Historical Inventions

1876
Phone Elisha Gray and Alexander Graham Bell
In 1875, Bell makde a first prototype of a vibraphone. In March 1876, Bell improved quality of the vibraphone by replacing the strip with a wire plunged in a container filled with ... In 1875, Bell makde a first prototype of a vibraphone. In March 1876, Bell improved quality of the vibraphone by replacing the strip with a wire plunged in a container filled with water and acid. In September 1875, Bell began to write specifications for a phone. On February 14, 1876, Bell's telephone patent application was filed at the United States Patent Office. Elisha Gray, American inventor of the Telegraph for Transmitting Musical Tones, filed a record of caveat (notice of patent) for a phone just a few hours later. United States Patent No. 174,465 was granted on March 7, 1876 to Alexander Graham Bell even though his telephone did not function perfectly. Elisha Gray then brought several lawsuits all of which resulted in a judgment against him. On March 10, 1876, in Boston, the apparatus produced by Alexander Graham Bell, called vibraphone, succeeded for the first time remotely transmitting the voice of his inventor as intelligible human speech was heard over the telephone for the first time when Bell called to Watson, "Mr. Watson - Come here - I want to see you."
1901
Assembly Line Ransom Eli Olds
Ransom Eli Olds was a pioneer of the American automotive industry, for whom both the Oldsmobile and REO brands were named. In order to keep up with the increasing demand for tho...

Ransom Eli Olds was a pioneer of the American automotive industry, for whom both the Oldsmobile and REO brands were named. In order to keep up with the increasing demand for those newfangled contraptions, horseless carriages, Ransom E. Olds created the assembly line in 1901. Olds should have become known as "The father of automotive assembly line”.

1906
Airplane The Wright brothers
On December 17, 1906, a pair of inventors from Ohio named Orville and Wilbur Wright flew the world's first airplane. The invention, known as the Wright Flyer, took to the skies ...

On December 17, 1906, a pair of inventors from Ohio named Orville and Wilbur Wright flew the world's first airplane. The invention, known as the Wright Flyer, took to the skies for 12 seconds, flying a distance of 120 feet. Though only five people were there to witness the flight, the invention would eventually become one of the most important of the twentieth century – one that would unite people throughout the United States and the world. Inventors Orville and Wilbur Wright took a great interest in flight and invention from an early age. Running a successful bicycle business afforded the Wright brothers enough income to follow their dream of inventing a flying machine

1928
Penicillin Alexander Fleming
In 1928, bacteriologist Alexander Fleming made a discovery from an already discarded, contaminated Petri dish. The mold that had contaminated the experiment turned out to contai...

In 1928, bacteriologist Alexander Fleming made a discovery from an already discarded, contaminated Petri dish. The mold that had contaminated the experiment turned out to contain a powerful antibiotic, penicillin. However, though Fleming was credited with the discovery, it was over a decade before someone else turned penicillin into the miracle drug of the 20th century.

1940
Blood Bank Charles Richard Drew
The Red Cross blood program of today is a direct result of the work of medical pioneer Dr. Charles Drew, beginning in 1940 and throughout World War II. Dr. Drew was instrumental...

The Red Cross blood program of today is a direct result of the work of medical pioneer Dr. Charles Drew, beginning in 1940 and throughout World War II. Dr. Drew was instrumental in developing blood plasma processing, storage and transfusion therapy. His groundbreaking work in the large-scale production of human plasma was eventually used by the U.S. Army and the American Red Cross as the basis for blood banks..

1946
ENIAC Computer John Mauchly and John Presper Eckert
The Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, or ENIAC, was created under the direction of John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert of Penn's Moore School of Electrical Engineerin...

The Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, or ENIAC, was created under the direction of John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert of Penn's Moore School of Electrical Engineering (now the School of Engineering and Applied Science). Construction of the 27-ton, 680-square-foot computer began in July 1943 and was announced to the public on Feb. 14, 1946. It was built to calculate ballistic trajectories for the Army during World War II, a time- and labor-intensive process that had previously been performed by teams of mathematicians working with mechanical calculators. ENIAC stored information in the form of electrons trapped in vacuum tubes, making it the first all-electronic, general-purpose digital computer. The long string of adjectives distinguishes it from earlier mechanical computers, which were essentially gear-driven abacuses that could aid in complex math but could only calculate a small subset of equations.

