Inventions that changed the world

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Ilyosov Shohruh

Inventions that changed the world

You may think you can’t live without your tablet computer and your cordless electric drill, 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 10 of the hundreds of inventions that profoundly changed your world. What else would be on your list?

Stone tools Stone tools were humanity’s earliest technology, invented more than 2 million years ago by Homo habilis, an early human ancestor. The simplest implements, known to their discoverers as "choppers," were sharpened stones made by smashing one stone against another. This clever (if crude) multi-tool could be used for cutting, sawing, crushing, or smashing. Without this innovation, humanity would have never known the spork.

Daguerreotype The first successful photograph, the daguerreotype, was invented by Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre and Nicéphore Niépce in the 1830s. Niépce’s first attempt needed 8 hours exposure time—Daguerre’s needed 20 or 30 minutes. Now, of course, we can take photos of anything we want, anytime, instantly. Thank you, Daguerre and Niépce, for your role in making Instagram possible.

Saxophone While some musical instruments have been around for centuries (the oldest flute is thought to be at least 35,000 years old!) the saxophone is a relatively recent invention. The first saxophone was patented by Antoine-Joseph Sax in Paris in 1846. It was the first instrument to combine a reed (as in a clarinet) with a brass bell (as in a trumpet). Without its unique sound, we would never have heard jazz, or any of the music styles that followed in its footsteps.

  • Bessemer process The Bessemer process made it possible to mass-produce steel. This was a huge innovation in construction and led to many important advances. The process was invented independently and concurrently by Sir Henry Bessemer (of England) and William Kelly (of the US) in the 1840s. While different methods are used for steel manufacturing today, the Bessemer process was an important building block (pun intended). Without it, we wouldn’t have the towering skyscrapers we have today.

  • Edison cylinder phonograph

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. Just think—before the phonograph, if people wanted to listen to a song, they had to find someone to play it. Imagine seeking out Lady Gaga every time you wanted to hear "Poker Face."

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