the creation of ARPANET, or the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network. ARPANET adopted the TCP/IP protocols on January 1, 1983, and from there, researchers began to assemble the “network of networks” that became the modern Internet.
From ancient tools to the latest digital advances, these human inventions changed the world and transformed life on earth.
What else should be on your list?