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Important Inventions & Discoveries

Electricity And Light

1.Who first produced an electric current?

Luigi Galvani produced
an electric current in
He hung the legs
of a frog on iron railings
using copper hooks and
saw that the legs shook.
The reason being, that the moisture
in the frog’s legs formed a connection between the hooks and
railing, causing an electric current.

2.Who invented the battery?

An Italian scientist, Ales-
sandro Volta, invented the
battery in 1800.
He got the`
idea from the work of
To honour his
discovery, the electric unit is
called volt.


1.Who invented the computer?

Charles Babbage was a British
mathematician, who invented the
first programmable mechanical
computer, in 1834.
But, computer
as we know it today, was finally
made in 1991.
Charles Babbage is
known as the father of computer.

2.When was the first automatic computer invented?

The first automatic computer was invented in 1945, by two
Americans John Mauchly and J. Prosper Eckert Jr.
computer was so big
that it filled two rooms.
This was because it
used 19,000 valves,
and each valve was as
big as a hand.
in the 1950s computers
became smaller, when
tiny transistors were
used in place of
the valves.

Important Inventions & Discoveries


1.Who made the first calculator?

The first calculating machine was made
by Blaise Pascal in
1642, when he was
19 years old.
machine would
only add and
subtract numbers.
The first calculating
machine which
could multiply and
divide was invented
by Gottfried Leibnitz
in 1694.
Finally, in 1971
the first electronic calculator was used.

Important Inventions & Discoveries

2.Who invented the television?

The television
in public for the
first time in
1926, by a
Scottish named John
Logie Baird.
original machine was made from an old box,
cake tin, knitting needles and a bicycle lamp.

Important Inventions & Discoveries

Time And Money


1. What do you know about the history of timekeeping devices?

As early as 325 BC, water
clocks were invented by the
This eventually led
to the concept of
mechanical clock.
It is believed that the first mechanical
clock was made in Europe.
Dutch scientist Christian
Huygens patented the first pendulum clock in 1656.

2.When was money first used?

The first metal coins were
minted in about 800 B.C.
These coins were made of
gold or silver.
Before coins
were made, people followed
the barter system, in which
goods were exchanged for
Paper money was
invented much later in 800 A.D. in China.


.1.Who invented the telephone?

The telephone was invented by a

Scottish American Alexander
Graham Bell in 1875.
But, the
first telephone was made in
His telephone had a
disadvantage that the voice
was very faint.
Thomas Edison
modified the existing one and
produced a much more successful telephone.

2.Who invented the radio?

Guglielmo Marconi, an
Italian built the first
proper radio set in 1895.
It sent messages
through radio waves.
Signals were sent not through wires
but through air.

3.What are communication satellites and which was the first one?

A communication satellite or COMSAT, is an artificial
satellite which orbits the Earth, picking up signals and
sending them on to a receiver, thousands of kilometres away.
The first active satellite was Telstar, which orbited in 1962.


1.What did William Harvey discover?

William Harvey, an English
doctor was the first one to
describe the circulation of blood.
He revealed the fact that blood
flowed through the heart, veins
and arteries in one direction only.
He also
showed that the blood circulates all around
the body and returns to the heart along the

2.Who discovered the x-rays?

In 1895, a
German scientist
Wilhelm Rontgen
discovered that x-rays
could pass through paper,
wood and flesh but not
through metal or bone.
his discovery, X-rays were used to
photograph bones in the body.

Home Appliances

1.Who made the invention of washing machine?

In 1858, Hamilton
Smith of Pennsylvania
made the first washing
But, this
machine was not
Finally, in
the year 1912 a new
machine was invented,
which operated by
electronic power.
The first fully automatic washing machine
came in the year 1937.
A combination of washer dryer came
in the market in 1953.

2.How old is the refrigerator?

The first mechanical refrigerator which
worked with the help of steam pumps was
invented in 1879, by a
German engineer,
Karl von Linde.
In 1925, the first electrical
refrigerator was sold in the market.
was invented by Swedish engineers Platen
and Munters.

