A Guide to Inventions and Discoveries From Adrenaline to the Zipper

Updated August 5, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

From Adrenaline to the Zipper

See also Famous Firsts in Aviation, Nobel Prizes.

(isolation of) John Jacob Abel, U.S., 1897.
Aerosol can:
Erik Rotheim, Norway, 1926.
Air brake:
George Westinghouse, U.S., 1868.
Air conditioning:
Willis Carrier, U.S., 1911.
(non-rigid) Henri Giffard, France, 1852; (rigid) Ferdinand von Zeppelin, Germany, 1900.
Aluminum manufacture:
(by electrolytic action) Charles M. Hall, U.S., 1866.
Anatomy, human:
(De fabrica corporis humani, an illustrated systematic study of the human body) Andreas Vesalius, Belgium, 1543; (comparative: parts of an organism are correlated to the functioning whole) Georges Cuvier, France, 1799–1805.
(first use of anesthetic—ether—on humans) Crawford W. Long, U.S., 1842.
(first demonstration of antibiotic effect) Louis Pasteur, Jules-François Joubert, France, 1887; (discovery of penicillin, first modern antibiotic) Alexander Fleming, Scotland, 1928; (penicillin's infection-fighting properties) Howard Florey, Ernst Chain, England, 1940.
(surgery) Joseph Lister, England, 1867.
Antitoxin, diphtheria:
Emil von Behring, Germany, 1890.
Appliances, electric:
(fan) Schuyler Wheeler, U.S., 1882; (flatiron) Henry W. Seely, U.S., 1882; (stove) Hadaway, U.S., 1896; (washing machine) Alva Fisher, U.S., 1906.
Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Emile Gagnan, France, 1943.
Dr. Felix Hoffman, Germany, 1899.
Astronomical calculator:
The Antikythera device, Greece, first century B.C.. Found off island of Antikythera in 1900.
(nuclear model of) Ernest Rutherford, England, 1911.
Atomic structure:
(formulated nuclear model of atom, Rutherford model) Ernest Rutherford, England, 1911; (proposed current concept of atomic structure, the Bohr model) Niels Bohr, Denmark, 1913.
Atomic theory:
(ancient) Leucippus, Democritus, Greece, c. 500 B.C.; Lucretius, Rome c.100 B.C.; (modern) John Dalton, England, 1808.
(first with internal combustion engine, 250 rpm) Karl Benz, Germany, 1885; (first with practical high-speed internal combustion engine, 900 rpm) Gottlieb Daimler, Germany, 1885; (first true automobile, not carriage with motor) René Panhard, Emile Lavassor, France, 1891; (carburetor, spray) Charles E. Duryea, U.S., 1892.
(for aircraft) Elmer A. Sperry, U.S., c.1910, first successful test, 1912, in a Curtiss flying boat.
Avogadro's law:
(equal volumes of all gases at the same temperature and pressure contain equal number of molecules) Amedeo Avogadro, Italy, 1811.
Anton van Leeuwenhoek, The Netherlands, 1683.
Balloon, hot-air:
Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier, France, 1783.
Barbed wire:
(most popular) Joseph E. Glidden, U.S., 1873.
Bar codes (computer-scanned binary signal code):
(retail trade use) Monarch Marking, U.S. 1970; (industrial use) Plessey Telecommunications, England, 1970.
Evangelista Torricelli, Italy, 1643.
Karl D. von Sauerbronn, 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. Gamow, U.S., 1948; (cosmic microwave background radiation discovered, confirms theory) Arno A. Penzias and Robert W. Wilson, U.S., 1965.
Blood, circulation of:
William Harvey, England, 1628.
Boyle's law:
(relation between pressure and volume in gases) Robert Boyle, Ireland, 1662.
Louis Braille, France, 1829.
(suspension, iron chains) James Finley, Pa., 1800; (wire suspension) Marc Seguin, Lyons, 1825; (truss) Ithiel Town, U.S., 1820.
(conical) Claude Minié, France, 1849.
