Humanities › History & Culture Important Innovations and Inventions, Past and Present Share Flipboard Email Print 1960s Jukebox. Getty Images/Michael Ochs Archives / Stringer History & Culture Inventions Famous Inventions Famous Inventors Patents & Trademarks Invention Timelines 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 21, 2019 There are endless famous (and not so famous) inventions worthy of curiosity and wonder. Of course, the lists below are by no means complete, but do provide a 'greatest hits' list of inventions, both past and present, that have captured the imaginations and propelled us forward. 01 of 10 Inventions Beginning With "A" French aeronauts Jacques Charles (1746-1823) and Noel Robert made the first manned (free flight) ascent in a hydrogen balloon, designed by Charles, a physics professor, and constructed by Robert and his brother Jean. It took off in front of a crowd of 400,000, landing two hours later at Nesle-la-Vallee, over 27 miles away. Print Collector / Getty Images Adhesives/Glue Around 1750, the first glue patent was issued in Britain for a glue made from fish. Adhesives/Tape Scotch Tape or cellophane tape was invented in 1930 by banjo playing 3M engineer Richard Drew. Aerosol Spray Cans The concept of an aerosol originated as early as 1790. Agriculture Related Learn the history behind agriculture innovations, tractors, cotton gins, reapers, plows, plant patents and more. Aibo Aibo, the robotic pet. Air Bags In 1973, the General Motors research team invented the first car safety air bags that were first offered in the Chevrolet as an option. Air Balloons The early history of air balloons. Air Brakes George Westinghouse invented air brakes in 1868. Air Conditioning Willis Carrier brought us the comfort zone with air conditioning. Air Ships The history behind balloons, blimps, dirigibles and zeppelins. Airplane/Aviation Wilbur and Orville Wright invented the manned engined airplane, which they patented as a "flying machine." Learn about other aviation related innovations. Alcoholic Beverages Evidence of intentionally fermented beverages exist in the form of beer jugs dated as early as the Neolithic period. Alternating Current Charles Proteus Steinmetz developed theories on alternating current that allowed for the rapid expansion of the electric power industry. Alternative Energy Related A list of articles related to the invention and the history of alternative, earth-friendly energy sources. Altimeter An instrument which measures vertical distance with respect to a reference level. Aluminum Foil - Aluminum Manufacturing Process The first mass-produced and widely used metal foil was made from tin. Tin foil was replaced by aluminum foil in 1910. Charles Martin Hall discovered the electrolytic method of producing aluminum cheaply and brought the metal into wide commercial use. Ambulance The concept of ambulance service started in Europe with the Knights of St. John. Anemometer In 1450, Leon Battista Alberti, the Italian artist and architect, invented the first mechanical anemometer. The anemometer is a device that measures wind speed. Answering Machines The history of answering machines. Antibody Labeling Agents - Antigen and Antibody Joseph Burckhalter and Robert Seiwald invented the first practical and patented antibody labeling agent. Antiseptics The history of antiseptics and key figures behind the invention. Apple Computers The Apple Lisa was the first home computer with a GUI or graphical user interface. Learn about the history of the Apple Macintosh, one of the most famous Apple home computers. Aqualung The history of scuba or diving equipment. Arc Transmitter Danish engineer Valdemar Poulsen invented the arc transmitter in 1902. The arc transmitter, contrary to all previous types of radio transmitters in history, generated continuous radio waves. Archimedes Screw Invented by the ancient Greek scientist and mathematician Archimedes, an archimedes screw is a machine for raising water. Armillary Sphere Miniature representations of the earth, moon and planets in the form of terrestrial globes, terrain models and armillary spheres have a long history. Artificial Heart Willem Kolff invented both the first artificial heart and the first artificial kidney dialysis machine. Asphalt The history of roads, road building and asphalt. Aspirin In 1829, scientists discovered that it was the compound called salicin in willow plants that was responsible for pain relief. But it was father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, who first discovered the pain relieving properties of the willow plant in the 5th century B.C. Assembly Line Eli Olds invented the basic concept of the assembly line and Henry Ford improved upon it. AstroTurf A patent for synthetic grass-like playing surfaces or Astroturf was issued to Wright and Faria of Monsanto Industries. Atari Computers The history of the entertaining video game console. ATM - Automatic Teller Machines The history of automated teller machines (ATM). Atomic Bomb In 1939, Einstein and several other scientists told Roosevelt of efforts in Nazi Germany to build an atomic bomb. It was shortly thereafter that the United States Government began the Manhattan Project, whose research produced the first atomic bomb. Atomic Clock The US primary time and frequency standard is a cesium fountain atomic clock developed at the NIST laboratories. Audio Tape Recording Marvin Camras invented the method and means of magnetic recording. Auto-Tune Dr Andy Hildebrand is the inventor of the voice pitch-correcting software called Auto-Tune. Automated Electrified Monorail Systems Ronald Riley invented the automated electrified monorail system. Automatic Doors Dee Horton and Lew Hewitt invented the sliding automatic door in 1954. Automobile The history of the automobile spans over one hundred years. View timelines of automotive development and discover who made the first gasoline powered car. 02 of 10 Famous Inventions Beginning With the Letter "B" Bakelite buttons. Getty Images/ David McGlynn Baby Carriage The history of the baby carriage or stroller. Bakelite Leo Hendrik Baekeland patented a "Method of Making Insoluble Products of Phenol and Formaldehyde." Setting out to make an insulator, he invented the first true plastic and transformed the