General Knowledge

Inventions and Inventors

Inventions and Inventors


Air Brake :
George Westinghouse, U.S.A. 1911.
Air Conditioning :
Willis Carrier, U.S.A. 1911.
Airplane :
engine-powered, Wilbur and Orville Wright, U.S.A., 1903.
Airship :
Henri Giffard, France, 1852; Ferdin von Zeppelin, Germany, 1900.
Antibiotics :
Louis Pasteur, Jules-Francois Joubert, France, 1887; (discovery of penicillin) Alexander Fleming, Scotland, 1928.
Antiseptic :
(surgery) Joseph Lister, England, 1867.
Aspirin :
Dr. Felix Hoffman, Germany, 1899.
Atom :
(nuclear model of) Ernest Rutherford, England, 1911.
Atomic Structure :
Ernest Rutherford, England, 1911; Niels Bohr, Denmark, 1913.
Automated Teller Machine (ATM) :
Don Wetzel, U.S.A., 1968.
Automobile :
(first with internal combustion engine, 250 rmp) Karl Benz, Germany, 1885; (first with practical highspeed internal combustion engine, 900 rpm) Gottlieb Daimler, Germany, 1885; (first true automobile, not carriage with motor) Rene Panhard, Emile Lavassor, France, 1891; (carburetor, spray) Charles E. Duryea, U.S.A., 1892.
Autopilot :
(for aircraft) Elmer A. Sperry, U.S.A., c.1910, first successful test, 1912, in a Curtiss flying boat.


Bacteria :
Anton van Leeuwenhoek, The Netherlands, 1683.
Bakelite :
Leo Hendrik Baekeland, U.S.A., 1907.
Ball Bearing :
Philip Vaughan, England, 1794.
Ballon, Hot-air :
Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier, France, 1783.
Bar Codes :
Monarch Marking, U.S.A. 1970.
Barometer :
Evangelista Torricelli, Italy, 1643.
Bicycle :
Karl D. von Sauebronn, Germany, 1816; (first modern model) James Starley, England, 1884.
Big Bang Theory :
(the universe originated with a huge explosion) George LeMaitre, Belgium, 1927; (modified LeMaitre theory labeled Big Bang) George A. Gamov, U.S.A., 1948; (cosmic microwave background radiation discovered) Arno A. Penzias and Robert W. Wilson, U.S.A. 1965.
Blood, Circulation of :
William Harvey, England, 1628.
Bomb, Atomic :
J. Robert Oppenheimer et al., U.S.A., 1945.
Bomb, Thermonuclear (hydrogen) :
Edward Teller et al., U.S.A., 1952.
Boyles Law :
(relation between pressure and volume in gases) Robert Boyle, Ireland, 1662.
Braille :
Louis Braille, France, 1829.
Bridges :
(suspension, iron chains) James Finley, Pa., 1800; (wire suspension) Marc Seguin, Lyons, 1825; (truss) Ithiel Town, U.S.A., 1820.
Bullet :
(conical) Claude Minie, France, 1849.


Calculating Machine :
(logarithms) John Napierm Scotland, 1614; (digital calculator) Blaise Pascal, 1642; (multiplication machine) Gottfried Leibniz, Germany, 1671; (analytical engine design, included concepts of programming, taping) Charles Babbage, England, 1835.
Camera :
George Eastman, U.S.A., 1888; (Polaroid) Edwin Land, U.S.A., 1948
Car Radio :
William Lear, Elmer Wavering, U.S.A. 1929.
Cells :
Robert Hooke, England, 1665.
Chewing Gum :
John Curtis, U.S.A., 1848; (chicle-based) Thomas Adams, U.S.A., 1870.
Cholera Bacterium :
Robert Koch, Germany, 1883.
Circuit, Integrated :
(theoretical) G.W.A. Dummer, England, 1952; Jack S. Kilby, Texas Instruments, U.S.A., 1959.
Clock, Pendulum :
Christian Huygens, The Netherlands, 1656.
Clock, Quartz :
Warren A. Marrison, Canada/U.S.A., 1927.
Cloning, Animal :
John B. Gurdon, U.K., 1970.
Coca-Cola :
John Pemberton, U.S.A., 1886.
Combustion :
Antoine Lavoisier, France, 1777.
Compact Disk :
RCA, U.S.A., 1972.
Compact Disk (CD) :
Philips Electronics, The Netherlands; Sony Corp., Japan, 1980.
Computed Tomography
(CT scan, CAT scan) :
Godfrey Hounsfield, Allan Cormack, U.K. U.S.A., 1972
Computers :
(analytical engine) Charles Babbage, 1830s; (ENIAC, Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator, first all-electronic, completed) John Presper Eckert, Jr., John Mauchly, U.S.A., 1945; (UNIVAC, Universal Automatic Computer) 1951; (personal computer) Steve Wozniak, U.S.A., 1976.
Computer Laptop :
Radio Shack Corp., U.S.A., 1983.
Concrete :
Joseph Monier, France, 1877.