Calculating machine:
(logarithms: made multiplying easier and thus calculators practical) John Napier, Scotland, 1614; (slide rule) William Oughtred, England, 1632; (digital calculator) Blaise Pascal, 1642; (multiplication machine) Gottfried Leibniz, Germany, 1671; (important 19th-century contributors to modern machine) Frank S. Baldwin, Jay R. Monroe, Dorr E. Felt, W. T. Ohdner, William Burroughs, all U.S.; (“analytical engine” design, included concepts of programming, taping) Charles Babbage, England, 1835.
Isaac Newton, England, 1669; (differential calculus) Gottfried Leibniz, Germany, 1684.
(hand-held) George Eastman, U.S., 1888; (Polaroid Land) Edwin Land, U.S., 1948.
“Canals” of Mars:
Giovanni Schiaparelli, Italy, 1877.
Carpet sweeper:
Melville R. Bissell, U.S., 1876.
Car radio:
William Lear, Elmer Wavering, U.S., 1929, manufactured by Galvin Manufacturing Co., “Motorola.”
(word used to describe microscopic examination of cork) Robert Hooke, England, 1665; (theory: cells are common structural and functional unit of all living organisms) Theodor Schwann, Matthias Schleiden, 1838–1839.
Cement, Portland:
Joseph Aspdin, England, 1824.
Chewing gum:
(spruce-based) John Curtis, U.S., 1848; (chicle-based) Thomas Adams, U.S., 1870.
Cholera bacterium:
Robert Koch, Germany, 1883.
Circuit, integrated:
(theoretical) G.W.A. Dummer, England, 1952; (phase-shift oscillator) Jack S. Kilby, Texas Instruments, U.S., 1959.
Classification of plants:
(first modern, based on comparative study of forms) Andrea Cesalpino, Italy, 1583; (classification of plants and animals by genera and species) Carolus Linnaeus, Sweden, 1737–1753.
Clock, pendulum:
Christian Huygens, The Netherlands, 1656.
John Pemberton, U.S., 1886.
(nature of) Antoine Lavoisier, France, 1777.
Compact disk:
RCA, U.S., 1972.
(first design of analytical engine) Charles Babbage, 1830s; (ENIAC, Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator, first all-electronic, completed) John Presper Eckert, Jr., John Mauchly, U.S., 1945; (dedicated at University of Pennsylvania) 1946; (UNIVAC, Universal Automatic Computer, handled both numeric and alphabetic data) 1951; (personal computer) Steve Wozniak, U.S., 1976.
(reinforced) Joseph Monier, France, 1877.
Condensed milk:
Gail Borden, U.S., 1853.
Conditioned reflex:
Ivan Pavlov, Russia, c.1910.
Conservation of electric charge:
(the total electric charge of the universe or any closed system is constant) Benjamin Franklin, U.S., 1751–1754.
Contagion theory:
(infectious diseases caused by living agent transmitted from person to person) Girolamo Fracastoro, Italy, 1546.
Continental drift theory:
(geographer who pieced together continents into a single landmass on maps) Antonio Snider-Pellegrini, France, 1858; (first proposed in lecture) Frank Taylor, U.S. 1912; (first comprehensive detailed theory) Alfred Wegener, Germany, 1912.
Contraceptive, oral:
Gregory Pincus, Min Chuch Chang, John Rock, Carl Djerassi, U.S., 1951.
Converter, Bessemer:
William Kelly, U.S., 1851.
Egypt, c. 4000 B.C.
Cosmic string theory:
(first postulated) Thomas Kibble, UK, 1976.
Cotton gin:
Eli Whitney, U.S., 1793.
China, c. 300 B.C.
Ernest O. Lawrence, U.S., 1931.
Dr. William Bennett Kouwenhoven, U.S., 1932; (implantable) M. Stephen Heilman, MD, Dr. Alois Langer, Morton Mower, MD, Michel Mirowski, MD, 1980.
(heavy hydrogen) Harold Urey, U.S., 1931.
(chemicals in treatment of) crusaded by Philippus Paracelsus, 1527–1541; (germ theory) Louis Pasteur, France, 1862–1877.
(deoxyribonucleic acid) Friedrich Meischer, Germany, 1869; (determination of double-helical structure) F. H. Crick, England and James D. Watson, U.S., 1953.
(aniline, start of synthetic dye industry) William H. Perkin, England, 1856.