world. Ball Point Pens The ball-point pen was invented by Ladislo Biro in 1938. A patent battle erupted; learn how Parker and Bic won the war. Ballistic Missiles A ballistic missile can be any of a variety of weapons systems that deliver explosive warheads to their targets by means of rocket propulsion. Balloons and Blimps (Airships) The history and patents behind airships, balloons, blimps, dirigibles and zeppelins. Balloons (Toys) The first rubber balloons were made in 1824 by Professor Michael Faraday for use in his experiments with hydrogen. Band-Aids Band-Aid® is the trademarked name for the 1920 invention belonging to Earle Dickson. Bar Codes The first patents for bar code were issued to Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver on October 7, 1952. Barbecue In America, barbecue (or BBQ) originated in the late 1800's during Western cattle drives. Barbed Wire Don't fence me in -- all about the invention, development, and use of barbed wire. Barbie Dolls The Barbie doll was invented in 1959 by Ruth Handler. Barometer The barometer was invented by Evangelista Torricelli in 1643. Bartholdi Fountain The Bartholdi Fountain was designed by the same inventor of the Statue of Liberty. Baseball and Baseball Equipment The evolution of baseball bats changed the sport entirely; modern baseball was invented by Alexander Cartwright. BASIC (Code) BASIC (Beginner's All Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) was invented in 1964 by John Kemeny and Tom Kurtz. Basketball James Naismith invented and named the game of basketball in 1891. Bathrooms (and related inventions) The history of ancient and modern plumbing from around the world—baths, toilets, water closets and sewage systems. Batteries Batteries were invented in 1800 by Alssandro Volta. Beauty (and related inventions) The history of hair dryers, ironing curlers and other beauty appliances. The history of cosmetics and hair products. Beds Yes, even beds have a rich history of invention. Learn more about waterbeds, Murphy beds, and other kinds of beds. Beer We can trace the beginning of beer far back beyond the dawn of recorded time. Apparently, beer was the first alcoholic beverage known to civilization. Bells Bells may be categorized as idiophones, instruments sounding by the vibration of resonant solid material, and more broadly as percussion instruments." Beverages The history and origins of beverages and the equipment used to make them. Blenders Stephen Poplawski invented the kitchen blender. Bic Pens Learn about the history of Bic pens and other writing instruments. Bicycles The history of the foot-powered riding machine. Bifocals Benjamin Franklin is credited with creating the first pair of eyeglasses that help both near- and far-sighted people see better. Bikini The bikini was invented in 1946 and named after the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, the site of the first atomic bomb testing. The designers of the bikini were two Frenchmen named Jacques Heim and Louis Reard. BINGO "Bingo" originated from a game called Beano. Biofilters and Biofiltration The first proposition to use biological methods to treat odorous compounds came as early as 1923. Biometric and Related Technology Biometrics technology is used to uniquely identify or verify an individual through characteristics of the human body. Blood Banks Dr. Charles Richard Drew was the first person to develop the blood bank. Blue Jeans Non other than Levi Strauss invented blue jeans. Boardgames and Cards Puzzle over the history of board games and other brain teasers. Body Armor and Bullet-proof Vests Throughout recorded history, people have used various types of materials as body armor to protect themselves from injury in combat and other dangerous situations. Boilers George Babcock and Steven Wilcox co-invented the water tube steam boiler, a safer and more efficient boiler. Boomerang The history of the boomerang. Bourdon Tube Pressure Guage In 1849, the Bourdon tube pressure gauge was patented by Eugene Bourdon. Bra It's 1913 and Mary Phelps Jacob's corset was not the undergarment to wear under her new shear evening gown. Braces (Dental) The history of dental braces or the science of Orthodontics is complex, many different patents helped to create braces as we know them today. Braille Louis Braille invented braille printing. Brush (Hair) Brushes were used as early as 2,500,000 years ago. Bubble Gum The invention and history of chewing gum, bubble gum, gum wrappers, gum tins and bubble gum machines. Bulldozer It is not certain who invented the first bulldozer, however, the bulldozer blade was in use before the invention of any tractor. Bunsen Burners As an inventor, Robert Bunsen developed several methods of analyzing gases, however, he is best known for his invention of the Bunsen burner. Butterick (Dress Patterns) Ebenezer Butterick, together with his wife Ellen Augusta Pollard Butterick, invented the tissue paper dress pattern. 03 of 10 Inventions Beginning With "C" Daguerreotypes, like this one of Boulevard du Temple, Paris, were among the early forms of photography. Louis Daguerre circa 1838/39 Calendars and Clocks Learn about the invention of early clocks, calendars, the quartz watch, timekeeping devices and the science of time. Calculators Timelines covering calculator patents since 1917.Learn about the history of Texas Instruments, the origins of the electronic calculator, the hand-held calculator and more. Cameras and Photography The history of the camera, including Camera Obscura, photography, the significant processes of photography, and who invented the polaroid and photographic film. Cans and Can Openers A timeline of tin cans - learn how cans are made, filled and recycled. The history of the first can opener. Canadian Inventions Canadian inventors have patented more than one million inventions. Candy The delectable history of candy. Carborundum Edward Goodrich Acheson invented carborundum. Carborundum is the hardest man-made surface and was essential to ushering in the industrial age. Card Games The history of playing cards and card games like Uno. CARDIAC PACEMAKER Wilson Greatbatch invented an implantable cardiac pacemaker. Carmex Carmex is a salve for chapped lips and cold sores invented in 1936. Cars The history of the automobile covers over