Othmar Zeidler, Germany, 1874.
Detector, Metal :
Gerhard Fisher, Germany/U.S.A., late 1920s.
Deuterium :
(heavy hydrogen) Harold Urey, U.S.A., 1931.
(deoxyribonucleic acid) Friedrich Meischer, Germany, 1869; (determination of double-helical structure) F. H. Crick, England and James D. Watson, U.S.A., 1953.
Dye :
William H. Perkin, England, 1856.
Dynamite :
Alfred Nobel, Sweden, 1867.


Electric Generator (dynamo) :
(laboratory model) Michael Faraday, England, 1832; Joseph Henry, U.S.A., c.1832; (hand-driven model) Hippolyte Pixii, France, 1833; (alternating-current generator) Nikola Tesla, U.S.A., 1892.
Electron :
Sir Joseph J. Thompson, U.S.A., 1897.
Electronic Mail :
Ray Tomlinson, U.S.A., 1972.
Elevator, Passenger :
Elisha G. Otis, U.S.A., 1852.
equivalence of mass and energy) Albert Einstein, Switzerland, 1907.
Engine, Internal Combustion :
No single inventor. Fundamental theory established by Sadi Carnot, France, 1824; (two-stroke) Etienne Lenoir, France, 1860; (ideal operating cycle for four-stroke) Alphonse Beau de Roche, France, 1862; (operating four-stroke) Nikolaus Otto, Germany, 1876; (diesel) Rudolf Diesel, Germany, 1892; (rotary) Felix Wanket, Germany, 1956.
Evolution :
: (organic) Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, France, 1809; (by natural selection) Charles Darwin, England, 1859.


Facsimile (fax) :
Alexander Bain, Scotland, 1842.
Fiber Optics :
Narinder Kapany, England, 1955.
Film Photographic :
George Eastman, U.S.A., 1884.
Flashlight, Battery-operated Portable :
Conrad Hubert, Russia/U.S.A., 1899
Flask, Vacuum (Thermos) :
Sir James Dewar, Scotland, 1892.
Fuel Cell :
William R. Grove, U.K., 1839


Genetic Engineering :
Stanley N. Cohen, Herbert W. Boyer, U.S.A., 1973.
Gravitation, Law of :
Sir Issac Newton, England, c.1665 (published 1687).
Gunpowder :
China, c.700.
Gyrocompass :
Elmer A. Sperry, U.S.A., 1905.
Gyroscope :
Jean Leon Foucault, France, 1852.


Helicopter :
(double rotor) Heinrich Focke, Germany, 1936; (single rotor) Igor Silorsky, U.S.A., 1939.
Helium First Observed on Sun:
Sir Joseph Lockyer, England, 1868.
Home Videotape Systems
(VCR) :
(Betamax) Sony, Japan, (1975); (VHS) Matsushita, Japan, 1975.


Ice Age Theory :
Louis Agassiz, Swiss-American, 1840.
Insulin :
(first isolated) Sir Frederick G. Banting and Charles H. Best, Canada, 1921; (discovery first published) Banting and Best, 1922; (Nobel Prize awarded for purification for use in humans) John Macleod and Banting, 1923; (first synthesized), China, 1966.
Internet :
Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) at the Dept. of Defense, U.S.A., 1969.
Iron, Electric :
Henry W. Seely, U.S.A., 1882.
Isotopes :
Frederick Soddy, England, 1912.


Jet Propulsion :
(engine) Sir Frank Whittle, England, Hans von Ohain, Germany, 1936; (aircraft) Heinkel He 178, 1939.


