Top 15 British Inventions That Changed the World Forever
Today, doing things is very convenient with the rise of technology. It has improved communication, education, business, healthcare, and basically, every application in life. Computers, internet, smartphones, cars, and machinery – these technologies helped humans in so many ways. Thanks to the brilliant inventors, researchers, and scientists who paved the ways to these discoveries, innovations, and inventions.
Speaking of inventions, British people contributed a lot to the world. According to a Japanese research firm, over 40% of the world’s inventions originated in the United Kingdom. Some of these are complex inventions. Some of them are the simplest of the simplest, but still, you can never imagine without these things.
Here are the top 15 British inventions and discoveries that changed the world forever.
In 1928, Scottish biologist Sir Alexander Fleming accidentally discovered an antibiotic substance called “penicillin” which saved millions of lives. It helped women during childbirth, saved 15% of the wounded soldiers in World War II, and eradicated prevalent STDs. Today, there are 34 million antibiotics registered and prescribed to patients to treat certain disorders.
Chocolate drink was an all-time favorite even from the earliest civilizations. But was only in 1847 when chocolate can actually be ‘eaten’ in a form of bar. Joseph Fry mixed cocoa powder and sugar to create a paste and molded into a bar. In 1866, Fry’s factory in Bristol began producing chocolate bars.
English clergyman and scientist Joseph Priestley began series of experiments in a brewery in Leeds, England. He placed a bowl of water above the fermenting liquor which resulted in the invention of carbonated water. In 1772, he announced this discovery through his publication “Impregnating Water with Fixed Air”.
In 1824, Leeds bricklayer Joseph Aspdin invented something that changed home and construction forever. He tried burning the mixture of limestone and clay and produced a much stronger concrete compound he called “Portland Cement”. Today, about three tons of cement are produced each year. 70% of the global population also lived in houses made of concrete.
William Addis was an English entrepreneur who became popular in the world for his invention of…the toothbrush. But the biggest twist was that he invented it inside the jail when he was imprisoned in 1770. He decided to improve the way prisoners brush their teeth. He used a small bone from his meal, made holes and attached bristles. After his release, he produced toothbrushes and became a worldwide hit.
English RAF fighter and pilot Frank Whittle invented the turbojet engine. When he was 22, he thought that they can use a gas turbine to power a plane. He pursued his research without any support for study and development. In 1937, he successfully invented the turbojet engine. Modern turbojet engines today are used in British and American aircraft.
In 1755, Scottish professor William Cullen conceptualized a small refrigerating machine. But it was only in 1856 when British journalist developed the first practical vapor compression refrigeration system. He introduced this patent to meat processing houses and breweries. Today, 99% of households have a refrigerator. In fact, over 100 million refrigerators are sold annually.
The device that revolutionized the way people communicate was invented by Scottish inventor Alexander Graham Bell. He discovered that sounds could transmit telegraphically. This invention was first showcased at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. The telephone inspired the invention of the telegraph, television, and of course, smartphones.
Another breakthrough technology that redefined entertainment was the television. There are many inventors who can be attributed to its invention. But it was Scottish inventor John Logie Baird who successfully demonstrated the first working TV system in 1962. Today, most people can’t live without TV, spending two to six hours watching entertainment shows.
World Wide Web
The most revolutionary invention of the 20th century is the internet. Of course, the internet would be useful without the tripled letter W – the WWW or Worldwide Web. English engineer and computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee developed the link between the HTTP and the server which initiated the domain system. Today, there are over 1.2 billion websites live now on the internet.
Probably, every millennial around the world is addicted to selfies and Instagram feed aesthetics. But did you know that photography started in the United Kingdom? British scientist William Henry Fox Talbot pioneered photography using silver iodide on paper and started contact printing, a system before the advent of digital cameras.
Without this invention, everything would be dark. Thanks to British physicist and chemist Sir Joseph Wilson Swan who successfully developed an incandescent light bulb. He also responsible for supplying electric lights that have illuminated houses and buildings up to today.
Another simple yet great invention was by a British merchant named Peter Durand. He invented something that introduced food preservation – the tin can. Yes! The tin can that remains a storage for your favourite meatloaf, corned beef, liver spread, etc. He then sold this patent to two Englishmen who started its massive production.
Apart from the tin can, the stainless steel as also invented by an English metallurgist. Harry Brearley discovered the “rustless” steel when he was tasked to look for materials that can prolong the life of gun barrels. Today, stainless steel is widely used in surgical instruments, cutlery, turbine blades, and architectural cladding, among others.
Thanks to this invention, getting money from your bank savings is so much easy. British inventor John Shepherd-Barron invented the first cash machine widely known as the automated teller machine, in short ATM. The first ATM was used by Barclays Bank in Enfield Town in North London. People can withdraw up to £10 maximum by inserting special cheques and keying-in 4-digit PIN number which is still used today.
There you go, folks! Those were just some of the greatest inventions done by British people. Other great British masterpieces include steam engine, lawnmower, automatic kettle, sewage system, and so much more. Can you imagine life without these inventions? Of course, not!