Life, from the Stone Age to the 21st century, has changed immeasurably. Even in our own lifetimes, we’ve seen transformations that are astounding. Much of this is owed to the branch of science we call Engineering. From medicine to commerce, household to travel, business to pleasure there are various engineering inventions that have truly revolutionized life and paved the way for more to come. Here today we have compiled a list of the 15 greatest engineering inventions of all time that literally laid the foundation of the modern world that we live in today:
15. Sewing Machine
There was a time man had to dress up in leaves and animal skin. Thanks to the Englishman Thomas Saint (1790) man can dress up in proper clothes today. This is one of those inventions that made us truly civilized.
This early engineering invention brightened the world, spread light, and removed the darkness, literally! No need to stress its importance.
This invention has opened the gates for man to explore the universe and acquire knowledge beyond our planet. Sputnik 1 was the first artificial satellite sent to orbit earth by the USSR on 4 October 1957 and ever since then thousands of satellites have made their way to space. Satellites have permanently revolutionalized reconnaissance, global communication, navigation, and astronomy.
This invention was a great fantasy come true, moving in the air, flying. Many accounts have been known of attempts to fly in the early times. Da Vinci’s works include many diagrams referring to this. The first powered flights that were recorded by FAI were by the Wright brothers and this finally opened the gate to this mode of travel.
Now we have aircraft that have traveled Mach 9.6 (that is, 9.6 times faster than the speed of sound) and revolutionized long-distance travel.
The inventor of this device, used to magnify tiny things, is difficult to trace but the time can be dated to the late 16th century.
This invention is, however, responsible for many discoveries in all fields of science, and particularly without the microscope, medical science is like the computer without a CPU.
10. Mobile Phones
The mobile, once a novelty, is now not only very common but almost something an average man cannot live without. The mobile connects on a radio link via different cellular networks. The early models were big and difficult to carry with minimal options like calling and messaging.
But smartphones nowadays are almost mini-computers that can perform almost all the basic functions you need to do in your daily life on the go. An invention that not only changed the communication field but also blended the field of IT with it too.
9. Paper and Printing Press
With the invention of paper, man no longer had to rely on mental capabilities to keep track of data and store information for times and generations to come. The art of making paper and the movable type printing technology can be first accredited to the Chinese of the 2nd century A.D.
The printing press reduced the task of manually writing down things. It is indeed a great literary invention due to which we can today know of the past and get our cheap newspaper daily.
The very common device allows multiple people to have a conversation when they are not in the hearing vicinity of each other. This device for the first time truly revolutionized communication. People far away did not have to rely on manual labor to deliver messages and could listen to each other’s voices.
This paved the way for all of the vast communication technology we find today. The patent for a telephone was granted to Graham Bell back in 1876.
This has truly changed the way how human beings can keep a record of things, capture precious moments and preserve historic events. Dating to the early 19th century, cameras are a household device now and have captured many important and historic events for the generations to come.
This invention is the backbone of modern-day media and popular culture.
A commonplace appliance in all households today, this is the basis of media, communication, and news all around the world. Television has revolutionized entertainment as well as communication.
The first electromechanical television was patented back in 1884 by Paul Gottlieb Nipkow, and today the evolution of tv continues at an unprecedented pace.
This is an invention that has carved such a niche for itself in lives that it is started to be counted as one of the basic necessities of life. Even communication media is now using Internet services. We can call, message, share data even watch television via the internet.
The start of this technology took place in the 1960s when the US government made efforts to communicate via computer networks and created ARPANET which then later evolved into today’s World Wide Web (www).
Wheeled machines used for transportation are generally categorized as automobiles and are generally said to have engines and usually four wheels. The birth of this invention can be dated to 1886 with the Benz Patent-Motorwagen, by German inventor Carl Benz.
As of 2010, the number of automobiles exceeds 1 billion. Travelling has never been the same since this invention and even today we see changes in the automobile industry that are unbelievable.
One of the modern wonders of science and engineering, Computers have opened up unforeseen dynamics and changed each and every field out there. The date of this invention can safely be said to be February 1944 with the advent of the first programmable computer, the Colossus Mark 1 which is said to be bigger than the size of an average room.
Thanks to Moore’s law, today we can have super powerful laptops and tablets in our laps with more features than ever imagined.
2. Steam Engine
It is a thermal engine in which steam acts as the fluid that does the mechanical work. Attempts at making such an engine can be traced to 2000 years ago but a major contribution to power generation happened in the 18th century.
It has been so useful that as of now steam turbines generate about 90% of the electric power in the US. Another great application of such an engine has been the train – a workhorse of mass transportation.
By general consensus worldwide, this is the greatest engineering invention of all time. This is the invention that made the world move forward, literally!
Honorable Mention – Compass
The compass was first invented back in the 2nd century BC, and is one of the most basic and very important means of navigation, and the main reason behind many successful historic voyages. Without honoring this important invention we simply cannot conclude things!
Which of the above-mentioned 15 greatest engineering inventions of all time has fascinated you the most? Let us know in the comments section below!