Alfred Nobel, Sweden, 1867.
Electric cooking utensil:
(first) patented by St. George Lane-Fox, England, 1874.
Electric generator (dynamo):
(laboratory model) Michael Faraday, England, 1832; Joseph Henry, U.S., c.1832; (hand-driven model) Hippolyte Pixii, France, 1833; (alternating-current generator) Nikola Tesla, U.S., 1892.
Electric lamp:
(arc lamp) Sir Humphrey Davy, England, 1801; (fluorescent lamp) A.E. Becquerel, France, 1867; (incandescent lamp) Sir Joseph Swann, England, Thomas A. Edison, U.S., contemporaneously, 1870s; (carbon arc street lamp) Charles F. Brush, U.S., 1879; (first widely marketed incandescent lamp) Thomas A. Edison, U.S., 1879; (mercury vapor lamp) Peter Cooper Hewitt, U.S., 1903; (neon lamp) Georges Claude, France, 1911; (tungsten filament) Irving Langmuir, U.S., 1915.
Thomas Alva Edison
Thomas Alva Edison (1847–1931)
Library of Congress
Demonstrated by Augustus Waller, Switzerland, 1887; (first practical device for recording activity of heart) Willem Einthoven, 1903, Netherlands.
William Sturgeon, England, 1823.
Sir Joseph J. Thompson, England, 1897.
Electronic mail:
Ray Tomlinson, U.S., 1972.
Elevator, passenger:
(safety device permitting use by passengers) Elisha G. Otis, U.S., 1852; (elevator utilizing safety device) 1857.
E = mc2:
(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 Wankel, Germany, 1956.
(organic) Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, France, 1809; (by natural selection) Charles Darwin, England, 1859.
Exclusion principle:
(no two electrons in an atom can occupy the same energy level) Wolfgang Pauli, Germany, 1925.
Expanding universe theory:
(first proposed) George LeMaitre, Belgium, 1927; (discovered first direct evidence that the universe is expanding) Edwin P. Hubble, U.S., 1929; (Hubble constant: a measure of the rate at which the universe is expanding) Edwin P. Hubble, U.S., 1929.
Falling bodies, law of:
Galileo Galilei, Italy, 1590.
(microorganisms as cause of) Louis Pasteur, France, c.1860.
Fiber optics:
Narinder Kapany, England, 1955.
Fibers, man-made:
(nitrocellulose fibers treated to change flammable nitrocellulose to harmless cellulose, precursor of rayon) Sir Joseph Swann, England, 1883; (rayon) Count Hilaire de Chardonnet, France, 1889; (Celanese) Henry and Camille Dreyfuss, U.S., England, 1921; (research on polyesters and polyamides, basis for modern man-made fibers) U.S., England, Germany, 1930s; (nylon) Wallace H. Carothers, U.S., 1935.
Frozen food:
Clarence Birdseye, U.S., 1924.
Gene transfer:
(recombinant DNA organism) Herbert Boyer, Stanley Cohen, U.S., 1973; (human) Steven Rosenberg, R. Michael Blaese, W. French Anderson, U.S., 1989.
Geometry, elements of:
Euclid, Alexandria, Egypt, c. 300 B.C.; (analytic) René Descartes, France; and Pierre de Fermat, Switzerland, 1637.
Gravitation, law of:
Sir Isaac Newton, England, c.1665 (published 1687).
China, c.700.
Elmer A. Sperry, U.S., 1905.
Jean Léon Foucault, France, 1852.
Halley's Comet:
Edmund Halley, England, 1705.
Heart implanted in human, permanent artificial:
Dr. Robert Jarvik, U.S., 1982.
Heart, temporary artificial:
Willem Kolff, Netherlands, U.S., 1957.
(double rotor) Heinrich Focke, Germany, 1936; (single rotor) Igor Sikorsky, U.S., 1939.
Helium first observed on sun:
Sir Joseph Lockyer, England, 1868.
Heredity, laws of:
Gregor Mendel, Austria, 1865.
Dennis Gabor, England, 1947.
Home videotape systems (VCR):
(Betamax) Sony, Japan, 1975; (VHS) Matsushita, Japan, 1975.
Ice age theory:
Louis Agassiz, Swiss-American, 1840.