Useful Materials

1.Who discovered plastic?

Parkesine was the
first plastic
which was
discovered by
Parkes, in 1860.
Parkesine was made from materials
obtained from plants like cellulose and
A Belgian chemist, Leo Baekeland invented plastic
which was made from chemicals, in 1907.

2.Who made the first steel?

In 1740, steel was produced for the first time by
Benjamin Huntsman.
But, his method of producing
steel was not successful, as it was expensive.
Later, in 1856 a
Britisher, Henry
Bassemer dis-
covered a new
method of
producing steel
in large
quantities and at
a lower cost.


1.What is gun powder?

Gunpowder is a mixture of saltpetre (potassium nitrate)
sulphur and charcoal.
This is used in fireworks.
It is believe
to have been invented in the 9th century in China.
Gunpowder was the only explosive used in the civil domain
until the 19th century, it was used for building tunnels in

2.When was the first tank made?

The world’s first tank was built
by William Foster & Company
of Lincoln, Lincolnshire,
It was designed in July
1915 and on August 11, 1915 its construction began.
tank, Number 1 Lincoln Machine, or Little Willie as it was
fondly called, made it’s first run-on September 06, 1915 and
shortly thereafter saw combat action.

3.When was the first atomic bomb made?

A critical mass of uranium-235 or plutonium-239 was
obtained to start the fission reaction with the release of
tremendous energy and a chain reaction.
Uranium-235 was
replaced by plutonium-239 and the first experimental
explosion took place on 16th July, 1945, under the name


1.When were mechanical looms invented?

About 7,000 years ago cloth was made
manually by using simple looms.
Cloth was made by weaving threads
together at right angles to one
In the mid 1700
mechanical and power driven
looms were invented.

2.Who discovered silk?

About 4,600 years ago silk was discovered by the
Around 3,500 years ago they started breeding silk
They set up farms for this purpose, but for another
2,000 years, no other country in the world knew about it.
Chinese silk was traded for gold and silver.

3.When was the first sewing machine developed?

In 1829, a French tailor named
Barthelemy Thimonnier developed the
first sewing machine, which was
destroyed by other tailors.
Later, the lock
stitch machine was invented in 1833,
by Walter Hunt, which was further
improved by Elias Howe, in 1845.

Transport-On Land

1.When was wheel invented?

One of the greatest inventions by
mankind was the wheel.
The wheel was invented about 5,500
years ago in the
Middle East.
Ancient carts
and chariots
were made with
two or four
wheels and were
pulled by oxen or horses.

2.When was bicycle invented?

The bicycle was invented in 1790, in
It was simply two wheels
joined by a rod with a seat on
the top.
The rider had to pus
it along the ground by foot.
In 1865, the bicycle with pedals
was invented.
The modern type
of bicycle appeared in the 1880S
which had air filled tyres and
chain driven rear wheel.

Transport-On Sea

1.When was the first steam boat built?

The first working
steam boat was
built by a
named Marquis
de Jouffroy d’
Abbans, in 1783.
The paddle of
this boat worked
by a steam engine.

2.What is a submarine?

A submarine is a
watercraft that can
It has
several huge
tanks inside it,
which are filled
with air, when the
boat is floating.
Air being lighter than water keeps the
submarine afloat.
The ‘turtle’ was the world’s first submarine
with a documented record of use in combat

Transport-By Air

1.Who made the first flight?

Francois de Rozier and Marquis d’
Arlandes were the first men to fly in a
hot air balloon on 21st November, 1783.
The balloon had a basket beneath it, for
carrying people.

2.What were Wright Brothers famous for?

The first people to fit a petrol engine
and propeller to a glider were Orville
and Wilbur Wright.
Orville made
the world’s first flight on 17th

3.Who built the first helicopter?

The first helicopter was built by Paul Cornu, in 1907.
The helicopter went upto a
height of 30 centimetres and
remained in the air for 20 seconds.