Laser :
(theoretical work on) Charles H. Townes, Arthur L. Schawlow, U.S.A. Basov, A. Prokhorov, U.S.S.R., 1958; (first working model) T. H. Maiman, U.S.A., 1960.
LCD (liquid crystal display) :
Hoffmann-La Roche, Switzerland, 1970.
Lens, Bifocal :
Benjamin Franklin, U.S.A., c.1760.
Light-Emitting Diode (LED) :
Nick Holonyak, Jr., U.S.A., 1962.
Light, Speed of :
(theory that light has finite velocity) Olaus Roemer, Denmark, 1675.
Locomotive :
(steam powered) Richard Trevithick, England, 1804; (first practical, due to multiple-fire-tube boiler) George Stephenson, England, 1829; (largest steam-powered) Union Pacifics Big Boy, U.S.A., 1941.
Loud Speaker :
Chester W. Rice, Edward W. Kellogg, U.S.A., 1924.


Machine Gun :
(multibarrel) Richard J. Gatling, U.S.A., 1862; (single barrel, belt-fed) Hiram S. Maxim, Anglo-American, 1884.
Magnet, Earth is :
William Gilbert, England, 1600.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) :
Raymond Damadian, Paul Lauterbur, U.S.A., early 1970s.
Matchstick/box :
(phosphorus) Francois Derosne, France, 1816; (friction) Charles Sauria, France, 1831; (safety) J. E. Lundstrom, Sweden, 1855.
Metric System :
Revolutionary government of France, 1790-1801.
Microphone :
Charles Wheatstone, England, 1827.
Microscope :
(compound) Zacharias Janssen, The Netherlands, 1590; (electron) Vladimir Zworykin et al., U.S.A., Canada, Germany, 1932-1939.
Microwave Oven :
Percy Spencer, U.S.A., 1947.
Missile, Guided :
Wernher von Braun, Germany, 1942.
Motion, Laws of :
Isaac Newton, England, 1687.
Motion Pictures :
Thomas A. Edison, U.S.A., 1893.
Motion Pictures, Sound :

Motor, Electric :

Motorcycle :
(motor tricycle) Edward Butler, England, 1884; (gasoline-engine motorcycle) Gottlieb Daimler, Germany, 1885.
Moving Assembly Line :
Product of various inventions. First picture with synchronized musical score : Don Juan, 1926; with spoken diologue : The Jazz Singer, 1927; both Warner Bros.

Michael Faraday, England, 1822; (alternating-current) Nikola Tesla, U.S.A., 1892.


Ozone :
Christian Schonbein, Germany, 1839.


Neutron :
James Chadwick, England, 1932.
Nuclear Fission :
Otto Hahn, Fritz Strassmann, Germany, 1938.
Nuclear Reactor :
Enrico Fermi, Italy, et al., 1942.
Nylon :
Wallace H. Carothers, U.S.A., 1937.


Pacemaker :
Clarence W. Lillehie, Earl Bakk, U.S.A., 1957.
Paper :
China, c.100 A.D.
Parachute :
Louis S. Lenormand, France, 1783.
Pen :
(fountain) Lewis E. Waterman, U.S.A., 1884; (ball-point) John H. Loud, U.S.A., 1888; Lazlo Biro, Argentina, 1944.
Phonograph :
Thomas A. Edison, U.S.A., 1877.
Photography :
(first paper negative, first photograph, on metal) Joseph Nicephore Niepce, France, 1816-1827; (discovery of fixative powers of hyposulfite of soda) Sir John Herschel, England, 1819; (first direct positive image on silver plate) Louis Dagauerre, based on work with Niepce, France, 1839; (first paper negative from which a number of positive prints could be made) William Talbot, England, 1841. Work of these four men, taken together, forms basis for all modern photography. (First color images) Alexandre Becquerel, Claude Niepce de Saint-Victor, France, 1848-1860; (commercial color film with three emulsion layers, Kodachrome) U.S.A. 1935.
Photovoltaic Effect :
(light falling on certain materials can produce electricity) Edmund Becquerel, France, 1839.
Planetary Motion, Laws of :
Johannes Kepler, Germany, 1609, 1619.
Plastics :
(first material nitrocellulose softened by vegetable oil, camphor, precursor to Celluloid) Alexander Parkes, England, 1855; (Celluloid, involving recognition of vital effect of camphor) John W. Hyatt, U.S.A., 1869; (Bakelite, first completely synthetic plastic) Leo H. Baekeland, U.S.A., 1910; (theoretical background of macromolecules and process of polymerization on which modern plastics industry rests) Hermann Staudinger, Germany, 1922; (polypropylene and low-pressure method for producing high-density polyethylene) Robert Banks, Paul Hogan, U.S.A., 1958.
Polio, Vaccine :
(experimentally safe dead-virus vaccine) Jonas E. Salk, U.S.A., 1952; (effective large-scale field trials) 1954; (officially approved) 1955; (safe oral live-virus vaccine developed) Albert B. Sabin, U.S.A. 1954; (available in the U.S.A.) 1960.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) :
Eugen Baumann, Germany, 1872.
Printing :
(block) Japan, c.700; (movable type) Korea, c.1400, Johann Gutenberg, Germany, c.1450; (lithography, offset) Aloys Senefelder, Germany, 1796; (rotary press) Richard Hoe, U.S.A. 1844; (linotype) Ottmar Mergenthaler, U.S.A., 1884.
Printing Press, Movable Type :
Johannes Gutenburg, Germany, c.1450.
Proton :
Ernest Rutherford, England, 1919.
Pulsars :
Antony Hewish and Jocelyn Bell Burnel, England, 1967.