one hundred years. Learn about the patents and famous car models, view timelines, read about the first gasoline powered car, or about electric vehicles. Carousels The interesting history behind the carousel and other circus and theme park innovations. Cash Registers James Ritty invented what was nicknamed the "Incorruptible Cashier" or the cash register. Cassette Tapes In 1963, the Philips company became the first company to demonstrate the compact audio cassette. Cat Eyes Percy Shaw patented his road-safety invention called cat eyes, in 1934 when he was only 23. Catheter Thomas Fogarty invented the embolectomy balloon catheter. Betty Rozier and Lisa Vallino co-invented the intravenous catheter shield. Ingemar Henry Lundquist invented the over the wire balloon catheter that is used in the majority of angioplasty procedures in the world. Cathode Ray Tube Electronic television is based on the invention of the cathode ray tube, which is the picture tube found in modern television sets. CAT Scans Robert Ledley invented "diagnostic X-Ray systems", known as CAT-Scans. CCD George Smith and Willard Boyle received a patent for Charge-Coupled Devices or CCDs. Cell (Mobile) Phones How the FCC slowed the progress of a cellular phone system. Cellophane Film Cellophane film was invented by Jacques Brandenberger in 1908. Cellophane ® is the registered trademark of Innovia Films Ltd of Cumbria UK. Celsius Thermometer Swedish astronomer, Anders Celsius invented the centigrade scale and celsius thermometer. Census In 1790, the First Census of the United States was taken. Chain Saws The history behind the humble chain saw. Champagne French monks were the first to bottle a sparkling form of wine called Champagne, named after the Champagne region of France. Chapstick The history of Chapstick and its inventor. Cheerleading (Pompoms) Pompoms and the history of cheerleading innovations. Cheese in a Can The history of "Cheese in a Can". Cheese Slicer The cheese-slicer is a Norwegian invention. Cheesecake and Cream Cheese Cheesecake is believed to have originated in ancient Greece. Chewing Gum The history of chewing gum and bubble gum. Chia Pets Animal figurines have been designed which have live herbs that simulate the fur or hair of a particular animal. Chinese Inventions Learn about the kite, chopsticks, umbrellas, gunpowder, firecrackers, the steelyard, abacus, cloisonné, ceramics, papermaking, and more. Chocolate The history behind chocolate, chocolate bars and chocolate chip cookies. Christmas Related The history of candy canes, Christmas lights and Christmas trees. Christmas Lights In 1882, the first Christmas tree was lit by the use of electricity. Cigarettes This history of tobacco related products. Clarinet The clarinet evolved from an earlier instrument called the chalumeau, the first true single reed instrument. Clermont (Steamboat) Robert Fulton's steamboat, the Clermont, became the first successful steam-propelled vessel. Cloning The history of reproductive and therapeutic. Closed Captioning Television closed captions are captions that are hidden in the television video signal, invisible without a special decoder. Clothes and Clothing Related The history of what we wear: blue jeans, the bikini, the tuxedo, fabrics, fasteners, and more. Coat Hangers Today’s wire coat hanger was inspired by a clothes hook patented in 1869 by O. A. North. Coca-Cola "Coca-Cola" was invented by Dr. John Pemberton in 1886. Cochlear Implants (the Bionic Ear) The cochlear implant is a prosthetic replacement for the inner ear or cochlea. Coffee The history of the cultivation of coffee and innovations in brewing methods. Cold Fusion Energy Viktor Schauberger was the "father of cold fusion energy" and the designer of the first non-energy consuming "flying disc". Color Television Color television was by no means a new idea, a German patent in 1904 contained the earliest proposal—RCA color television system—Living Color. Colt Revolver Samuel Colt invented the first revolver aptly named the Colt revolver. Combustion Engine (Car) History of the internal combustion engine. Combustion Engine (Diesel) Rudolf Diesel was the father of the "diesel-fueled" internal combustion engine or diesel engine. Comic Books The history of comics. Communications and related History, timeline, and innovations. Compact Discs James Russell invented the compact disc in 1965. Russell was granted a total of 22 patents for various elements of his system. Compass The history of the magnetic compass. Computers An index to famous persons in the computer business, over twenty-six fully illustrated features cover the history of computers from 1936 until today. Computers (Apple) On April Fool's Day, 1976, Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs released the Apple I computer and started Apple Computers. Computer Chess Dietrich Prinz wrote the original chess playing program for a general purpose computer. Computer Game This history is more fun than a joy stick. Steve Russell invented the computer game called "SpaceWar." Nolan Bushnell invented the game called "Pong." Computer Keyboard The invention of the modern computer keyboard began with the invention of the typewriter. Computer Peripherals Compact disks, the computer mouse, computer memory, disk drives, printers and other peripherals are discussed. Computer Printers The history of printers used with computers. Computerized Banking ERMA (Electronic Recording Method of Accounting) began as a project for the Bank of America in an effort to computerize the banking industry. Concrete and Cement Concrete was invented by Joseph Monier. Construction Materials The history of construction and building materials. Contacts and Corrective Lenses The history of corrective lenses—from the oldest known glass lens to modern contact lenses. Cookies and Candy Enjoy some snack food history and learn how the Fig Newton got named, how cotton candy works, and all about chocolate-chip cookies. Cordite Sir James Dewar was the co-inventor of cordite, a smokeless gunpowder. Corkscrews This illustrated history of cork extractors explains the origins of this humble invention, found in households all over the world. Corn Flakes The kooky history of Corn Flakes and other breakfast cereals. Cortisone Percy Lavon Julian synthesized the medicines