Human inventions have fueled the world since the first cave person lit the first fire. With each century, new designs create standards for generations to come. Hundreds of thousands of inventors file patents each year hoping one of their creations will be the new life-changing product, but which ones made a difference? Consider five inventions that changed everything.
1. The Wheel
Culture doesn't give the old-fashioned wheel much thought, in part, because it feels like it has always been here. The first recorded wheel was a potter's wheel developed sometime around 4500 BCE. A few centuries later, Neolithic age inventors saw the wisdom of adding spokes to the wheel to create a powerful tool for transportation. Today, there are wheels on everything from cars to trains to airplanes.
2. The Plow
When it comes to farming, there are many inventions worth mentioning, but most started with the original plow. At one time, farmers worked with nothing but digging sticks and hoes. They worked well enough when the soil was fertile.
Over the centuries, it became harder and harder to find fertile topsoil, leading to the advent of the plow. Changes over the years to the design of the plow have made it a more accessible tool to use.
Today, plows still do much the same thing as that first design ( loosen and turn the soil), but they are motorized and more innovative.
3. The Printing Press
The printing press was revolutionary to communication. The first press design applied pressure to a flat surface to create an impression.
What most think of as a printing press involved attaching small letters to create text with ink onto paper. It's that design that led to newspapers and printed books.
During the industrial revolution, the design of the printing press went to the next level, doubling both the printing area and the capacity of pages per hour. By the 1930s, new printing presses were able to produce up to 3,000 pages per hour.
4. The Automobile
Of course, the automobile belongs on a list of life-changing inventions. Although the basis of the motor came from Karl Benz in 1886, American Henry Ford revolutionized the design, allowing cars to be produced in mass. The improvement in manufacturing was a worldwide revelation.
In modern times, vehicle sales serve as a monitor for economic status, influencing many sectors down the line, such as glass manufacturing and steel processing.
5. The Computer
Few other inventions have had the impact of the computer. The design of it happened in many stages, beginning with the "father of the computer" Charles Babbage.
Babbage created the concept of a mechanical computer in the 19th century. Historical figures like William Thomson, Konrad Zuse, John Mauchly, J. Presper Eckert, Alan Turing, Ted Hoff, Federico Faggin and Stanley Mazor built on the work that Babbage did in those early years.
The modern computer is what spurred the technological age, leading to devices most take for granted today, like laptop computers, smartphones, smart TVs and tablets.
From wheels that allow hundreds of planes to land every second around the world to the smartphones that almost every person carries with them, inventions continue to move the world in a forward direction. We love that here at Zewski we've had a chance to be a part of some great inventions...nothing that's changed the world too much though, at least not yet!
If you're an inventor, download our checklist of 10 Things All Inventors Must Know!