Quantum Theory :
(general) Max Planck, Germany, 1900; (sub-atomic) Niels Bohr, Denmark, 1913; (quantum mechanics) Werner Heisenberg, Erwin Schrodinger, Germany, 1925.


Rabies Immunization :
Louis Pasteur, France, 1885.
Radar :
(limited range) Christian Hulsmeyer, Germany, 1904; (pulse modulation, used for measuring height of ionosphere) Gregory Breit, Merle Tuve, U.S.A., 1925; (first practical radar-radio detection and ranging) Sir Robert Watson-Watt, England, 1934-1935.
Radio :
(electromagnetism theory of) James Clerk Maxwell, England, 1873; (spark coil, generator of electromagnetic waves) Heinrich Hertz, Germany, 1886; (first practical system of wireless telegraphy) Guglielmo Marconi, Italy, 1895; (first long-distance telegraphic radio signal sent across the Atlantic) Macroni, 1901; (vacuum electron tube, basis for radio telephony) Sir John Fleming, England, 1904; (regenerative circuit, allowing long-distance sound reception) Edwin H. Armstrong, U.S.A., 1912; (frequency modulation-FM) Edwin H. Armstrong, U.S.A., 1933.
Radiocarbon Dating, Carbon-14 Method :
(discovered) Willard F. Libby, U.S.A., 1947; (first demonstrated) U.S.A., 1950.
Razor :
(safety) King Gillette, U.S.A., 1901; (electric) Jacob Schick, U.S.A., 1928, 1931.
Refrigerator :
Alexander Twining, U.S.A., James Harrison, Australia, 1850; (first with a compressor) the Domelse, Chicago, U.S.A., 1913.
Remote Control, Television :
Robert Adler, U.S.A., 1950.
Richter Scale :
Charles F. Richter, U.S.A., 1935.
Rifle :
(muzzle-loaded) Italy, Germany, c.1475; (breech-loaded) England, France, Germany, U.S.A., c.1866; (bolt-action) Paul von Mauser, Germany, 1889; (automatic) John Browning, U.S.A., 1918.
Rocket :
(liquid-fueled) Robert Goddard, U.S.A., 1926.
Rotation of Earth :
Jean Bernard Foucault, France, 1851.
Rubber :
(vulcanization process) Charles Goodyear, U.S.A., 1839.


Saccharin :
Constantine Fuhlberg, Ira Remsen, U.S.A., 1879.
Safety Pin :
Walter Hunt, U.S.A., 1849.
Saturn, Ring Around :
Christian Huygens, The Netherlands, 1659.
Seismograph :
(first accurate) John Bohlin, Sweden, 1962.
Sewing Machine :
Elias Howe, U.S.A., 1846; (continuous stitch) Isaac Singer, U.S.A., 1851.
Spectrum :
Sir Isaac Newton, England, 1665-1666.
Steam Engine :
Thomas Savery, England, 1639; (atmospheric steam engine) Thomas Newcomen, England, 1705; (steam engine for pumping water from collieries) Savery, Newcomen, 1725; (modern condensing, double acting) James Watt, England, 1782; (high-pressure) Oliver Evans, U.S.A., 1804.
Steel, Stainless :
Harry Brearley, U.K., 1914.
Stethoscope :
Rene Laennec, France, 1819.
Submarine :
Cornelis Drebbel, The Netherlands, 1620.