1954
Geodesic Dome R. Buckminster Fuller
R. Buckminster Fuller was truly a man ahead of his time. Fuller was a practical philosopher who demonstrated his ideas as inventions that he called “artifacts.” Some were bu...

R. Buckminster Fuller was truly a man ahead of his time. Fuller was a practical philosopher who demonstrated his ideas as inventions that he called “artifacts.” Some were built as prototypes; others exist only on paper; all he felt were technically viable. His most famous invention was the Geodesic Dome developed in 1954. Its design created the lightest, strongest, and most cost-effective structure ever devised. The geodesic dome is able to cover more space without internal supports than any other enclosure.

1968
Informer Adolfas Laimutis Telksnys
Adolfas Laimutis Telksnys is called the Father of Lithuanian Internet. “Just like everyone has a watch, in the future every person will have an “informer”, a transmitter a...

Adolfas Laimutis Telksnys is called the Father of Lithuanian Internet. “Just like everyone has a watch, in the future every person will have an “informer”, a transmitter and receiver of sounds, lights and images (and maybe even taste, scent and neuro signals) and a powerful calculation machine. Informer will be as small as a watch, therefore, it will be comfortable to carry around“, Laimutis Telksnys wrote in a newspaper “Tiesa” more than 40 years ago. Adolfas Laimutis Telksnys is a professor, PhD, initiator of the Internet development in Lithuania, doctor of honour of Kaunas Technology University, a member of Lithuanian Academy of Sciences, head of Department of Process Recognition and UNESCO Department at Institute of Mathematics and Informatics at Vilnius University. He forecasted the origin of smart phones and the Internet at the end of 1967; one more part of his forecasts about individual health observation system is not yet implemented, however, he believes that till 2017 it will be realized. At the moment, professor Adolfas Laimutis Telksnys works at the Department of Process Recognition at the Institute of Mathematics and Informatics at Vilnius University and is now creating a wearing system for heart beat observation.

1989
World Wide Web Sir Tim Berners-Lee
 A graduate of Oxford University, Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, an internet-based hypermedia initiative for global information sharing while at CERN, the Eur...

 A graduate of Oxford University, Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, an internet-based hypermedia initiative for global information sharing while at CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory, in 1989. He wrote the first web client and server in 1990. His specifications of URIs, HTTP and HTML were refined as Web technology spread. Tim documented what was to become the World Wide Web with the submission of a proposal specifying a set of technologies that would make the Internet truly accessible and useful to people. Despite initial setbacks and with perseverance, by October of 1990, he had specified the three fundamental technologies that remain the foundation of today’s Web (and which you may have seen appear on parts of your Web browser): HTML, URI, and HTTP.

1899
Electric Car Camille Jenatzy
Camille Jenatzy was a Belgian race car driver. He is known for breaking the land speed record three times and being the first man to break the 100 km/h barrier. He was nicknamed...

Camille Jenatzy was a Belgian race car driver. He is known for breaking the land speed record three times and being the first man to break the 100 km/h barrier. He was nicknamed Le Diable Rouge ("The Red Devil") after the colour of his beard. In the late 1800s, France and Great Britain were the first nations to support the widespread development of electric vehicles. In 1899, a Belgian built electric racing car called "La Jamais Contente" set a world record for land speed - 68 mph - designed by Camille Jénatzy.

1902
Flashlight Conrad Hubert
Although a flashlight is a relatively simple device, its invention did not occur until the late 19th century because it depended upon the earlier invention of the electric batte...

Although a flashlight is a relatively simple device, its invention did not occur until the late 19th century because it depended upon the earlier invention of the electric battery and electric light. Conrad Hubert received a US patent in 1903 , number 737,107 issued August 26, for a flashlight with an on/off switch in the now familiar cylindrical casing containing lamp and batteries.

1920
Traffic Light William L. Potts
Police Officer William L. Potts of Detroit, Michigan, decided to do something about the problem caused by the increasing number of automobiles on the streets. What he had in min...

Police Officer William L. Potts of Detroit, Michigan, decided to do something about the problem caused by the increasing number of automobiles on the streets. What he had in mind was figuring out a way to adapt railroad signals for street use. Potts used red, amber, and green railroad lights and about thirty-seven dollars worth of wire and electrical controls to make the world’s first 4-way three color traffic light. It was installed in 1920 on the corner of Woodward and Michigan Avenues in Detroit. Within a year, Detroit had installed a total of fifteen of the new automatic lights.

