10 inventions that changed the world beyond recognition

10 inventions that changed the world beyond recognition, you should know this.


Compared to the brilliant electronic inventions that are filling our lives today, the plow doesn't seem to shine very much. It is a simple tool for cutting furrows in the soil, preparing it for fertilization and planting crops. But if it weren't for the plow, there probably wouldn't be other inventions on our list.

Nobody knows who invented the plow or when it first appeared. It is quite possible that it was developed independently in different regions, and was developed back in the prehistoric era. Before the plow, people were mainly engaged in hunting or gathering. Their lives depended solely on finding enough food to survive from season to season. Growing food brought a certain stability to life, but it was difficult and time-consuming to do it with your hands. The advent of the plow changed everything.

The plow has made field work easier and faster. Improvements in plow design made land work so efficient that people began to collect far more food than they needed to survive. They started selling surplus for goods or services. And if you can get food through trade, you have more time in your daily life for other things besides growing food, such as producing goods and services that may be needed by those who grow food.

The ability to trade and store materials led to the invention of writing, counting, fortifications, and military technology. As the population became interested in these matters, cities grew. It would not be an exaggeration to say that it was the plow that allowed human civilization to take place.


The wheel is another invention, so ancient that we do not know who first invented it. We found the oldest wheel and axle mechanism near Ljubljana, Slovenia, and its age is about 3100 years BC. e.

The wheel made the transport of goods faster and more efficient, especially if they were attached to horse chariots and carts. But if it was only used for transportation, the wheel would not be such a grandiose invention. Moreover, the lack of quality roads has limited the usefulness of the wheel for thousands of years.

The wheel can be used for many other things, not only for transporting grain on a cart. Tens of thousands of other inventions use the wheel, from the mill's water wheel to the gears and parts that allowed ancient cultures to create complex machines. Cranks and rollers engage the wheels. A host of modern technologies involve wheels: centrifuges, electric and combustion engines, jet engines, power plants and much more.

Printing press

As with many inventions on this list, the man who invented what we believe to be the printing press (Johannes Gutenberg in the 1430s) simply improved on existing technologies and made them useful and effective enough to gain popularity. The world was already using paper and block printing - the Chinese got it back in the early 11th century - but their complex language prevented the technology from spreading. Marco Polo brought the idea to Europe in 1295.

Gutenberg combined the idea of ​​block printing with a screw press (used in the production of wine and olive oil). He also developed metal printing blocks that were much more durable and easier to manufacture than hand-carving letters on wood. Finally, advances in ink and paper production helped revolutionize the entire mass printing process.

The printing press made it possible to record colossal amounts of information and distribute it all over the world. Before that, only wealthy people could afford books, but mass production drove the price down extremely. The printing press allowed many other inventions to come true, but in a much more subtle way than the wheel. Through the dissemination of knowledge, billions of people were educated, which they later used to create their own inventions in the following centuries.


The refrigerator is a great thing that takes advantage of the ability of substances to absorb and discharge heat when the pressure and state of the substance changes (usually from gas to liquid and vice versa). It is difficult to single out one inventor of the refrigerator, as this idea was widely known and gradually improved over almost 200 years. Some point to the design of Oliver Evans' steam compression device in 1805, while others point to the design of the real predecessor of the modern refrigerator, like the one in your kitchen, by Karl von Linde in 1876. Dozens of inventors, including Albert Einstein, have improved or complemented the refrigerator design for many years.

In the early 20th century, when collection of natural ice was still widespread, large industries such as breweries began to use ice makers. By the time of the First World War, collected ice in the industry had become a rarity. However, it wasn't until the 1920s, when safe refrigerants were introduced, that refrigerators became the norm.

The ability to store food for long periods (and even during transportation when refrigerated trucks were developed) has revolutionized the food industry and the eating habits of people around the world. There was easy access to fresh meat and dairy products even in the hot summer months, and the need to collect and ship natural ice - which, moreover, never kept pace with the growth of the world population, disappeared.


It may not be fair to combine telegraph, radio and television in one “invention, ” but advances in communication technology have increased the utility and efficiency of the field as a whole since Samuel Morse invented the electric telegraph in 1836 (working on something completely different, of course). The phone essentially repeated and improved on this idea, providing people with voice communication over a copper wire, as opposed to purely text signals written in Morse code. These communication methods worked from point to point and required an extensive wiring infrastructure to function.

Wireless transmission of signals using electromagnetic waves excited many inventors around the world, and in the early 20th century, Guglielmo Marconi and Nikola Tesla popularized it. Eventually, sound could be transmitted wirelessly, and engineers gradually improved image transmission. Radio and television became the new mainstay of communications, as they allowed messages to be sent to thousands or millions of people, if they had receivers.

The development of communication technologies has effectively reduced the world's distances. In just 120 years, we have moved from a world in which several weeks passed while news spread throughout the country, to a world in which we can personally observe what is happening on the other side of the globe. The advent of mass communication has changed our relationship and provided easy access to information.