physostigmine for glaucoma and cortisone. Lewis Sarett invented a synthetic version of the hormone cortisone. Cosmetics The history of cosmetics and hair products. Cotton Gin Eli Whitney patented the cotton gin on March 14, 1794. The cotton gin is a machine that separates seeds, hulls and other unwanted materials from cotton after it has been picked. See also: The Cotton Gin Patent. Crash Test Dummies GM developed this test device nearly 20 years ago, to provide a biofidelic measurement tool -- a crash dummy that behaves very similarly to human beings. Crayons The Crayola Company's founders invented the first crayon. Cray Supercomputer Seymour Cray was the inventor of the Cray Supercomputer. Credit Cards Learn about credit, credit cards, and the first banks to issue them. Crossword Puzzles The crossword puzzle was invented by Arthur Wynne. Cuisinarts and Other Kitchen Appliances Carl Sontheimer invented the Cuisinart. Cyclotron Ernest Lawrence invented the cyclotron, a device that greatly increased the speed with which projectiles could be hurled at atomic nuclei. 04 of 10 Inventions That Begin With "E" Escalator at the Pennsylvania Railroad Company's Cortland Street Station, New York, 1893. Getty Images/Print Collector / Contributor Earmuffs Chester Greenwood, a grammar school dropout, invented earmuffs at the age of 15 to keep his ears warm while ice skating. Greenwood would go on to accumulate over 100 patents in his lifetime. Ear Plugs The history of ear plugs. Easter Related Inventions created for Easter occasions. Eiffel Tower Gustave Eiffel built the Eiffel Tower for the Paris World's Fair of 1889, which honored the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. Elastic In 1820, Thomas Hancock patented elastic fastenings for gloves, suspenders, shoes and stockings. Electric Blanket In 1936, the first automatic electric blanket was invented. ELECTRIC CHAIR The history and of the electric chair. ELECTRICITY RELATED, ELECTRONICS Several famous persons in the field of electricity and electrical theory are profiled.The history of electricity and electronics. ELECTRIC MOTOR Michael Faraday's big breakthrough in electricity development was his invention of the electric motor. ELECTRIC VEHICLES An electric vehicle or EV by definition will use an electric motor for propulsion rather than being powered by a gasoline-powered motor. ELECTROMAGNET An electromagnet is a device in which magnetism is produced by an electric current. ELECTROMAGNETISM RELATED Innovations related to magnetic fields. See Also - Timeline of Electromagnetism ELECTRON TUBES The complex history behind the electron or vacuum tube. ELECTRON MICROSCOPE If pushed to the limit, electron microscopes can make it possible to view objects as small as the diameter of an atom. ELECTROPHOTOGRAPHY The copy machine was invented by Chester Carlson. ELECTROPLATING Electroplating was invented in 1805 and paved the way for economical jewelry. ELECTROSCOPE The electroscope - a device for detecting electric charge - was invented by Jean Nollet in 1748. ELEVATOR Elisha Elisha Graves Otis did not actually invent the first elevator - he invented the brake used in modern elevators, and his brakes made skyscrapers a practical reality. EMAIL Have you ever wondered what this @ in your email address is for? ENIAC COMPUTER With twenty thousand vacuum tubes inside, the ENIAC computer was invented by John Mauchly and John Presper. ENGINES Understanding how engines work and the history of engines. ENGRAVING The history of engraving, a popular method of printing. ESCALATOR In 1891, Jesse Reno created a new novelty ride at Coney Island that led to the invention of the escalator. ETCH-A-SKETCH The Etch-A-Sketch was developed in the late 1950s by Arthur Granjean. ETHERNET Robert Metcalfe and Xerox team invented network computing. EXOSKELETON Exoskeletons for human performance augmentation is a new type of body army being developed for soldiers that will significantly increase their capacity. EXPLOSIVES The history of explosives. EYEGLASSES The history of the oldest known glass lens to the first pair of spectacles invented by Salvino D'Armate. 05 of 10 "F" Is for Inventions Ranging From Frisbees to Firearms Dogs around the world are grateful for the invention of the frisbee. Getty Images/Elizabeth W. Kearley FABRICS Denim, nylon, colored cotton, vinyl... the history behind these and other fabrics. FACEBOOK Learn the fascinating story of how Facebook was invented. FAHRENHEIT THERMOMETER & SCALE What can be considered the first modern thermometer, the mercury thermometer with a standardized Fahrenheit scale, was invented by Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit in 1714. FARM RELATED Innovations related to farms, agriculture, tractors, cotton gin, reapers, plows, plant patents and more. FAX/FAX MACHINE/FACSIMILE The facsimile was invented in 1842 by Alexander Bain. FERRIS WHEEL The history of the ferris wheel. FIBER OPTICS Fiber optics and the use of light to communicate. FILM The history of photographic film. Fingerprinting and Forensics One of the first significant developments in forensic science was identification by fingerprinting. FIREARMS The history of guns and firearms. FLASHLIGHT When the flashlight was invented the biblical quote of Let There Be Light was on the cover of the 1899 Eveready catalog. FLIGHT The history of flight and the invention of the airplane including inventors Orville and Wilbur Wright. FLOPPY DISK Alan Shugart nicknamed the first disk - the "Floppy" for its flexibility. FLUORESCENT LAMPS The history of fluorescent lights and mercury vapor arc lamps. FLYING MACHINES While air balloons allowed mankind to float inventors dreamed of making flying machines that would allow mankind to have controlled flight. FLYING SHUTTLE John Kay invented the flying shuttle, an improvement to looms that enabled weavers to weave faster. FOAM FINGER Steve Chmelar invented the foam finger or foam hand often seen at sporting events and political rallies, and he can thank Miley Cyrus for finally getting the credit he deserves. FOOTBALL The invention of football, American style. FOOTBAG Hacky Sack or Footbag is a modern American sport invented in 1972. FORTRAN The first high level programming language called fortran was invented by John Backus and