As long as we can think, we have always come up with new and helpful inventions that made life easier and easier for us. Apart from the large and important ones like fire, wheel, and electricity, there are numerous others that were just as useful and make our everyday lives a lot more pleasant. Today we use some of it so casually that it is often not even clear to us how awkward things might be without this invention. We have selected the ten most useful inventions from among them and presented them to you in our top 10.
1) The smartphone, USA
A small computer, telephone, lamp, navigation system, camera and so much more in just one machine – the smartphone is an indispensable part of everyday life. We have not used the phone exclusively for making calls for a long time, but network in a diverse and modern way using the possibilities created with the smartphone. The rapid rise of social media, applications and other uses is only possible through the handy use of the small all-rounder become. The “Simon Personal Communicator” from IBM from 1994 provided the basis for the increasingly sophisticated devices.
Over the years, the technology became more sophisticated, the possibilities greater and the developments of various manufacturers such as Apple and Samsung brought about a huge range of smartphones, which guarantee gigantic sales of this invention. An invention that, thanks to the endless possibilities for optimization, will probably not lose its charm in many years.
2) The credit card, USA
We use them for payment, for travel bookings and abroad. If it doesn’t work, you often have a minor or major problem. The credit card has its origins in the USA, where it has been around since 1894. The first credit cards were given by hotels to well-known or loyal guests. The first universal credit card was that of the “Diners Club”, which was made available to club members so that they could pay on credit when they went to restaurants. Today, the payment method is used particularly frequently when it comes to online purchases and flight bookings.
3) The vacuum cleaner, England
Almost every western household can hardly do without a vacuum cleaner today. The fact that dust and crumbs were dealt with with a broom and mop before it was invented seems cumbersome and labor-intensive today. Hubert Cecil Booth patented his idea of a handy device that could suck in dust and dirt after he had observed in trains how dust was blown from the seats with a blast of air. Today the vacuum cleaner serves as a practical device in every household to remove crumbs, dust, and pet hair in seconds. An enormous relief for every housewife/man.
4) The ballpoint pen, Hungary / USA
There is hardly anyone who has not had a model of this invention in hand – a ballpoint pen. Predecessors of the writing tool have already been patented several times, but it was the Hungarian László József Bíró who invented the basic shape of today’s ballpoint pen. The development, with which his brother supported him, took a full 18 years. He had the colored lead with a rolling ball in the tip of the lead patented in the USA in 1938. The patent for the “Fountain Pen for Pulpy Ink” was later acquired by the British businessman Henry George Martin, who marketed it and made it known around the world.
5) The refrigerator, Germany
Since ancient times people have tried to cool their food using a wide variety of methods. Ice caves and mountain ice, which were used for cooling, or even burying food in the cool earth, were just two of the methods. The predecessor of today’s refrigerator was finally presented by Carl von Linde in 1871. His “refrigeration machine” had the necessary technology and was based on the laws of his thermodynamics.
6) The Penicillin, England
It is hard to imagine medicine today without the invention in sixth place. It was a coincidence, fate, or a small carelessness that led to its discovery in the first place. Today the antibiotic helps with a multitude of diseases worldwide. However, its discoverer, Sir Alexander Fleming, only discovered the remedy due to contamination of its staphylococcal culture plates.
7) The zipper, Switzerland
Closing clothes and bags is easy today. When it comes to children’s clothing, we may still see whether a zipper makes the whole thing a little easier. Before the invention of the zipper by Martin Winterhalter in 1925, however, clothing and everything else that needed a fastener was held together with buttons and cords. Thanks to the locking system known worldwide today with the funny little interlocking metal teeth. The greatest advantage of the invention is that it is much tighter than any other type of closure.
8) Photography, France
The principle of the “camera obscura” was already known in the 4th century BC. But it wasn’t until much later that the French Nicéphore Niepce and Louis Daguerre tried a technique that is the forerunner of today’s cameras. The oldest surviving photograph is a picture from 1826. Today we can barely count the number of photos stored in our smartphones and taking photos is a matter of seconds. The first devices, on the other hand, exposed the motif for several hours before a picture was taken.
9) The railroad, England
The fact that today, for the sake of the environment, we prefer the train to the car and get from A to B in comfort is thanks to a simple bet made by two English men. At the beginning of the 19th century, the ironworks owner Samuel Homfrey bet with an industrialist about which of the two could invent a rail vehicle faster that could drive completely independently. Richard Trevithick, a mining engineer, was entrusted with this task by Homfrey and was able to present his invention in 1805. The standards and dimensions for modern railways are still based on the conception of that time.
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10) The Lens, Holland
Aristotle was able to make precise calculations even without lenses. Modern observations of nature for young and old would hardly have been possible without a suitable lens. It was already noticed in ancient times that shaped glasses and gemstones could sharpen the sense of sight. Visual aids made from collecting and diverging lenses were known as early as the 14th century. The first telescope to be combined by means of glass forming and in a tube was not built in Holland until 1608. Who built the first telescopes and microscopes is still highly controversial today. Nevertheless, they have become an indispensable part of science today.