Induction, electric:
Joseph Henry, U.S., 1828.
(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.
Intelligence testing:
Alfred Binet, Theodore Simon, France, 1905.
Alick Isaacs, England, Jean Lindemann, Switzerland, 1957.
(concept of) Frederick Soddy, England, 1912; (stable isotopes) J. J. Thompson, England, 1913; (existence demonstrated by mass spectrography) Francis W. Aston, England, 1919.
Jet propulsion:
(engine) Sir Frank Whittle, England, Hans von Ohain, Germany, 1936; (aircraft) Heinkel He 178, 1939.
Kinetic theory of gases:
(molecules of a gas are in a state of rapid motion) Daniel Bernoulli, Switzerland, 1738.
(theoretical work on) Charles H. Townes, Arthur L. Schawlow, U.S., N. Basov, A. Prokhorov, U.S.S.R., 1958; (first working model) T. H. Maiman, U.S., 1960.
Lawn mower:
Edwin Budding, John Ferrabee, England, 1830–1831.
LCD (liquid crystal display):
Hoffmann-La Roche, Switzerland, 1970.
Lens, bifocal:
Benjamin Franklin, U.S., c.1760.
Leyden jar:
(prototype electrical condenser) Canon E. G. von Kleist of Kamin, Pomerania, 1745; independently evolved by Cunaeus and P. van Musschenbroek, University of Leyden, Holland, 1746, from where name originated.
Light, nature of:
(wave theory) Christian Huygens, The Netherlands, 1678; (electromagnetic theory) James Clerk Maxwell, England, 1873.
Light, speed of:
(theory that light has finite velocity) Olaus Roemer, Denmark, 1675.
Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790)
Lightning rod:
Benjamin Franklin, U.S., 1752.
Lock, cylinder:
Linus Yale, U.S., 1851.
(steam powered) Richard Trevithick, England, 1804; (first practical, due to multiple-fire-tube boiler) George Stephenson, England, 1829; (largest steam-powered) Union Pacific's “Big Boy,” U.S., 1941.
(horizontal, two-beamed) Egypt, c. 4400 B.C.; (Jacquard drawloom, pattern controlled by punch cards) Jacques de Vaucanson, France, 1745, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, 1801; (flying shuttle) John Kay, England, 1733; (power-driven loom) Edmund Cartwright, England, 1785.
Machine gun:
(hand-cranked multibarrel) Richard J. Gatling, U.S., 1862; (practical single barrel, belt-fed) Hiram S. Maxim, Anglo-American, 1884.
Magnet, Earth is:
William Gilbert, England, 1600.
(phosphorus) François Derosne, France, 1816; (friction) Charles Sauria, France, 1831; (safety) J. E. Lundstrom, Sweden, 1855.
Measles vaccine:
John F. Enders, Thomas Peebles, U.S., 1953.
Metric system:
revolutionary government of France, 1790–1801.
Charles Wheatstone, England, 1827.
(compound) Zacharias Janssen, The Netherlands, 1590; (electron) Vladimir Zworykin et al., U.S., Canada, Germany, 1932–1939.
Microwave oven:
Percy Spencer, U.S., 1947.
Motion, laws of:
Isaac Newton, England, 1687.
Motion pictures:
Thomas A. Edison, U.S., 1893.
Motion pictures, sound:
Product of various inventions. First picture with synchronized musical score: Don Juan, 1926; with spoken dialogue: The Jazz Singer, 1927; both Warner Bros.
Motor, electric:
Michael Faraday, England, 1822; (alternating-current) Nikola Tesla, U.S., 1892.
(motor tricycle) Edward Butler, England, 1884; (gasoline-engine motorcycle) Gottlieb Daimler, Germany, 1885.
Moving assembly line:
Henry Ford, U.S., 1913.
(discovery of) Johann Galle, Germany, 1846.
(first transuranic element, synthesis of) Edward M. McMillan, Philip H. Abelson, U.S., 1940.
James Chadwick, England, 1932.
Neutron-induced radiation:
Enrico Fermi et al., Italy, 1934.
Ascanio Sobrero, Italy, 1846.
Nuclear fission:
Otto Hahn, Fritz Strassmann, Germany, 1938.