IBM. FOUNTAIN PENS The history of fountain pens and other writing instruments. FREEZERS The history of this famous kitchen appliance. FRENCH FRIES "Potatoes, fried in the French Manner," is how Thomas Jefferson described a dish he brought over to the colonies in the late 1700s. FRENCH HORNS The brass French horn was an invention based on early hunting horns. FREON In 1928, Thomas Midgley and Charles Kettering invented a "Miracle Compound" called Freon. Freon is now infamous for greatly adding to the depletion of the earth's ozone shield. FRISBEE How the empty pie plates of the Frisbie Baking Company became the early prototype for the world's funniest sport. FREEZE DRYING/FREEZE DRIED FOODS The basic process of freeze-drying foods were known to the Peruvian Incas of the Andes.Freeze drying is the removal of water from food while the food is frozen. FROZEN FOODS Learn how Clarence Birdseye found a way to flash-freeze foods and deliver them to the public. FUEL CELLS Fuel cells were invented in 1839 by Sir William Grove, and are now becoming the power source for the 21st century. 06 of 10 Jacuzzi, Jukeboxes and More Famous Inventions Beginning With "J" A young woman stands in the glow of a multicolored Juke box in the late 1960s. Getty Images/Michael Ochs Archives / Stringer JACUZZI In 1968, Roy Jacuzzi invented and marketed the first self-contained, fully integrated whirlpool bath by incorporating jets into the sides of the tub. Jacuzzi® is the trademarked name for the invention. JET SKI The jet ski was invented by Clayton Jacobsen II. JET AIRCRAFT Dr.Hans von Ohain and Sir Frank Whittle are recognized as the co-inventors of the jet engine. See also: Different Types of Jet Engines JIGSAW PUZZLES John Spilsbury created the first jigsaw puzzle in 1767. JOCK STRAP In 1920, Joe Cartledge invented the first jock strap or athletic supporter. JUKEBOX The history of the jukebox. 07 of 10 Peanut Butter, Panty Hose and Other Primo Inventions Starting With "P" Whoever really invented peanut butter, we thank you. Getty Images/Glow Cuisine PACKAGE (or Pizza) SAVER Have you ever wondered, "who invented the circular thing that keeps the pizza from hitting the inside of the box top?" PAGERS A pager is a dedicated RF (radio frequency) device. PAINT ROLLER The paint roller was invented by Norman Breakey of Toronto in 1940. PANTY HOSE In 1959, Glen Raven Mills of North Carolina introduced pantyhose. PAPER RELATED The history of paper, papermaking and paper sacks; the patents and persons behind the different processes. PAPERCLIP A history of the paperclip. PAPER PUNCH History of the paper punch. PARACHUTES Louis Sebastien Lenormand is credited with being the first person to demonstrate the principle of the parachute in 1783. PASCALINE CALCULATOR French scientist and mathematician, Blaise Pascal invented the first digital calculator, the Pascaline. PASTEURIZATION Louis Pasteur invented pasteurization. PEANUT BUTTER The history of peanut butter. PENICILLIN Penicillin was discovered by Alexander Fleming. Andrew Moyer patented the industrial production of penicillin. John Sheehan invented a synthesis of natural penicillin. PENS/PENCILS The history of pens and other writing instruments (including pencil sharpeners and erasers). PEPSI-COLA "Pepsi-Cola" was invented by Caleb Bradham in 1898. PERFUME The history behind perfume. PERIODIC TABLE The history of the periodic table. PERISCOPE The history of the periscope. PERPETUAL MOTION MACHINE The USPTO will not patent a perpetual motion machine. PHONOGRAPH The word "phonograph" was Edison's tradename for his musical playback device, which played wax cylinders rather than flat disks. PHOTOCOPIER The photocopier was invented by Chester Carlson. PHOTOGRAPHY STILL Learn about the Camera Obscura, the history of photography, the significant processes, polaroid photography and the invention of photographic film. See also: Photography Timeline PHOTOPHONE Alexander Graham Bell's Photophone was ahead of its time. PHOTOVOLTICS RELATED Solar cells or PV cells rely on the photovoltaic effect to absorb the energy of the sun and cause current to flow between two oppositely charge layers. See also: How a Photovoltic Cell Works. PIANO The piano first known as the pianoforte was invented by Bartolomeo Cristofori. PIGGY BANK The piggy bank's origin owes more to the history of language. PILL The patents and people behind the first oral contraceptives. PILLSBURY DOUGHBOY On October, 1965, Pillsbury debuted the loveable 14-ounce, 8 3/4-inch character in a Crescent Roll commercial. PINBALL The history of pinball. PIZZA The history of pizza. PLASTIC Learn about the history of plastic, the uses for and the making of plastic, plastic in the fifties and more. PLAY-DOH Noah McVicker and Joseph McVicker invented Play-Doh in 1956. PLIERS Simple pliers are an ancient invention. Two sticks probably served as the first uncertain holders, but bronze bars may have replaced wooden tongs as early as 3000 BC. Plows The farmers of George Washington's day had no better tools than had the farmers of Julius Caesar's day. In fact, Roman plows were superior to those in general use in America eighteen centuries later. John Deere invented the self-polishing cast steel plow. PLUMBING RELATED Learn about ancient and modern plumbing from around the world: baths, toilets, water closets. PNEUMATIC Tools A pneumatic device is any of various tools and instruments that generate and utilize compressed air. POLAROID PHOTOGRAPHY Polaroid photography was invented by Edwin Land. POLICE TECHNOLOGY The methods and techniques of, and the equipment available to, police agencies. POLYESTER Polyethylene terephthalate created synthetic fibers such as polyester dacron and terylene. POLYGRAPH John Larson invented the polygraph or lie detector in 1921. POLYSTYRENE Polystyrene is a strong plastic created from erethylene and benzine that can be injected, extruded or blow molded, making it a very useful and versatile manufacturing material. POM POMS Pompoms and the history of cheerleading innovations. POPSICLE The history of the popsicle. POSTAL RELATED William Barry invented the postmarking and canceling machine. William Purvis invented the hand stamp. Philip Downing invented the letter-drop letter box. Rowland Hill invented the postage stamp. POST-IT