25 Inventions From Countries You’d Never Expect

Posted by , Updated on May 21, 2024

From toilet paper to speedometers, there are lots of things you use every day but probably have no idea where they came from. These are 25 inventions from countries you’d never expect.



0 (India)

Source: wikipedia, Image: commons.wikimedia.orgSource: wikipedia, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

Yes, we’re talking about the number 0. Although it existed in ancient Egypt as a symbol or placeholder, it wasn’t used in calculations until the Indians got a hold of it.


World Wide Web (UK, Belgium, Switzerland)

world wide webSource: wikipedia, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

While the internet was the result of research done by the US government (ARPANET) in the 1960s, the world wide web (what you are using right now) was actually invented by British and Belgian scientists at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.


Velcro (Switzerland)

VelcroSource: wikipedia, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

Invented in 1948 by Swiss electrical engineer George de Mestral, its name is a portmanteau of the French words “velours” (velvet), and “crochet” (hook).


IMAX (Canada)

IMAXSource: wikipedia, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

Next time you enjoy your favorite movie on an unnecessarily large screen you can thank the Canadian company IMAX Corporation.


Military Bands (Turkey)

bandSource: wikipedia, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

While this probably doesn’t impact your life too much, Ottoman military bands from the 13th century are thought to be the source of this tradition.


Buttons (Pakistan)

buttonsSource: wikipedia, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

Ok, since we gave India the “0” we’re going to give Pakistan the button. Yes, we know it wasn’t a country until 1947 but the Indus Valley Civilization was there long before the concept of countries even existed. And they invented buttons. Beat that.


Tranquilizer Gun (New Zealand)

wolfSource: wikipedia, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

New Zealander Colin Murdoch invented the modern tranquilizer gun in the 1950s.

Disclaimer: we’re not talking about blow darts or ancient indigenous tranquilization techniques…we’re talking about a gun…that tranquilizes


Submarines (Ireland)

submarinesSource: wikipedia, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

Irish engineer John Philip Holland built the first submarine to be commissioned by the US Navy and the Royal Navy. He is widely considered the father of modern submarine designs.


Ugg boots (Australia)

ugg bootsSource: wikipedia, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

There are two types of uggs in the world. There is the original, generic term used in Australia for sheepskin boots and then there is UGG, manufactured by Deckers Brands and sold to sorority girls all over the world. Credit goes to Australia.


Glasses (Italy)

glassesSource: wikipedia, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

All the way from Emperor Nero of Rome to the mid 1200s when they began to resemble modern eyewear, glasses have been a proud invention of Italy/Rome.


Toilet Paper (China)

toilet paperSource: wikipedia, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

The first documented use of toilet paper dates back to 6th century China.


Kerosene Lamp (Poland)

kerosene lampSource: wikipedia, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

Modern kerosene lamps were first constructed in 1853 by Polish inventor Ignacy Łukasiewicz.


Volkswagen Beetle (Austria/Germany)

volkswagen beetleSource: wikipedia, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

Ok lets get it out of the way, Volkswagen Beetles were developed by Hitler because he wanted to manufacture a cheap, affordable car for his roadways. Hitler was Austrian but he ended up ruling Germany. Therefore, both countries are credited.

Disclaimer: Dear trolls, this is not an endorsement of any fascist policies, ideals, propaganda, beliefs, etc. Thank you.


Electric Motor (Hungary)

electric motorSource: wikipedia, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

Apart from early electrostatic devices created by Scottish monks, the experiments of Hungarian physicist Ányos Jedlik with electromagnetic coils led to the first modern electric motors.


Film (France)

filmSource: wikipedia, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

While you can thank Canada for the big screen, you can thank France for the movie itself. The Lumière brothers were the first filmmakers in history.


Postal Codes (Ukraine)

postal codesSource: wikipedia, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

Although cities like London were indeed divided as early as the mid 1800s, the idea of extending these divisions to rural areas wasn’t fully realized until its implementation in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1932.

Disclaimer: Dear trolls, we also don’t condone communism, marxism, leninism, nationalism, sovietism, redistributionism, or any other *ism you can think of.


Speedometer (Croatia)

speedometerSource: wikipedia, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

You can thank Croatian Josip Belušić for the fact that you know how fast you are going.


Aerosol Spray (Norway)

aerosol spraySource: wikipedia, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

While the idea allegedly goes pretty far back, the first modern aerosol can was created in 1926 by Erik Rotheim, a Norwegian chemical engineer.


Molotov Cocktails (Finland)

molotov cocktailsSource: wikipedia, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

Who would’ve thought that the peace loving Fins would have come up with the poor man’s grenade? Well, the Soviet Union learned this lesson the hard way when they tried to invade in 1939.


Dynamite (Sweden, Germany)

dynamiteSource: wikipedia, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

It seems as though the Nordic countries are bit more violent than is commonly thought. Alfred Nobel, the famous Swedish engineer actually invented dynamite in Germany in 1867.


Color Television (Scotland)

color televisionSource: wikipedia, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

Scottish inventor John Baird made the world’s first color transmission on July 3, 1928.


Fire fighting foam (Russia)

fire fightingSource: wikipedia, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

It took a while but we finally found something that Russia is not stereotypically known for like shooting, bombing, tanks, fighter planes, or destructive machinery in general. Fire-fighting foam was invented by Russian engineer and chemist Aleksandr Loran in 1902.


Speed Enforcement Camera (Netherlands)

speed enforcementSource: wikipedia, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

Next time you get a speeding ticket you can thank Dutch company Gatsometer BV for supplying your friendly neighborhood police department with the most frustrating piece of gadgetry ever created.


High Fructose Corn Syrup (Japan)

cornSource: wikipedia, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

You thought it was the United States right? Well similar to Russia, it took us a while to find something that wasn’t stereotypically Japanese (ie not instant noodles or fast trains) but it’s true, Japan is responsible for one of the most ubiquitous sweeteners in the world.


USB Flash Drives (Israel)

usb flash driveSource: wikipedia, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

Amir Ban, Dov Moran and Oron Ogdan of the Israeli company M-Systems developed USB flash drives in 1999.