We live in extraordinary times. It takes a mere half-day to fly half-way across the Earth, our smartphones are supercomputers 60,000 times lighter than the original computers, and we have the highest agricultural production and life spans in human history. We owe these great advancements to a handful of great minds – scientists, inventors, and tinkerers who invented the products and machines our modern world is built on. Without these inventors and their remarkable inventions, we may still be going to sleep when the sun sets and be stuck in the dark ages of technology when Snapchat and Twitter did not exist.
In this list, we delve into the most important and crucial recent human inventions, giving the back story of each invention and their importance in pushing humanity forward. Can you guess which inventions will show up? From methods to sanitize food and increase its safety to a toxic gas which helped form the basis for international commerce to an invention which sparked a sexual revolution and liberated millions of people, each of these creations has touched our world in a profound way. Check them out on our list of the 25 Remarkable Inventions That Have Changed Everything.
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Though cyanide seems to be a rather glum way to start our list, the chemical has played a major role in human history. While its gaseous form has caused the deaths of millions, cyanide is the principal factor in extracting gold and silver from ore. Since the global economy was pegged to the gold standard, cyanide was thus a major factor in the development of international commerce.
Nobody can doubt that the invention of the “metal bird” has had one of the greatest impacts on human history. Drastically reducing the time required to transport goods or people, the airplane was invented by the Wright brothers who built on the work of previous inventors such as George Cayley and Otto Lilienthal. It was readily accepted by greater society, and the golden age of aviation began.
Before 1846, it was difficult to determine between modern surgical procedures and excruciating torture experiments. Anesthetics have been used for thousands of years, though early forms were less sophisticated versions such as alcohol or mandrake extract. The modern-day invention of anesthesia in the form of nitrous oxide and ether has allowed doctors to wholly sedate patients while performing medical procedures. (Bonus fact: It’s said cocaine was the first effective local form of anesthesia after its use in an eye surgery in 1884.)
The origins of radio history are complex, with many claiming Guglielmo Marconi was its inventor and others claiming it was Nikola Tesla. Either way, these two men built on the work of many notable predecessors to successfully transmit information through waves. While this may seem commonplace today, imagine trying to tell someone in 1896 that you could invisibly send information through the air. They might have though you were demented or possessed!
The telephone has been one of the most important inventions in our modern world. As with all major inventions, its inventor and contributors are highly debated, but what’s clear is that the U.S. patent office issued the first telephone patent to Alexander Graham Bell in 1876. This patent formed the basis for future research and development of the electronic transmission of sound across long distances.