NOTES Arthur Fry invented Post-It Notes as a temporary bookmarker. POTATO CHIPS Potato chips were invented in 1853. MR POTATO HEAD George Lerner of New York City invented and patented Mr. Potato Head in 1952. POWER LOOM Edmund Cartwright was a cleric and the inventor of the power loom patented in 1785. PRINTERS (COMPUTER) The history of computer printers. PRINTING Learn about the history of printing and printer technology. PROSTHETICS The history of prosthetics and amputation surgery begins at the very dawning of human medical thought. PROZAC Prozac® is the registered trademarked name for fluoxetine hydrochloride and the world's most widely prescribed antidepressant. PUNCH CARDS Herman Hollerith invented a punch-card tabulation machine system for statistical computation. PUSH PINS Edwin Moore invented the push-pin. PUZZLES Learn the history behind the crossword and other brain-teasing puzzles. PVDC The origins of Saran Wrap® (PVDC) film and the history of the Dow Chemical Company. PVC (Vinyl) Waldo Semon invented a way to make polyvinyl chloride or vinyl useful. 08 of 10 Safety Pins to Syringes: Inventions Beginning With "S" The first attempt by aviator Glenn Curtiss to create a seaplane (aka a flying boat) didn't work so well. Getty Images/Library of Congress Safety Pins The safety pin was invented by Walter Hunt in 1849. Sailboards The very first sailboards (windsurfing) date back to the late 1950s. Samhain Related Objects invented for use on Samhain or Halloween. Sandwich The origins of the sandwich. Saran Wrap The origins of Saran Wrap film and the history of the Dow Chemical Company. Satellites History changed on October 4, 1957, when the former Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik I.The world's first artificial satellite was about the size of a basketball, weighed only 183 pounds, and took about 98 minutes to orbit the Earth on its elliptical path. Also see this article on the Satellite Explorer 1 Saxophone The history of the saxophone. Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM) Gerd Karl Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer are the inventors of the STM, which provided the first images of individual atoms. Scissors The history behind this cutting invention. Scooters The invention of scooters. Also See - Early Patent Drawings Scotch Tape Scotch Tape was patented by the banjo playing, 3M engineer, Richard Drew. Screws and Screwdrivers You might be surprised by how early wooden screws were invented. Here's the history of the Archimedes Screw, the Phillips Head Screw, the Robertson Screw, Square Drive Screws, and more. SCUBA Diving Equipment In the 16th century, barrels were used as primitive diving bells, and for the first time divers could travel underwater with more than one breath of air, but not much more than one. Sea-Cretion Wolf Hilbertz patented sea-cretion, a construction material made from the electrolytic deposition of minerals from seawater. Seat Belts Never drive without first buckling up you seat belt. But which inventor brought us this safety invention? Seaplane The seaplane was invented by Glenn Curtiss. March 28, 1910 in Martinque, France, marked the first successful seaplane take-off from water Seismograph John Milne was the English seismologist and geologist who invented the first modern seismograph and promoted the building of seismological stations. Self-Cleaning House This amazing home was invented by Frances Gabe. Segway Human Transporter What was once a mysterious invention created by Dean Kamen that had everyone speculating as to what it was, was revealed and demonstrated as the now familiar Segway Human Transporter. Seven-Up This beloved, bubbling lemon lime drink was invented by Charles Grigg. Sewing Machines The history behind sewing machines. Shrapnel Shrapnel is a type of antipersonnel projectile named after the inventor, Henry Shrapnel. Shoes and Related As late as 1850, most shoes were made on absolutely straight lasts, there being no difference between the right and the left shoe. Learn about the history of footwear and shoe making technology, including sneakers, which were designed by Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight. Shoe Manufacturing Machine Jan Matzeliger developed an automatic method for lasting shoes and made the mass production of affordable shoes possible. Shopping Related Who created the first shopping mall and other trivia. Sierra Sam The history of crash test dummies—the first crash test dummy was the Sierra Sam created in 1949." Silly Putty Silly Putty is a result of history, engineering, an accident and entrepreneurship. Sign Language (and related) The history of sign language. Signaling System (Pyrotechnic) Martha Coston invented a system of maritime signal flares. Skyscrapers The skyscraper like many other architectural forms, evolved over a long period of time. Skateboard A short history of the skateboard. Skates (Ice) The oldest known pair of ice skates dates back to 3000 BCE. Sleeping Car (Pullman) The Pullman sleeping car (train) was invented by George Pullman in 1857. Sliced Bread (and Toasters) The history of sliced bread and the toaster, the best thing since sliced bread, but actually invented before sliced bread. Slide Rule Around 1622, the circular and rectangular slide rule was invented by Episcopalean minister William Oughtred. Slinky The slinky was invented by Richard and Betty James. Also see a Slinky in Motion Slot Machines The first mechanical slot machine was the Liberty Bell, invented in 1895 by Charles Fey Smart Pills The name of smart pill now refers to any pill that can deliver or control its delivery of medicine without the patient having to take action beyond the initial swallow. Snowblower Canadian, Arthur Sicard invented the snowblower in 1925. Snowmaking Machines The history of snowmaking machines and facts about making snow. Snowmobiles In 1922, Joseph-Armand Bombardier developed the type of sport machine that we know today as the snowmobile. Soap Soap making was known as early as 2800 BCE, but in the synthetic detergent industry it is not as easy to pinpoint exactly when the first detergents were invented. Soccer Not much is known about the origin of soccer, however, football and ball kicking games were played by the ancient Greeks and Romans. Socks The first