Greatest Inventions of All Times — Greatest Inventors

INVENTION YEAR INVENTOR COUNTRY aerosol can 1926 Erik Rotheim Norway air conditioning 1902 Willis Haviland Carrier US airbag, automotive 1952 John Hetrick US airplane, engine-powered 1903 Wilbur & Orville Wright US airship 1852 Henri Giffard France alphabet c. 1700–1500 BC Semitic-speaking peoples eastern coast of Mediterranean Sea American Sign Language 1817 Thomas H. Gallaudet US animation, motion-picture 1906 J. Stuart Blackton US answering machine, telephone 1898 Valdemar Poulsen Denmark aspartame 1965 James Schlatter US aspirin 1897 Felix Hoffmann (Bayer) Germany assembly line 1913 Henry Ford US astrolabe c. 2nd century — — AstroTurf 1965 James M. Faria, Robert T. Wright US audiotape 1928 Fritz Pfleumer Germany automated teller machine (ATM) 1968 Don Wetzel US automobile 1889 Gottlieb Daimler Germany baby food, prepared 1927 Dorothy Gerber US bag, flat-bottomed paper 1870 Margaret Knight US Bakelite 1907 Leo Hendrik Baekeland US ball bearing 1794 Philip Vaughan England balloon, hot-air 1783 Joseph & Étienne Montgolfier France bandage, adhesive 1921 Earle Dickson US bar code 1952 Joseph Woodland US barbed wire 1874 Joseph Glidden US barometer 1643 Evangelista Torricelli Italy battery, electric storage 1800 Alessandro Volta Italy beer before 6000 BC Sumerians, Babylonians Mesopotamia bicycle 1818 Baron Karl de Drais de Sauerbrun Germany bifocal lens 1784 Benjamin Franklin US bikini 1946 Louis Réard France blood bank late 1930s Charles Richard Drew US blow-dryer 1920 Racine Universal Motor Co., Hamilton Beach Manufacturing Co. US bomb, atomic 1945 J. Robert Oppenheimer, et al. US bomb, thermonuclear (hydrogen) 1952 Edward Teller, et al. US boomerang c. 15,000 years ago Aboriginal peoples Australia Braille system 1824 Louis Braille France brassiere (bra) 1913 Mary Phelps Jacob US bread, sliced (bread-slicing machine) 1928 Otto Frederick Rohwedder US button c. 700 BC Greeks, Etruscans Greece, Italy buttonhole 13th century — Europe calculator, electronic hand-held 1967 Jack S. Kilby US calculus 1680s Sir Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (invented separately) England and Germany (respectively) calendar, modern (Gregorian) 1582 Pope Gregory XIII Italy camcorder 1982 Sony Corp. Japan camera, motion picture 1891 Thomas Alva Edison, William K.L. Dickson US camera, portable photographic 1888 George Eastman US can, metal beverage 1933 American Can Co. US can opener 1858 Ezra J. Warner US candle c. 3000 BC — Egypt, Crete canning, food 1809 Nicolas Appert France carbon-14 dating 1946 Willard F. Libby US cardboard, corrugated 1871 Albert Jones US cards, playing c. 10th century — China cash register 1879 James Ritty US cat litter 1947 Edward Lowe US catalog, mail-order 1872 Aaron Montgomery Ward US cellophane 1911 Jacques E. Brandenberger Switzerland celluloid 1869 John Wesley Hyatt US cement, portland 1824 Joseph Aspdin England cereal flakes, breakfast 1894 John Harvey Kellogg US chewing gum (modern) c. 1870 Thomas Adams US chocolate c. 3rd-10th century Maya, Aztecs Central America, Mexico chronometer 1762 John Harrison England clock, pendulum 1656 Christiaan Huygens The Netherlands clock, quartz 1927 Warren A. Marrison Canada/US cloning, animal 1970 John B. Gurdon UK coffee, drip 1908 Melitta Bentz Germany coffee, decaffeinated 1905 Ludwig Roselius Germany coins c. 650 BC Lydians Turkey compact disc (CD) 1980 Philips Electronics, Sony Corp. The Netherlands, Japan compass, magnetic c. 12th century — China, Europe computed tomography (CT scan, CAT scan) 1972 Godfrey Hounsfield, Allan Cormack UK, US computer, electronic digital 1939 John V. Atanasoff, Clifford E. Berry US computer, laptop 1983 Radio Shack Corp. US computer, personal 1974 MITS (Micro Instrumentation Telemetry Systems) US