Though an abstract reflection of the great mind, that gave us the electric bulb; the statement holds true for all the great minds that toiled in the dark rooms of their laboratories, to make our lives better. Though millions of inventions have been made over time, only a handful of them stand the test of time, to mark the beginning of a new era. For instance, the power of communication that we now take for granted, wouldn’t have been possible without the telephone. And that simple invention marked the beginning of an entirely new era, in which people could connect no matter where they are. Even the invention of steel was a remarkable one, which resulted in many a civilization to thrive without being annihilated. And the list just goes on forever; but to celebrate the best of the best, here is the top ten that changed our lives for forever.
Thomas A. Edison once quoted, that
“None of my inventions came by accident, they came by work”
10. The Plow
Food has been the top priority for humans, right from the Stone Age to the present day. Though we don’t go around with baskets foraging for food, we still can’t imagine a happy life without good food. Back in the days, when people were still growing their own crops; cultivating and sowing seeds, was an extremely labor intensive procedure. Planting crops, just to feed a small family would take days; but all that was till the invention of the common plow. Though not very exciting now, back then, it was an eye opener. With the plow, people can sow acres of land, feed hundreds of people and even trade extra grain. So, one can safely say that, the backbone to the development of many cities was made possible only by the plow.
9. The Wheel
Though the wheel can be easily voted as the best invention of them all, with the mere use of it in almost every single machinery, and working mechanism that we use; it had lost its glamour with the passage of time. But nevertheless it deserves a spot in the top 10. Though nobody really knows who invented the wheel in the first place, the wheel was simultaneously used by many civilizations across the world. The invention of the wheel enabled people to travel, farther than ever imagined, carry more loads and construct magnificent structures. And the best of all, it allowed us to create various other machineries that require the rotary mechanism. So without doubt, the wheel certainly changed the way we live forever.
8. The Printing Press
Combining the ideas the of the printing blocks used by the Chinese, and the simple Screw press used to churn out olive oil and wine, Johann Gutenberg perfected the printing press, first in 1430s. Back then, books were treasures of the rich and in some parts, they were banned for being the medium of Satan. So, people mostly stayed illiterate and believed in whatever was preached. But with the invention of the printing press, free thinking was born. Knowledge that once stayed in the heads of the richest was now available for the common man as well. And the printing press in turn, led to the education of many other inventors, who in turn contributed a lot to the society.
The refrigerator works on the mechanism by exchanging heat from a body at a lower temperature to a body at a higher temperature. Back in the times, before refrigeration had been invented, people were still harvesting natural ice from the glaciers nearby. But with the invention of it, it was made possible to drink a cold cup of water even in the middle of the Sahara. Refrigeration made a lot of things possible; first it changed the way we eat, because now you can get access to fresh prawns that were crawling half way across the world, on your plate with the same freshness. Also, storage of medicine and preservation of other vital vaccines was made possible only by refrigeration.
6. The Telephone
Though it would be more appropriate to term communication as our sixth greatest invention, I don’t think they would have been inspired, if it wasn’t for out dear telephone. The ability to speak to someone, without actually having to be in the same room or even the same continent, was a revelation in that day. This was the invention that inspired people to find everything that enabled mass communication, with which we interact every day. Right from the radio, to the wireless systems; none of it would have been possible, if Graham bell hadn’t showed it to the world that we can actually communicate without seeing each other.
5. The Steam engine
We had a lot of use for steam before the invention of the steam engine, but no one actually appreciated steam until James Watt came along and contained it in a cylinder to push a piston. The first steam engine was a very crude piece of equipment, which probably had efficiency below 1%. But nevertheless, it was an invention like any other; because now we knew, that we don’t have to sweat and toil to operate the massive machineries, which in those days were entirely operated by hand. The now available steam power enabled the usage and further invention of large machineries, which ushered us into the industrial revolution.
4. The Automobile
Probably this is one invention that requires no introduction at all. I believe we are all familiar with Karl Benz’s 1885 Motorwagen, also known by many as the horseless carriage. With the invention of the automobile, the power of mobility was now available to everyone. Now, even if you wished to go see your aunt, who lives across the state; you can just hop on your car and have an easy drive to meet her. That’s the power of mobility that the automobile has enabled us with. With its invention, cities began to grow, distances no longer mattered, goods were transported faster and the entire world began to pick up some pace.
3. The Light Bulb
Though this invention might look a little silly, with the automobile and the communication systems occupying lower ranks, the light bulb still the deserves to be in the top three. It’s because, it not just enabled us to work at night, but it inspired people in to building the complex infrastructure that we have now – to provide electricity to each and every household. Without the invention of the electric bulb, the availability of electricity would have been much expensive and scarce. So this little invention as small as it is, truly did start our dependence on electricity.
2. The Computer
Most of you might dream off into thinking about the top notch systems of today to be regarded as computers. But in the actual sense, a computer is a device that receives an input from the user, carries out a particular operation based on a specified set of rules and gives the output. So, back in the time when Feynman was working on the Manhattan Project, even the common calculator that we use today was regarded then as complex computer. Computers have come a long way from the time of Charles Babbage, but nevertheless their functions have always remained the same. Today, computers enable us to do almost anything, right from putting a satellite into orbit to enable you lose yourself into an entirely different virtual reality. With the advent of the electronic computers, feats that were thought to be world records by expert mathematicians became the day to day operation by a 12 year old. So, without any doubt, computers are the backbone of our present age.
1. The Internet
Historians coined the term, information age, the day the internet was made possible. And truly nothing else could have changed our lives any more than this has. Internet is nothing but a complex communication system that enables exchange of data between various digital devices of the world. The date exchanged can be anything from: videos, pictures, articles, letters and what not. Now you can contact someone in the other half of the world in an instant with the use of internet, watch the New Year celebrations in Japan when it’s still morning in your home state, access news and information that would have taken weeks to reach without the internet and the list just keeps on going. So, even though there are a lot of inventions that might seem like the best, the invention of the internet is without doubt the Cherry topping in our list of inventions.