real knit socks were discovered in Egyptian graves in Antinoe. Soda Fountain In 1819, the "soda fountain" was patented by Samuel Fahnestock. Softball George Hancock invented softball. Soft Drinks An introduction to the history of soft drinks including Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola, and other less well-known bubbly beverages. Software The history of various software programs. Solar-Powered Cars Solar-powered electric demonstration vehicles were first built by universities and manufacturers during the late eighties. Solar Cells A solar cell directly converts light energy into electrical energy. Sonar Discover the history of Sonar. S.O.S Soap Pads Ed Cox invented a pre-soaped pad with which to clean pots. Sound Recording The history of sound recording technology—from early recorded sounds and wax cylinders to the latest in broadcasting history. Soup (Campbells) Where did soup come from? Spacesuits The history of spacesuits. SpaceWar In 1962, Steve Russell invented SpaceWar, one of the first games intended for computer use. Spark Plugs The history of spark plugs. Spectacles and Sunglasses The history of eyeglasses from the oldest known glass lens to the first pair of spectacles invented by Salvino D'Armate and beyond. Around the year 1752, James Ayscough introduced spectacles with lenses made of tinted glass. Spectograph George Carruthers received a patent for the far-ultraviolet camera and the spectrograph. Spinning Jenny Hargreaves patented theSpinning Jenny used for weaving yarn. Spinning Mule Samuel Crompton invented the spinning mule. Spinning Wheel The spinning wheel is an ancient machine that turned fibers into thread or yarn, which were then woven into cloth on a loom. The spinning wheel was probably invented in India, though its origins are obscure. Spork The spork is half spoon and half fork. Sports Related Yes, there are patents related to sports. Sporting Goods Learn who invented the skateboard, the frisbee, sneakers, the bicycle, the boomerang and other sporting goods. Sprinkler Systems The first fire sprinkler system was invented by American, Henry Parmalee in 1874. Stamps Rowland Hill invented the postage stamp in 1837, an act for which he was knighted. Staplers Brass paper fasteners were introduced in the mid-1860s, and by 1866 George W. McGill had developed a machine to insert these fasteners into papers. The first stapling machine with a magazine that held a supply of preformed wire staples that were fed automatically to the staple-driving mechanism was patented in 1878. Statue of Liberty Bartholdi was a French sculptor born in Alsace. He created many monumental sculptures, but his most famous work was the Statue of Liberty. Steamboats Robert Fulton invented the first successful steamboat on August 7, 1807. Also see: John Fitch and His Steamboat Steam Engines Thomas Newcomen invented the atmospheric steam engine in 1712 - steam engine history and information on the men and women involved with steam engines. Steel Henry Bessemer invented the first process for mass-producing steel inexpensively. Stem Cell Research James Thomson was the first scientist to isolate and culture human embryonic stem cells. Sterotyping William Ged invented Stereotyping in 1725. Sterotyping is a process in which a whole page of type is cast in a single mold so that a printing plate can be made from it. Stoves The history of stoves. Straws In 1888, Marvin Stone patented the spiral winding process to manufacture the first paper drinking straws. Street Sweeper C. B. Brooks invented an improved street sweeper truck and patented it on March 17, 1896. Styrofoam What we commonly call styrofoam is the most recognizable form of foam polystyrene packaging. Submarines Study the evolution of submarine design, from the submarine's beginning as a compressed air or human-powered warship to today's nuclear-powered subs. Sugar Processing Evaporator The sugar processing evaporator was invented by Norbert Rillieux. Sunscreen The first commercial sunscreen was invented in 1936. Supercomputer Seymour Cray and the Cray Supercomputer. Superconductors In 1986, Alex Müller and Johannes Bednorz patented the first high-temperature superconductor. Super Soaker Lonnie Johnson invented the Super Soaker squirt gun. (Johnson also patented thermodynamics systems.) Suspenders The first patent ever issued for modern suspenders, the kind with the familiar metal clasp was patent by Roth. Swimming Pools The history of swimming pools—the first heated swimming pool was built by Gaius Maecenas of Rome. Syringe The history behind this medical device. 09 of 10 Tampons, Tupperware and Trumpets: Inventions Beginning With "T" Teddy Bears were invented more or less simultaneously in America and Germany and were named for President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt. Getty Images/laurenspolding Tagamet Graham Durant, John Emmett and Charon Ganellin co-invented Tagamet. Tagamet inhibits the production of stomach acid. Tampons The history of tampons. Tape Recorders In 1934/35, Begun built the world's first tape recorder used for broadcasting. Tattoos and Related Samuel O'Reilly and the history of inventions related to tattoos. Taxis The name taxicab usually abbreviated to taxi came from the taximeter an old instrument which measured the distance travelled. Tea and Related The history of tea, tea bags, tea drinking customs and more. Teddy Bears Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States, is the person responsible for giving the teddy bear his name. Teflon Roy Plunkett invented tetrafluoroethylene polymers or Teflon. Tekno Bubbles Tekno Bubbles are a innovative variation on blowing bubbles, but these bubbles glow under black lights and can smell like raspberries. Telegraph Samuel Morse invented the telegraph.The general history of telegraphy. Optical Telegraph Telemetry Examples of telemetry are the tracking of the movements of wild animals that have been tagged with radio transmitters, or the transmitting of meteorological data from weather balloons to weather stations. Telephones The history of the the telephone and telephone related devices. Also take a look at the First Patent for the Telephone. Telephone Switching System Erna Hoover invented the computerized telephone switching system. Telescope A