Nuclear reactor:
Enrico Fermi, Italy, et al., 1942.
Ohm's law:
(relationship between strength of electric current, electromotive force, and circuit resistance) Georg S. Ohm, Germany, 1827.
Oil well:
Edwin L. Drake, U.S., 1859.
(isolation of) Joseph Priestley, England, 1774; Karl Scheele, Sweden, 1773.
Christian Schönbein, Germany, 1839.
(internal) Clarence W. Lillehie, Earl Bakk, U.S., 1957.
China, c.100 A.D.
Louis S. Lenormand, France, 1783.
(fountain) Lewis E. Waterman, U.S., 1884; (ball-point, for marking on rough surfaces) John H. Loud, U.S., 1888; (ball-point, for handwriting) Lazlo Biro, Argentina, 1944.
Periodic law:
(that properties of elements are functions of their atomic weights) Dmitri Mendeleev, Russia, 1869.
Periodic table:
(arrangement of chemical elements based on periodic law) Dmitri Mendeleev, Russia, 1869.
Thomas A. Edison, U.S., 1877.
(first paper negative, first photograph, on metal) Joseph Nicéphore Niepce, France, 1816–1827; (discovery of fixative powers of hyposulfite of soda) Sir John Herschel, England, 1819; (first direct positive image on silver plate, the daguerreotype) Louis Daguerre, 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., 1935.
Photovoltaic effect:
(light falling on certain materials can produce electricity) Edmund Becquerel, France, 1839.
(Hammerklavier) Bartolommeo Cristofori, Italy, 1709; (pianoforte with sustaining and damper pedals) John Broadwood, England, 1873.
Planetary motion, laws of:
Johannes Kepler, Germany, 1609, 1619.
Plant respiration and photosynthesis:
Jan Ingenhousz, Holland, 1779.
(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., 1869; (Bakelite, first completely synthetic plastic) Leo H. Baekeland, U.S., 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., 1958.
Plate tectonics:
Alfred Wegener, Germany, 1912–1915.
Plow, forked:
Mesopotamia, before 3000 B.C.
Plutonium, synthesis of:
Glenn T. Seaborg, Edwin M. McMillan, Arthur C. Wahl, Joseph W. Kennedy, U.S., 1941.
Polio, vaccine:
(experimentally safe dead-virus vaccine) Jonas E. Salk, U.S., 1952; (effective large-scale field trials) 1954; (officially approved) 1955; (safe oral live-virus vaccine developed) Albert B. Sabin, U.S., 1954; (available in the U.S.) 1960.
Carl D. Anderson, U.S., 1932.
Pressure cooker:
(early version) Denis Papin, France, 1679.
(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., 1844; (linotype) Ottmar Mergenthaler, U.S., 1884.
Johann Gutenberg
Johann Gutenberg
(c. 1400–1468)
Probability theory:
René Descartes, France, and Pierre de Fermat, Switzerland, 1654.
Ernest Rutherford, England, 1919.
(antidepressant fluoxetine) Bryan B. Malloy, Scotland, and Klaus K. Schmiegel, U.S., 1972; (released for use in U.S.) Eli Lilly & Company, 1987.
Sigmund Freud, Austria, c.1904.
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 Schrödinger, Germany, 1925.
Jerome Friedman, Henry Kendall, Richard Taylor, U.S., 1967.
Marten Schmidt, U.S., 1963.
Rabies immunization:
Louis Pasteur, France, 1885.
(limited to one-mile range) Christian Hulsmeyer, Germany, 1904; (pulse modulation, used for measuring height of ionosphere) Gregory Breit, Merle Tuve, U.S., 1925; (first practical radar—radio detection and ranging) Sir Robert Watson-Watt, Scotland, 1934–1935.
(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) Marconi, 1901; (vacuum electron tube, basis for radio telephony) Sir John Fleming, England, 1904; (triode amplifying tube) Lee de Forest, U.S., 1906; (regenerative circuit, allowing long-distance sound reception) Edwin H. Armstrong, U.S., 1912; (frequency modulation—FM) Edwin H. Armstrong, U.S., 1933.
