Humanities › History & Culture Inventions and Inventors of the 18th Century Share Flipboard Email Print The White House Historical Association/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain History & Culture Inventions Invention Timelines Famous Inventions Famous Inventors Patents & Trademarks Computers & The Internet American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture Asian History European History Genealogy Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By Mary Bellis Inventions Expert Mary Bellis covered inventions and inventors for ThoughtCo for 18 years. She is known for her independent films and documentaries, including one about Alexander Graham Bell. our editorial process Mary Bellis Updated August 08, 2019 The 18th century, also referred to as the 1700s, marked the beginning of the first Industrial Revolution. Modern manufacturing began with steam engines replacing animal labor. The 18th century also saw the widespread replacement of manual labor by new inventions and machinery. The 18th century was also part of the "The Age of Enlightenment," a historical period characterized by a shift away from traditional religious forms of authority and a move towards science and rational thought. The effects of 18th-century enlightenment led to the American Revolutionary War and the French Revolution. The 18th century also saw the spread of capitalism and the increased availability of printed materials. Here is a timeline of the major inventions of the 18th century. 1701 Jethro Tull invents the seed drill. 1709 Bartolomeo Cristofori invents the piano. 1711 Englishmen John Shore invents the tuning fork. 1712 Thomas Newcomen patents the atmospheric steam engine. 1717 Edmond Halley invents the diving bell. 1722 French C. Hopffer patents the fire extinguisher. 1724 Gabriel Fahrenheit invents the first mercury thermometer. 1733 John Kay invents the flying shuttle. 1745 E.G. von Kleist invents the Leyden jar, the first electrical capacitor. 1752 Benjamin Franklin invents the lightning rod. 1755 Samuel Johnson publishes the first English language dictionary on April 15th after nine years of writing. 1757 John Campbell invents the sextant. 1758 Dolland invents a chromatic lens. 1761 Englishmen John Harrison invents the navigational clock, or marine chronometer, for measuring longitude. 1764 James Hargreaves invents the spinning jenny. 1767 Joseph Priestley invents carbonated water, or soda water. 1768 Richard Arkwright patents the spinning frame. 1769 James Watt invents an improved steam engine. 1774 Georges Louis Lesage patents the electric telegraph. 1775 Alexander Cummings invents the flush toilet.Jacques Perrier invents a steamship. 1776 David Bushnell invents a submarine. 1779 Samuel Crompton invents the spinning mule. 1780 Benjamin Franklin invents bifocal eyeglasses.Gervinus of Germany invents the circular saw. 1783 Louis Sebastien demonstrates the first parachute.Benjamin Hanks patents the self-winding clock.The Montgolfier brothers invent the hot-air balloon.Englishmen Henry Cort invents the steel roller for steel production. 1784 Andrew Meikle invents the threshing machine.Joseph Bramah invents the safety lock. 1785 Edmund Cartwright invents the power loom.Claude Berthollet invents chemical bleaching.Charles Augustus Coulomb invents the torsion balance.Jean Pierre Blanchard invents a working parachute. 1786 John Fitch invents the steamboat. 1789 The guillotine is invented. 1790 The United States issued its first patent to William Pollard of Philadelphia for a machine that roves and spins cotton. 1791 John Barber invents the gas turbine.Early bicycles are invented in Scotland. 1792 William Murdoch invents gas lighting.The first ambulance arrives. 1794 Eli Whitney patents the cotton gin.Welshmen Philip Vaughan invents ball bearings. 1795 Francois Appert invents the preserving jar of food. 1796 Edward Jenner develops the vaccination for smallpox. 1797 Amos Whittemore patents a carding machine.A British inventor named Henry Maudslay invents the first metal or precision lathe. 1798 The first soft drink is invented.Aloys Senefelder invents lithography. 1799 Alessandro Volta invents the battery.Louis Robert invents the Fourdrinier Machine for sheet papermaking.