concrete, reinforced 1867 Joseph Monier France condom, latex c. 1930 — — contact lenses 1887 Adolf Fick Germany contraceptives, oral early 1950s Gregory Pincus, John Rock, Min Chueh Chang US corn, hybrid 1917 Donald F. Jones US correction fluid, white 1951 Bette Nesmith US cotton gin 1793 Eli Whitney US coupon, grocery 1894 Asa Candler US crayons, children’s wax 1903 Edwin Binney, C. Harold Smith US cream separator (dairy processing) 1878 Carl Gustaf Patrik de Laval Sweden credit card 1950 Frank McNamara, Ralph Schneider (Diners’ Club) US crossword puzzles 1913 Arthur Wynne US DDT 1874 Othmar Zeidler Germany defibrillator 1952 Paul M. Zoll US dentures c. 700 BC Etruscans Italy detector, metal late 1920s Gerhard Fisher Germany/US detector, home smoke 1969 Randolph Smith, Kenneth House US diamond, artificial 1955 General Electric Co. US diapers, disposable 1950 Marion Donovan US digital videodisc (DVD) 1995 consortium of international electronics companies Japan, US, The Netherlands dishwasher 1886 Josephine Cochrane US DNA fingerprinting 1984 Alec Jeffreys UK doughnut (ring) or donut 1847 Hanson Crockett Gregory US door, revolving 1888 Theophilus von Kannel US drinking fountain c. 1905–1912 Luther Haws, Halsey W. Taylor (invented separately) US dry cleaning 1855 Jean Baptiste Jolly France dynamite 1867 Alfred Nobel Sweden elastic, fabric c. 1830 Thomas Hancock UK electric chair 1888 Harold P. Brown, Arthur E. Kennelly US electrocardiogram (ECG, EKG) 1903 Willem Einthoven The Netherlands electroencephalogram (EEG) 1929 Hans Berger Germany electronic mail (e-mail) 1971 Ray Tomlinson US elevator, passenger 1852 Elisha Graves Otis US encyclopedia c. 4th century BC or 77 AD Speusippus (compliation of Plato’s teachings) or Pliny the Elder (comprehensive work) Greece or Rome engine, internal-combustion 1859 Étienne Lenoir France engine, jet 1930 Sir Frank Whittle UK engine, liquid-fueled rocket 1926 Robert H. Goddard US engine, steam 1698 Thomas Savery England escalator 1891 Jesse W. Reno US eyeglasses 1280s Salvino degli Armati or Alessandro di Spina Italy facsimile (fax) 1842 Alexander Bain Scotland fiber optics 1955 Narinder S. Kapany India fiberglass 1938 Owens Corning (corp.) US film, photographic 1884 George Eastman US flashlight, battery-operated portable 1899 Conrad Hubert Russia/US flask, vacuum (Thermos) 1892 Sir James Dewar Scotland food processor 1971 Pierre Verdon France foods, freeze-dried 1946 Earl W. Flosdorf US foods, frozen c. 1924 Clarence Birdseye US Fresnel lens 1820 Augustin-Jean Fresnel France fuel cell 1839 William R. Grove UK genetic engineering 1973 Stanley N. Cohen, Herbert W. Boyer US Geiger counter 1908 Hans Geiger Germany glass c. 2500 BC Egyptians or Phoenicians Egypt or Lebanon glass, safety 1909 Édouard Bénédictus France greeting card, Christmas 1843 John Callcott Horsley England guillotine 1792 Joseph-Ignace Guillotin France guitar, electric 1941 Les Paul US gunpowder c. 10th century — China or Arabia hanger, wire coat 1903 Albert J. Parkhouse US helicopter 1939 Igor Sikorsky Russia/US holography 1948 Dennis Gabor Hungary hypodermic syringe 1853 Charles Gabriel Pravaz France in vitro fertilization (IVF), human 1978 Patrick Steptoe, Robert Edwards UK ink c. 2500 BC — Egypt, China insulin, extraction and preparation of 1921 Sir Frederick Grant Banting, Charles H. Best Canada integrated circuit 1958 Jack S. Kilby US Internet 1969 Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) at the Dept. of Defense US iron, electric 1882 Henry W. Seely US irradiation, food 1905 — US/UK jeans 1873 Levi Strauss, Jacob Davis US JELL-O (gelatin dessert) 1897 Pearle B. Wait US jukebox 1889 Louis Glass US Kevlar 1965 Stephanie Kwolek US Kool-Aid (fruit drink mix) 1927 Edwin E. Perkins US laser 1958 Gordon Gould and Charles Hard Townes, Arthur L. Schawlow (invented separately) US laundromat 1934 J.F. Cantrell US lawn mower, gasoline-powered c. 1940 Leonard Goodall US Lego late 1940s Ole Kirk Christiansen Denmark light bulb, incandescent 1879 Thomas Alva Edison US light bulb, fluorescent 1934 Arthur Compton US light-emitting diode (LED) 1962 Nick Holonyak, Jr. US linoleum 1860 Frederick Walton UK lipstick, tube 1915 Maurice Levy US liquid crystal display (LCD) 1963 George Heilmeier US lock and key c. 2000 BC Assyrians Mesopotamia locomotive 1829 George Stephenson England longbow c. 1000 — Wales loudspeaker 1924 Chester W. Rice, Edward W. Kellogg US magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) early 1970s Raymond Damadian, Paul Lauterbur US margarine 1869 Hippolyte Mège-Mouriès France matches, friction 1827 John Walker England metric system of measurement 1795 French Academy of Sciences France microphone 1878 David E. Hughes UK/US microscope, compound optical c. 1600 Hans & Zacharias Jansen The Netherlands microscope, electron 1933 Ernst Ruska Germany microwave oven 1945 Percy L. Spencer US miniature golf c. 1930 Garnet Carter US mirror, glass c. 1200 Venetians Italy missile, guided 1942 Wernher von Braun Germany mobile home 1919 Glenn H. Curtiss US money, paper late 900s — China Monopoly (board game) 1934 Charles B. Darrow US Morse code 1838 Samuel F.B. Morse US motor, electric 1834 Thomas Davenport US motor, outboard 1907 Ole Evinrude Norway/US motorcycle 1885 Gottlieb Daimler, Wilhelm Maybach Germany mouse, computer 1963–64 Douglas Engelbart US Muzak 1922 George Owen Squier US nail, construction c. 3300 BC Sumerians Mesopotamia necktie 17th century — Croatia neon lighting 1910 Georges Claude France nuclear reactor 1942 Enrico Fermi US nylon 1937 Wallace H. Carothers US oil lamp 1784 Aimé Argand Switzerland oil well 1859 Edwin Laurentine Drake US pacemaker, cardiac 1952 Paul M. Zoll US paper c. 105 Ts’ai Lun China paper clip 1899 Johan Vaaler Norway paper towel 1931 Arthur Scott US parachute, modern 1797 André-Jacques Garnerin France parking meter 1932 Carl C. Magee US particle accelerator 1929 Sir John Douglas Cockcroft, Ernest Thomas Sinton Walton Ireland/UK pasteurization 1864 Louis Pasteur France pen, ballpoint 1938 Lazlo Biro Hungary pencil 1565 Conrad Gesner Switzerland periodic table 1871 Dmitry Ivanovich Mendeleyev Russia personal watercraft, motorized 1968 Bombardier, Inc. Canada petroleum jelly 1870s Robert Chesebrough US phonograph 1877 Thomas Alva Edison US photocopying (xerography) 1937 Chester F. Carlson US photography 1837 Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre France photography, instant 1947 Edwin Herbert Land US Play-Doh 1956 Noah W. & Joseph S. McVicker US plow, steel 1836 John Deere US pocket watch c. 1500 Peter Henlein Germany polyethylene 1935 Eric Fawcett, Reginald Gibson UK polygraph (lie detector) 1921 John A. Larson US polyvinyl chloride (PVC) 1872 Eugen Baumann Germany Post-it Notes mid-1970s Arthur Fry (3M) US potato chips 1853 George Crum US printing press, movable type c. 1450 Johannes Gutenberg Germany Prozac 1972 Ray W. Fuller, Bryan B. Molloy, David T. Wong US radar c. 1904 Christian Hülsmeyer Germany radio 1896 Guglielmo Marconi Italy radio, car early 1920s William P. Lear US rayon 1884 Louis-Marie-Hilaire Bernigaud, count of Chardonnet France razor, electric 1928 Jacob Schick US razor, safety c. 1900 King Camp Gillette US reaper, mechanical 1831 Cyrus Hall McCormick US record, long-playing (LP) 1948 Peter Carl Goldmark US refrigerator 1842 John Gorrie US remote control, television 1950 Robert Adler US respirator c. 1955 Forrest M. Bird US revolver 1835–36 Samuel Colt US Richter scale 1935 Charles Francis Richter, Beno Gutenberg US rifle, assault 1944 Hugo Schmeisser Germany roller coaster 1884 LeMarcus A. Thompson US rubber, vulcanized 