spectacle maker probably assembled the first telescope. Hans Lippershey of Holland is often credited with the invention of the telescope, but he almost certainly was not the first person to make one. Televisions The history of television - color television, satellite broadcasts, remote controls and other television related inventions. Also see this Television Timeline Tennis and Related In 1873, Walter Wingfield invented a game called Sphairistikè (Greek for "playing ball) which evolved into modern outdoor tennis. Tesla Coil Invented in 1891 by Nikola Tesla, the Tesla coil is still used in radio and television sets and other electronic equipment. Tetracycline Lloyd Conover invented the antibiotic tetracycline, which became the most prescribed broad spectrum antibiotic in the United States. Theme Park-Related Inventions The history behind circus, theme park, and carnival inventions including roller coasters, carousels, ferris wheels, trampoline and more. Thermometers The first thermometers were called thermoscopes. In 1724, Gabriel Fahrenheit invented the first mercury thermometer, the modern thermometer. Thermos Sir James Dewar was the inventor of the Dewar flask, the first thermos. Thong Many fashion historians believe that the thong first appeared in the 1939 World's Fair. Tidal Power Plants The rise and fall of the sea level can power electric-generating equipment. Timekeeping and Related The history of timekeeping innovations and time measurement. Timken Henry Timken received a patent for the Timken or tapered roller bearings. Tinkertoys Charles Pajeau invented Tinkertoys, a toy construction set for children. Tires The history of tires. Toasters The best thing since sliced bread, but actually invented before sliced bread. Toilets and Plumbing The history of toilets and plumbing. Tom Thumb Locomotive Learn about the inventor of the Tom Thumb steam engine. Tools The history behind several common household tools. Toothpaste, Toothbrushes, and Toothpicks Who invented false teeth, dentistry, toothbrush, toothpaste, toothpicks and dental floss. Also, learn about the history of toothpicks. Totalizator Automatic The automatic totalizator is a system that totals the investments on runners, horses, betting pools and pays out dividends; invented by Sir George Julius in 1913. Touch Screen Technology The touch screen is one of the easiest to use and most intuitive of all PC interfaces, making it the interface of choice for a wide variety of applications. Toys The history behind several toy inventions—including how some toys were invented, how others got their names and how famous toy companies began. Tractors A history of tractors, bulldozers, forklifts and related machinery. Also see: Famous Farm Tractors Traffic Lights and Roads The world's first traffic lights were installed near London's House of Commons in 1868. Also see this article on Garrett Morgan, who patented a hand-cranked traffic management device. Trampoline The prototype trampoline apparatus was built by George Nissen, an American circus acrobat and Olympic Transistor The transistor was an influential little invention that changed the course of history in a big way for computers and electronics. See Also - Definition Transportation The history and timeline of different transportation innovations - cars, bikes, planes, and more. Trivial Pursuit Trivial Pursuit was invented by Canadians Chris Haney and Scott Abbott. Trumpet The trumpet has evolved more than any other instrument known to modern day society. TTY, TDD or Tele-Typewriter The history of TTY. Tungsten Wire The history of tungsten wire used in lightbulbs. Tupperware Tupperware was invented by Earl Tupper. Tuxedo The tuxedo was invented by Pierre Lorillard of New York City. TV Dinners Gerry Thomas is the man who invented both the product and the name of the Swanson TV Dinner Typewriters The first practical typewriter was invented by Christopher Latham Sholes. The history of the typewriter's keys (QWERTY), early typewriters and typing history. 10 of 10 Inventions Beginning With "W" A clockmaker at work. Getty Images/Marlena Waldthausen / EyeEm WALKMAN The history of the Sony Walkman. WALLPAPER Wallpaper as a wall covering was first used by the working classes in Britain and in Europe as a substitute for costly materials. WASHING MACHINES The earliest washing "machine" the scrub board was invented in 1797. WATCHES The invention of the quartz watch, mechanical clocks, timekeeping devices and time measurement. WATER FRAMES It was the first powered textile machine and enabled the move away from small home manufacturing towards factory production. WATER HEATERS Edwin Ruud invented the automatic storage water heater in 1889. WATER WHEEL The water wheel is an ancient device that uses flowing or falling water to create power by means of a set of paddles mounted around a wheel. WATERSKIING RELATED Waterskiing was invented in 1922 by Ralph Samuelson, an eighteen-year-old from Minnesota.Samuelson proposed the idea that if you could ski on snow, then you could ski on water. WD-40 Norm Larsen invented WD-40 in 1953. WEATHER INSTRUMENTS The history and patents behind different weather measuring instruments. WELDING TOOLS AND WELDING RELATED In 1885, Nikolai Benardos and Stanislav Olszewski were granted a patent for an electric arc welder with a carbon electrode called the Electrogefest. Benardos and Olszewski are considered the fathers of welding apparatus. WHEEL Everyone kept asking me who invented the wheel; here is the answer. WHEELBARROW Chuko Liang of China is considered to be the creator of the wheelbarrow. WHEELCHAIRS The first dedicated wheelchair was made for Phillip II of Spain. WINDOWS The history of Microsoft's graphical user interface for personal computers. WINDSHIELD WIPERS Mary Anderson invented windshield wipers.The history of cars. WINDSURFING RELATED Windsurfing or boardsailing is a sport that combines sailing and surfing and uses a one person craft called a sailboard. WHITE-OUT Bette Nesmith Graham invented White-out. WORD PROCESSING RELATED The origins of word processing programs from a rising WordStar. WRENCHES Solymon Merrick patented the first wrench in 1835. Also See - Jack Johnson - Patent Drawings For A Wrench. WRITING INSTRUMENTS The history of pens and other writing instruments.