(X-rays) Wilhelm K. Roentgen, Germany, 1895; (radioactivity of uranium) Henri Becquerel, France, 1896; (radioactive elements, radium and polonium in uranium ore) Marie Sklodowska-Curie, Pierre Curie, France, 1898; (classification of alpha and beta particle radiation) Pierre Curie, France, 1900; (gamma radiation) Paul-Ulrich Villard, France, 1900.
Radiocarbon dating, carbon-14 method:
(discovered) Willard F. Libby, U.S., 1947; (first demonstrated) U.S., 1950.
Radio signals, extraterrestrial:
first known radio noise signals were received by U.S. engineer, Karl Jansky, originating from the Galactic Center, 1931.
Radio waves:
(cosmic sources, led to radio astronomy) Karl Jansky, U.S., 1932.
(safety, successfully marketed) King Gillette, U.S., 1901; (electric) Jacob Schick, U.S., 1928, 1931.
Cyrus McCormick, U.S., 1834.
Alexander Twining, U.S., James Harrison, Australia, 1850; (first with a compressor device) the Domelse, Chicago, U.S., 1913.
Refrigerator ship:
(first) the Frigorifique, cooling unit designed by Charles Teller, France, 1877.
(special and general theories of) Albert Einstein, Switzerland, Germany, U.S., 1905–1953.
Samuel Colt, U.S., 1835.
Richter scale:
Charles F. Richter, U.S., 1935.
(muzzle-loaded) Italy, Germany, c.1475; (breech-loaded) England, France, Germany, U.S., c.1866; (bolt-action) Paul von Mauser, Germany, 1889; (automatic) John Browning, U.S., 1918.
(liquid-fueled) Robert Goddard, U.S., 1926.
Roller bearing:
(wooden for cartwheel) Germany or France, c.100 B.C.
Rotation of Earth:
Jean Bernard Foucault, France, 1851.
Royal Observatory, Greenwich:
established in 1675 by Charles II of England; John Flamsteed first Astronomer Royal.
(vulcanization process) Charles Goodyear, U.S., 1839.
Constantine Fuhlberg, Ira Remsen, U.S., 1879.
Safety pin:
Walter Hunt, U.S., 1849.
Saturn, ring around:
Christian Huygens, The Netherlands, 1659.
“Scotch” tape:
Richard Drew, U.S., 1929.
Screw propeller:
Sir Francis P. Smith, England, 1836; John Ericsson, England, worked independently of and simultaneously with Smith, 1837.
Seat belt:
(three point) Nils Bohlin, Sweden, 1962.
(first accurate) John Milne, England, 1880.
Sewing machine:
Elias Howe, U.S., 1846; (continuous stitch) Isaac Singer, U.S., 1851.
Solar energy:
First realistic application of solar energy using parabolic solar reflector to drive caloric engine on steam boiler, John Ericsson, U.S., 1860s.
Solar system, universe:
(Sun-centered universe) Nicolaus Copernicus, Warsaw, 1543; (establishment of planetary orbits as elliptical) Johannes Kepler, Germany, 1609; (infinity of universe) Giordano Bruno, Italian monk, 1584.
(heterogeneity of light) Sir Isaac Newton, England, 1665–1666.
Spectrum analysis:
Gustav Kirchhoff, Robert Bunsen, Germany, 1859.
Anton van Leeuwenhoek, The Netherlands, 1683.
(spinning wheel) India, introduced to Europe in Middle Ages; (Saxony wheel, continuous spinning of wool or cotton yarn) England, c.1500–1600; (spinning jenny) James Hargreaves, England, 1764; (spinning frame) Sir Richard Arkwright, England, 1769; (spinning mule, completed mechanization of spinning, permitting production of yarn to keep up with demands of modern looms) Samuel Crompton, England, 1779.
Star catalog:
(first modern) Tycho Brahe, Denmark, 1572.
Steam engine:
(first commercial version based on principles of French physicist Denis Papin) 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., 1804.
Claude de Jouffroy d'Abbans, France, 1783; James Rumsey, U.S., 1787; John Fitch, U.S., 1790; (high-pressure) Oliver Evans, U.S., 1804. All preceded Robert Fulton, U.S., 1807, credited with launching first commercially successful steamship.