1839 Charles Goodyear US rubber band 1845 Stephen Perry UK saccharin 1879 Ira Remsen, Constantin Fahlberg US, Germany saddle (riding) c. 200 BC — China safety pin 1849 Walter Hunt US satellite, successful artificial earth 1957 Sergey Korolyov, et al. USSR satellite, communications 1960 John Robinson Pierce US saxophone 1846 Antoine-Joseph Sax Belgium Scotch tape 1930 Richard Drew (3M) US scuba gear 1943 Jacques Cousteau, Émile Gagnan France seat belt, automotive shoulder 1959 Nils Bohlin (Volvo) Sweden sewing machine 1841 Barthélemy Thimonnier France shoelaces 1790 — England silicone 1904 Frederic Stanley Kipping UK skateboard 1958 Bill & Mark Richards US skates, ice 1000 BC — Scandinavia skates, roller 1760s Joseph Merlin Belgium ski, snow c. 2000–3000 BC — Sweden, Finland, Norway skyscraper, steel-frame 1884 William Le Baron Jenney US slot machine 1890s Charles Fey US snowmobile 1922 Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada soap 600 BC Phoenicians Lebanon soft drinks, carbonated 1772 Joseph Priestley UK sonar 1915 Paul Langevin France stamps, postage 1840 Sir Rowland Hill UK stapler 1866 George W. McGill US steamboat, successful 1807 Robert Fulton US steel, mass-production 1856 Henry Bessemer UK steel, stainless 1914 Harry Brearley UK stereo, personal 1979 Sony Corp. Japan stereophonic sound recording 1931 Alan Dower Blumlein UK stethoscope 1819 René-Théophile-Hyacinthe Laënnec France stock ticker 1867 Edward A. Calahan US stove, electric 1896 William Hadaway US stove, gas 1826 James Sharp UK straw, drinking 1888 Marvin Stone US submarine 1620 Cornelis Drebbel The Netherlands sunglasses 1752 James Ayscough UK sunscreen 1944 Benjamin Green US supermarket 1930 Michael Cullen US synthesizer, music 1955 Harry Olson, Herbert Belar US synthetic skin 1981 Ioannis V. Yannas, John F. Burke US tampon, cotton 1931 Earle Cleveland Haas US tank, military 1915 Admiralty Landships Committee UK tea bag early 1900s Thomas Sullivan US teddy bear 1902 Morris Michtom US Teflon 1938 Roy Plunkett US telegraph 1832–35 Samuel F.B. Morse US telephone, wired-line 1876 Alexander Graham Bell Scotland/US telephone, mobile 1946 Bell Laboratories US telescope, optical 1608 Hans Lippershey The Netherlands television 1923, 1927 Vladimir Kosma Zworykin, Philo Taylor Farnsworth Russia/US, US thermometer 1592 Galileo Italy thermostat 1830 Andrew Ure UK threshing machine 1778 Andrew Meikle Scotland tire, pneumatic 1888 John Boyd Dunlop UK tissue, disposable facial 1924 Kimberly-Clark Co. US tissue, toilet 1857 Joseph Gayetty US toaster, electric 1893 Crompton Co. UK toilet, flush c. 1591 Sir John Harington England toothbrush 1498 — China tractor 1892 John Froehlich US traffic lights, automatic 1923 Garrett A. Morgan US transistor 1947 John Bardeen, Walter H. Brattain, William B. Shockley US typewriter 1868 Christopher Latham Sholes US ultrasound imaging, obstetric 1958 Ian Donald UK vaccination 1796 Edward Jenner England vacuum cleaner, electric 1901 Herbert Cecil Booth UK Velcro 1948 George de Mestral Switzerland vending machine c. 100–200 BC — Egypt Viagra 1997 Pfizer Inc. US video games 1972 Nolan Bushnell US videocassette recorder 1969 Sony Corp. Japan videotape 1950s Charles Ginsburg US virtual reality 1989 Jaron Lanier US vision correction, laser 1987 Stephen Trokel US washing machine, electric 1907 Alva J. Fisher US wheel about 3500 BC proto-Aryan people or Sumerians Russia/Kazakhstan or Mesopotamia wheelbarrow 1st century BC — China wheelchair 1590s — Spain windmill 644 — Persia wine before 4000 BC — Middle East World Wide Web 1989 Tim Berners-Lee UK wristwatch, digital 1970 John M. Bergey US X-ray imaging 1895 Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen Germany Zamboni (ice resurfacing machine) 1949 Frank J. Zamboni US zipper 1893 Whitcomb L. Judson US