Tank, Military :
Sir Ernest Swinton, England, 1914.
Tape Recorder :
Valdemar Poulsen, Denmark, 1899.
Teflon :
DuPont, U.S.A., 1943.
Telegraph :
Samuel F. B. Morse, U.S.A., 1837.
Telephone :
Alexander Graham Bell, U.S.A., 1837.
Telephoe, Mobile :
Bell Laboratories, U.S.A., 1946.
Telescope :
Hans Lippershey, The Netherlands, 1608; (astronomical) Galileo Galilei, Italy, 1609; (reflecting) Isaac Newton, England, 1668.
Television :
Vladimir Zworykin, U.S.A., 1923, and also kinescope (cathode ray tube) 1928; (mechanical disk-scanning method) successfully demaonstrated by J. L. Baird, Scotland, C. F. Jenkins, U.S.A., 1926; (first all-electric television image) Philo T. Famsworth, U.S.A., 1927; (color, mechanical disk) Baird, 1928; (color, compatible with black and white) George Valensi, France, 1938; (color, sequential rotating filter) Peter Goldmark, U.S.A., first introduced, 1951; (color, compatible with black and white) commercially introduced in U.S.A., National Television Systems committee, 1953.
Thermodynamics :
(first law : energy cannot be created or destroyed, only converted from one from to another) Julius Von Mayer, Germany, 1842; James Joule, England, 1843; (second law : heat cannot itself pass from a colder to a warmer body) Rudolph Clausius, Germany, 1850; (third law : the entropy of ordered solids reaches zero at the absolute zero of temperature) Walter Nernstm Germany, 1918.
Thermometer :
(open-column) Galileo Galilei, c.1593; (clinical) Santorio Santorio, Padua, c.1615; (mercury, also Fahrenheit scale) Gabriel D. Fahrenheit, Germany, 1714; (centigrade scale) Anders Celsius, Sweden, 1742; (absolute-temperature, or Kelvin, scale) William Thompson, Lord Kelvin, England, 1848.
Tire, Pneumatic :
Robert W. Thompson, England, 1845; (bicycle tire) John B. Dunlop, Northern Ireland, 1888.
Transformer, Electric :
William Stanely, U.S.A., 1885.
Transistor :
John Bardeen, Walter H. Brattain, William B. Shockley, U.S.A., 1947.
Typewriter :
Christopher Sholes, Carlos Glidden, U.S.A., 1867.


Velcro :
George de Mestral, Switzerland, 1948.
Video Disk :
Philips Co., The Netherlands, 1972.
Vitamins :
(hypothesis of disease deficiency) Sir F. G. Hopkins, Casimir Funk, England, 1912; (vitamin A) Elmer V. McCollum, M. Davis, U.S.A., 1912-1914; (vitamin B) McCollum, U.S.A., 1915-1916; (thiamin B1) Casimir Funk, England, 1912; ( riboflavin, B2) D. T. Smith, E. G. Hendrick, U.S.A., 1926; (niacin) Conrad Elvehjem, U.S.A., 1937; (B6) Paul Gyorgy, U.S.A., 1934; (vitamin C) C. A. Hoist, T. Froelich, Norway, 1912; (vitamin D) McCollum, U.S.A., 1922; (folic acid) Lucy Wills, England, 1933.


Wheel :
(cart, solid wood) Mesopotamia, c.3800-3600 B.C.
Windmill :
Persia, c.600.
World Wide Web :
(developed while working at CERN) Tim Berners-Lee, England, 1989; (development of Mosaic browser makes WWW available for general use) Marc Andreeson, U.S.A., 1993.


X-ray Imaging :
Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen, Germany, 1895.
Xerography :
Chester Carlson, U.S.A., 1900.


Zero :
India, c.600; (absolute zero temperature, cessation of all molecular energy) William Thompson, Lord Kelvin, England, 1848.