Steam engine

Before the steam engine was invented, most products were made by hand. Waterwheels and draft animals were the only "industrial" facilities, of course, with their limitations. The Industrial Revolution, which is perhaps one of the largest changes to occur in a short span of time in the history of civilization, rode forward astride a steam engine.

The idea of ​​using steam to power machines was born thousands of years ago, but the creation of Thomas Newcomen in 1712 was the first to use this energy for useful work (pumping water from mines in most cases). In 1769, James Watt modified Newcomen's engine by adding a separate condenser, which greatly increased the power of the steam engine and made it more practical to operate. He also developed a way to generate rotary motion using a motor, which also added efficiency. Actually, Watt is considered the inventor of the steam engine.

The Newcomen and Watt engines used a condensed vapor vacuum to move the pistons, rather than the pressure of the expanding vapor. Because of this, the engines were bulky. Richard Trevithick and others subsequently created high-pressure steam engines that were small enough to fit on a train. Steam engines not only ensured the rapid production of goods in factories, but were also installed on steam locomotives and steamers that transported goods around the world.

Although the steam engine has been overshadowed by the electric motor and the internal combustion engine in transportation and energy, the idea still finds application. Most of the world's power plants actually generate electricity using steam turbines, whose steam is heated by burning coal, natural gas, or a nuclear reactor.


If the steam engine mobilized industry, the automobile mobilized people. The idea of ​​personal transport has been around for many years, but Karl Benz's 1885 Motorwagen, powered by an internal combustion engine of his own design, is considered the first automobile everywhere. Henry Ford's improvements in the manufacturing process - and effective marketing - ensured falling prices and increased desire among future auto owners in America. Europe soon followed.

The effect of the emergence of a car in commerce, society and culture is difficult to overestimate. Many of us can hop in a car and go wherever we want, effectively expanding the size of any community we want to be in, or bringing shops and friends closer. Our cities are largely designed and built with access to cars in mind, roads and parking spaces take up a lot of space, and a significant chunk of the state budget is allocated to them. The automotive industry has generated tremendous economic growth around the world, but has generated a lot of pollution along with it.

Light bulb

If the items on this list have anything in common, it is that no major invention was born by one genius or one inventor. Each invention builds on previous designs, and the person commonly associated with the invention is generally the one who made it commercially viable. It's the same with a light bulb. You probably think Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, but in the 1870s dozens of other people worked on this idea, and along with them - Edison with his incandescent lamp. Joseph Swan worked on it in the UK, and the two inventors joined forces to form one company, Ediswan.

The light bulb itself works by transmitting electricity through high resistance wiring (known as filament). The excess energy generated by resistance spreads like heat and light. In a glass bulb, the filament is contained in a vacuum or inert gas to prevent ignition.

You may have thought that the light bulb changed the world by allowing people to work at night or in dark places (well, it kind of is), but we already had relatively cheap and efficient gas lamps and other light sources by then. The infrastructure that was built to provide electricity to every home is important, it changed the world. Our lives today are filled with devices that are ubiquitous connected to sockets. We owe this to the glass bulb.


A computer is a machine that takes information, manipulates it in some way, and gives out new information. The modern computer does not have a single inventor, although the ideas of the British mathematician Alan Turing are considered to be of the highest importance in the field of computing. Mechanical computing devices existed in the 1800s (sometimes there were devices that can be defined as computers, even in ancient times), but electronic computers did not appear until the 20th century.

Computers are capable of performing complex mathematical calculations at incredible speed. When they are run by experienced programmers, they produce incredible things. Some of the most advanced military aircraft could not fly without constant computer adjustments during control. Computers sequencing the human genome, allowing us to launch spacecraft into orbit, controlling medical equipment, and allowing us to enjoy movies and video games.

Using the benefits of computers every day, we have no idea how dependent on them. They allow us to store and retrieve huge amounts of information almost instantly. Many things we take for granted in the world would not function without computers, from cars and phones to power plants.


The Internet, a network of computers spanning the entire planet, allows people to access virtually any information located anywhere in the world at any given time. Its impact on business, communications, economy, entertainment, and even politics cannot be overstated. The Internet may not have changed the world as much as the plow, but it can definitely be put on par with a car or a steam engine.

DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) created ARPANET in the late 1960s. This network of connections between computers was intended for military and scientific research. Other computer networks began to emerge around the world over the next few years, and by the late 1970s scientists had created a single protocol, TCP / IP, that allowed computers on any network to communicate with computers on another network. This was, in fact, the birth of the Internet, but it took 10 years or more before other networks around the world adopted the new protocol, making the Web truly global.

The Internet is such a powerful invention that today we are probably just beginning to see the effects it has on the world.

The ability to disseminate and rearrange information so efficiently only accelerates over time. At the same time, some fear that our addiction to communication, work, gaming and online business is destroying local communities and leading to social exclusion. But as with any invention, the benefits of the Internet outweigh the negative side effects of using it.