Category: inventions

Alexander Graham Bell disliked telephones

When the telephone was introduced in 1876, a Western Union internal memo noted: “This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is of no value to us.” In 1879, W. H. Preece, a Post Office engineer, testified to a House of Commons Committee that Britain had […]

Inventors of cash register did not cash in

James Ritty owned the Pony House in Dayton, Ohio in the 1880s, where his customers included Buffalo Bill Cody, Jack Dempsey and John Dillinger. But the profits from Ritty’s saloon often went into his cashiers’ pockets instead of his own. In 1878, on a trip to Europe, he noticed a device on the ship that […]

Invention of Velcro

After a walk in the Swiss woods with his dog one day in 1941, Georges de Mestral  was astounded by the ability of burrs to stick to his dog’s coat and his own clothes. When he got home, he shoved burrs under a microscope and saw that its barbed seed pods hooked easily with the […]

First audio and video recordings

Magnetic recording was invented in 1898 by Valdemar Poulson of Denmark. But it wasn’t used for recording music. Called the “telegraphone,” it was used to record telephone messages by applying magnetic pulses to a steel wire. The process of recording onto a membrane or thin paper was invented earlier, in 1857, by Édouard-Léon Scott de […]

Electricity first discovered 2 500 years ago

Electricity was first discovered about 2 500 years ago. The Greek scientist Thales of Miletus (c. 620 BCE – c. 546 BC) noticed that a piece of amber (the hard fossilized sap from trees) attracted straw or feathers when he rubbed it with a cloth. The word “electricity” comes from the Greek word for amber […]

Soft drink inventions

The term “soda water” was coined in 1798. The soda fountain was patented by Samuel Fahnestock in 1819, with the first bottled soda water available in 1835. The first ice-cream soda was sold in 1874 in the US. The first cola-flavored beverage was introduced in 1881. Coca-Cola was invented in 1886 in Atlanta, Georgia by […]

Who invented the light bulb?

Who invented the light bulb? No, it wasn’t Thomas Edison. Light bulbs were in use long before Edison applied for the patent in 1879. British inventor Humphry Davy invented an incandescent light bulb in 1801 and created the “arc lamp” in 1809. In 1835, Scottish inventor James Bowman Lindsay demonstrated a constant electric light in Dundee. […]

Untimely inventions – products before their time

In 1834, Charles Babbage (1792-1871) designed the Analytical Engine, the precursor of the computer. He was unable to obtain funding for it from the government, who thought it would be worthless. There are many examples of inventions that were way ahead of their time. So much so that some would not come into use for […]

Famous products invented by different people at the same time

Great minds thinks alike. When Johann Vaaler patented his paperclip in 1901, there already were similar designs by William Middlebrook and Cornelius Brosnan. Vaaler is credited with being the first to design a paperclip because of drawings he made as early as 1899. In 1669, the principles of differential calculus were determined by Sir Isaac […]

Who invented the paperclip

When Johann Vaaler patented his paper clip in 1901, there already were similar designs on the books. William Middlebrook of Waterbury, Connecticut patented his design in 1899. Cornelius Brosnan of Springfield, Massachusetts patented his Konaclip in 1900. So, who was first to invent the paper clip? Well, it is thought to be Johann Vaaler. Drawings […]