René Laënnec, France, 1819.
Sulfa drugs:
(parent compound, para-aminobenzenesulfanomide) Paul Gelmo, Austria, 1908; (antibacterial activity) Gerhard Domagk, Germany, 1935.
(theory) John Bardeen, Leon Cooper, John Scheiffer, U.S., 1957.
Symbolic logic:
George Boule, 1854; (modern) Bertrand Russell, Alfred North Whitehead, England, 1910–1913.
Tank, military:
Sir Ernest Swinton, England, 1914.
Tape recorder:
(magnetic steel tape) Valdemar Poulsen, Denmark, 1899.
DuPont, U.S., 1943.
Samuel F. B. Morse, U.S., 1837.
Samuel F. B. Morse (1791–1872) Library of Congress
Alexander Graham Bell, U.S., 1876.
Hans Lippershey, The Netherlands, 1608; (astronomical) Galileo Galilei, Italy, 1609; (reflecting) Isaac Newton, England, 1668.
(Iconoscope–T.V. camera table) Vladimir Zworykin, U.S., 1923, and also kinescope (cathode ray tube) 1928; (mechanical disk-scanning method) successfully demonstrated by J.L. Baird, Scotland, C.F. Jenkins, U.S., 1926; (first all-electric television image) Philo T. Farnsworth, U.S., 1927; (color, mechanical disk) Baird, 1928; (color, compatible with black and white) George Valensi, France, 1938; (color, sequential rotating filter) Peter Goldmark, U.S., first introduced, 1951; (color, compatible with black and white) commercially introduced in U.S., National Television Systems Committee, 1953.
(first law: energy cannot be created or destroyed, only converted from one form to another) Julius von Mayer, Germany, 1842; James Joule, England, 1843; (second law: heat cannot of 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 Nernst, Germany, 1918.
(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.
Toilet, flush:
Product of Minoan civilization, Crete, c. 2000 B.C. Alleged invention by “Thomas Crapper” is untrue.
Benjamin Holt, U.S., 1900.
Transformer, electric:
William Stanley, U.S., 1885.
John Bardeen, Walter H. Brattain, William B. Shockley, U.S., 1947.
Tuberculosis bacterium:
Robert Koch, Germany, 1882.
Christopher Sholes, Carlos Glidden, U.S., 1867.
Uncertainty principle:
(that position and velocity of an object cannot both be measured exactly, at the same time) Werner Heisenberg, Germany, 1927.
(first planet discovered in recorded history) William Herschel, England, 1781.
Edward Jenner, England, 1796.
Vacuum cleaner:
(manually operated) Ives W. McGaffey, U.S., 1869; (electric) Hubert C. Booth, England, 1901; (upright) J. Murray Spangler, U.S., 1907.
Van Allen (radiation) Belt:
(around Earth) James Van Allen, U.S., 1958.
Video disk:
Philips Co., The Netherlands, 1972.
(hypothesis of disease deficiency) Sir F. G. Hopkins, Casimir Funk, England, 1912; (vitamin A) Elmer V. McCollum, M. Davis, U.S., 1912–1914; (vitamin B) McCollum, U.S., 1915–1916; (thiamin, B1) Casimir Funk, England, 1912; (riboflavin, B2) D. T. Smith, E. G. Hendrick, U.S., 1926; (niacin) Conrad Elvehjem, U.S., 1937; (B6) Paul Gyorgy, U.S., 1934; (vitamin C) C. A. Hoist, T. Froelich, Norway, 1912; (vitamin D) McCollum, U.S., 1922; (folic acid) Lucy Wills, England, 1933.
Voltaic pile:
(forerunner of modern battery, first source of continuous electric current) Alessandro Volta, Italy, 1800.
Europe, 16th and 17th century.
Wassermann test:
(for syphilis) August von Wassermann, Germany, 1906.
(cart, solid wood) Mesopotamia, c.3800–3600 B.C.
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., 1993.
Chester Carlson, U.S., 1938.
Yellow Fever:
(transmission of) Walter Reed, U.S., 1900.
India, c. 600; (absolute zero temperature, cessation of all molecular energy) William Thompson, Lord Kelvin, England, 1848.
W. L. Judson, U.S., 1891.

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