InventionsFrom the wheel to the rocket and all the remarkable inventions in between, the following text lists some highlights from the world of inventions.  Although not discussed chronologically, these facts are loosely organized by type.

Cuneiform is the earliest form of writing.  It was invented by the Sumerians between 4000 and 3000 B.C.

The chariot, or horse-drawn cart, was invented in Mesopotamia c.2000 B.C.  They used spoked wheels instead of the older planked ones making for a faster trip.

China saw the invention of the saddle around the year 25 A.D. which made horseback riding far more comfortable.

1859 saw the invention of the internal combustion engine by Etienne Lenoir.  This Frenchman’s model was too costly to run, however.  Nikolaus Otto of Germany invented a version in 1878 that was far more practical.

Eli Otis invented the elevator in 1954 in America.

Considered to be a Turkish invention, the merry-go-round’s exact origins are difficult to trace.  Researchers seem to agree that 1620 was the year of its debut.

French paper makers invented the hot air balloon in 1783.  Joseph and Etienne Montgolfier have the credit of this invention.  Their balloon rose 6,000 feet in the air. 

Kirkpatrick Macmillan invented the bicycle in 1838.  He called it a velocipede. 

1803 saw the invention of the railroad locomotive by Richard Trevithick, an English engineer.  He named it “Catch-Me-Who-Can.”

The earliest bathtub is dated from 3100 B.C. from Gaza.  However, bathtubs did not become common in the area until 2500 B.C.

Showers are traced to Egypt and Greece, however, and date from c.1350 B.C.

Frederick Walton, an inventor from England, invented linoleum in 1860.  Kitchen floors owe him a great debt!

The game of chess is believed to have been invented in India around 600. 

Hungarian professor Erno Rubik invented the Rubik’s Cube in 1980.

The hypodermic syringe was invented in 1853 by Charles Pravaz, a French surgeon. 

The practice of embalming dates from c.2300 in Egypt.  Although they eventually came to master the art of mummifying, their first attempts were achieved with plaster and resin.

Thomas Edison invented the phonograph record player in 1877.  He followed up on this terrific invention with the incandescent electric lamp in 1879.

Gas streetlighting was invented in England in by the National Light and Heat Company.

The American Traffic Signal Light Company invented the traffic light in 1914.

Napalm was invented in Syria in 674 by a Syrian architect named Kallenikos.

Gunpowder was invented by the Chinese in c.950.  It comprised large inclusions of charcoal to burn.

The Chinese also have the credit of inventing the cannon in 1280.

The Welsh invented the longbow between 1250 and 1300.  Being more powerful and easy to load, it replaced the short bow. 

Called the “Woman Edison,” Margaret Knight invented the paper bag machine in 1879.  Grocery stores owe her a great debt.

James Ritty invented the first cash register in Dayton, Ohio in 1879.

Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in 1876.