Human race has been blessed with pioneering inventions from the very beginning. From the earliest stone tools to the latest digital innovations, life has never been stagnant for human race. Some contributed it to the situation and termed “invention” as “the Mother of necessity” while few saw this as the fruit of human being’s intellect. Agatha Christie once said “I don’t think necessity is the mother of invention. Invention . . . arises directly from idleness, possibly also from laziness. To save oneself trouble.”
Whatever be the reason, there is no doubt that there are certain inventions which have completely changed the way we lead our life today. It is beyond our imagination to think of a life without phone, television or even internet!
I have shortlisted 10 such inventions which according to me have impacted the human life the most. This is a subjective list, hence your opinion on the greatest inventions mentioned here may vary.
10 – Frozen food
Clarence Birdseye with the help of an electric fan, buckets of brine, and cakes of ice invented a simple method for quick-freezing food in 1923.
9 – Facebook
The social networking giant was founded by Mark Zuckerberg along with Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. When it was launched the membership was limited to Harvard students. Later it was expanded to other colleges in the Boston area. As of September 2012, the social networking website has over one billion active users and more than half of the users access Facebook through a mobile device.
8 – Text Messaging
The concept of text messaging was developed in 1984 by Friedhelm Hillebrand and Bernard Ghillebaert. They came up with a way to transmit short (128 byte) text messages that used the existing cell phone signaling format.
7 – Airplane
Wright brothers Orville and Wilbur observed how birds fly. The invention of three-axis control was their major breakthrough. This helped the pilot steer the aircraft and maintains its equilibrium. In 1900 the brothers tested their first glider on a sandy spot in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Between 1901 and 1903 they made many test flights between Kitty Hawk and their home in Dayton. On December 17, 1903, they launched the first successful air flight in Kitty Hawk.
6 – Internet
It’s a myth that the US government invented the internet. Vinton Cerf developed the TCP/IP protocol, which is the Internet’s backbone. Tim Berners-Lee is the man behind hyperlinks.
5 – Computer Mouse
In 1963 the first mouse prototype was invented by Douglas Engelbart. It was made to use with a graphical user interface windows.
4 – Zipper
Whitcomb Judson, a travelling salesman and part-time inventor, who invented ‘Pneumatic Street Railway’, in 1893 marketed a “Clasp Locker”. The fastener was similar to Elias Howe’s (who invented sewing machine) patent. Judson with the support of businessman Lewis Walker started the Universal Fastener Company to manufacture the new device. The fastener made it public debut at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.
3 – Cable ties
They were invented under the brand name Ty-Rap in 1958 by Thomas & Betts, an electrical company. The earlier cable ties used metal tooth. The present day cable ties are usually made of nylon/plastic.
2 – Television (TV)
In 1925 John Logie Baird invented the world’s first publically demonstrated TV and the place was Selfridges in Oxford Street, London. Shoppers saw slightly blurred but understandable images of letters. In October 1925, he obtained the first actual television picture in his laboratory and his test subject was ventriloquist’s dummy. He later recollected “recollected, “The image of the dummy’s head formed itself on the screen with what appeared to me an almost unbelievable clarity. I had got it! I could scarcely believe my eyes and felt myself shaking with excitement”.
1 – Penicillin
Alexander Fleming in 1928 discovered penicillin. It was an accidental discovery; Fleming had left a plate of staphylococcus bacteria uncovered and later he noticed that mold that had fallen on the culture had killed many of the bacteria. In 1948 Andrew Moyer patented the first method of industrial production of penicillin.