1938
Xerography Chester Carlson
Chester Floyd Carlson was an American physicist, inventor, and patent attorney born in Seattle, Washington. The xerographic process, which was invented by him in 1938 and develo...

Chester Floyd Carlson was an American physicist, inventor, and patent attorney born in Seattle, Washington. The xerographic process, which was invented by him in 1938 and developed and commercialized by the Xerox Corporation, is widely used to produce high-quality text and graphic images on paper.  Carlson originally called the process electrophotography. It's based on two natural phenomena: that materials of opposite electrical charges attract and that some materials become better conductors of electricity when exposed to light. Carlson invented a six-step process to transfer an image from one surface to another using these phenomena.

1945
Microwave Oven Percy LeBaron Spencer
The microwave oven did not come about as a result of someone trying to find a better, faster way to cook. During World War II, two scientists invented the magnetron, a tube that...

The microwave oven did not come about as a result of someone trying to find a better, faster way to cook. During World War II, two scientists invented the magnetron, a tube that produces microwaves. Installing magnetrons in Britain’s radar system, the microwaves were able to spot Nazi warplanes on their way to bomb the British Isles. By accident, several years later, it was discovered that microwaves also cook food. Called the Radar Range, the first microwave oven to go on the market was roughly as large and heavy as a refrigerator. The idea of using microwave energy to cook food was accidentally discovered by Percy LeBaron Spencer of the Raytheon Company when he found that radar waves had melted a candy bar in his pocket. Experiments showed that microwave heating could raise the internal temperature of many foods far more rapidly than a conventional oven.

1952
Barcode Norman Joseph Woodland&Bernard Silver
The first patent for a bar code type was issued to inventors Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver on October 7, 1952. The Woodland and Silver bar code can be described as a "bull'...

The first patent for a bar code type was issued to inventors Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver on October 7, 1952. The Woodland and Silver bar code can be described as a "bull's eye" symbol made up of series of concentric circles. Woodland and co-inventor Bernard Silver developed the first barcode system in the 1940s, and received a patent for the invention in 1952. The “Classifying Apparatus and Method” used a circular code and required a costly and massive scanner. The system was a commercial failure but it laid the groundwork for the rectangular barcode and the Universal Product Code, both developed and adopted in the 1970s.

1958
Video Game William Higinbotham
As the Head of the Instrumentation Division at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Willy Higinbotham, invented the world's first video game to entertain visitors to the Brookhaven N...

As the Head of the Instrumentation Division at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Willy Higinbotham, invented the world's first video game to entertain visitors to the Brookhaven National Laboratory. He is said to have expressed regret that he would more likely be famous for his invention of a game than for his work on nuclear non-proliferation

1971
eBooks Michael Stern Hart
Michael Stern Hart is a Pioneer Of Electronic Literacy. Michael Hart was best known for his 1971 invention of electronic books – eBooks. He founded Project Gutenberg which is ...

Michael Stern Hart is a Pioneer Of Electronic Literacy. Michael Hart was best known for his 1971 invention of electronic books – eBooks. He founded Project Gutenberg which is recognized as one of the earliest and longest-lasting online literary projects. In 1971, Hart was a student at the University of Illinois when he was given unlimited computer time on a huge Xerox mainframe computer in the Materials Research lab.  The machine was used primarily for data processing but it was also connected to ARPAnet, a part of what would later become the internet. When Hart was given a copy of the Declaration of Independence at a grocery store in the buildup to the local fireworks on July 4, he found his inspiration. He typed the text into a computer, all in capitals as there was no lower-case option at the time, and sent out a message on ARPAnet saying that it was now available to download. Six people took him up on the offer. The world's first e-book was born.

2001
iPod Tony Fadell
On October 23, 2001 Apple Computers publicly announced their portable music digital player iPod created under project codename Dulcimer. iPod was introduced several months after...

On October 23, 2001 Apple Computers publicly announced their portable music digital player iPod created under project codename Dulcimer. iPod was introduced several months after the release of iTunes, a program that converted audio CDs into compressed digital audio files, and organized digital music collection. A man that could be named the father of iPod is Tony Fadell. Tony Fadell was a former employee of General Magic and Phillips who wanted to invent a better MP3 player. After being turned down by RealNetworks and Phillips, Fadell found support for his project with Apple. Tony Fadell went to work for Apple Computers in 2001 as an independent contractor, leading a team of thirty people to develop the new MP3 player. Apple CEO Steve Jobs molded the device's shape, feel and design.