Important Inventions & Discoveries


The first practical radio signalling system was invented by an electrical engineer and Nobel laureate Marconi Guglielmo Marchese (1874 1937). As early as 1890, he became interested in wireless telegraphy, By 1895, he succeeded in sending signals to a point, a few kilometres away, by means of a directional antenna. After patenting his system in Great Britain, he formed Marconi’s Wireless Telegraph Company Ltd. in London. In 1899, he established communication across the English Channel between England and France. In 1901, he communicated signals across the Atlantic Ocean between Poldhu, in Cornwall,England and St John’s in New Foundland, Canada. His system was soon adopted by the British and Italian navies. By 1907, it had been so much improved that transatlantic wireless telegraph service was established for public use.

Important Inventions & Discoveries


The first typewriters were patented as devices to help the blind. In the United States, the first typewriter was patented by William Burt in 1829 It was known as a typographer, but there exists no example of this machine. In 1833, a Frenchman, Xavier Progin, invented a machine which employed type bars with a key lever for every letter. In 1843, an American, Charles Thurber, patented a machine which employed a set of type bars placed around a brass wheel. The wheel rotated on a central pivot. It was brought around by hand to the letter desired and the inked type struck directly upon the paper beneath. However, it was very slow to make this machine practical. Finally, in 1873, the first practical typewriter was invented by Christopher Lathom Sholes, Samuel Soule and Carlos Glidden. It went on sale in 1874. It had a paper inserted around a rubber cylinder, an inked ribbon, reversible spools for the ribbon and a moving carriage.

Important Inventions & Discoveries


In 1875, a Scottish American inventor Alexander Graham Bell discovered a way to send the human voice along wires. When Bell began experimenting with electrical signals, the telegraph had been an established means of communication for some 30 years. Although it was a highly successful system yet the tele graph with its dot and dash Morse code was basically limited to receiving and sending one message at a time. Bell’s extensive knowledge enabled him to conjecture the possibility of transmitting multiple messages over the same wire at the same time. His harmonic telegraph was based on the principle that several notes could be sent simultaneously along the same wire if the notes or signals differed in pitch. Finally, in 1876, he built the first working telephone which came as a direct attempt to improve the telegraph. Within months, hundreds of telephone bells were ringing all over America.


Important Inventions & Discoveries


The word ‘pencil’ comes from the Greek word ‘penicillus’ which means “little tail’. This word was used to refer to a fine brush. The word ‘pencil’ originally meant a small, fine pointed brush. Pencils, as we know today, are about 200 years old. About 500 years ago, graphite was discovered in a mine in Cumber land, England. It is believed that some sort of crude pencils may have been invented. In Nuremberg, Germany the popular Faber family established its business, in 1760, and used pulverized graphite to make a sort of pencil. But they were not very successful. Finally, in 1795, the modern pencil was invented by a Frenchman named Nicholas Jacque Conte. Pencils were made of graphite. They were ground with certain clays, pressed into sticks and fired in a kiln. Their invention was a great success as they could be easily sharpened and erased.


Important Inventions & Discoveries


The first real pens were made by the Egyptians. They tied a piece ofcopper to the end of a hollow stem. The first letter handwriting was done by the Greeks almost 4,000 years ago. They used o pen consisting of metal, bone or ivory and wrote on wax tablets Still later, a split pen was made from a hollow tube, like grass, which was dipped into a kind of ink and utilized to write on papyrus. When paper was discovered, man learnt that the tail or wing feathers of a goose, crow or swan could be converted into a pen. Steel pens began to be manufactured in 1780’s, but didn’t become famous for another 40 years. The first fountain pens were made in the United States during the 1880’s. The ball-point pen was invented by a Hungarian journalist Ladislao Biro in 1938. It contained a tube of quick drying ink which rolled evenly onto a piece of paper.


Important Inventions & Discoveries


Thousands of years ago, the Romans struck two flinty stones together to create a spark. Modern matches were possible by the discovery phosphorus, a substance which catches fire at a very low temperature. In 1681, an Englishman known as Robert dipped a stick of wood which had been coated with sulphur and phosphorus. But the matches caught fire so easily that his invention wasn’t practical. The first practical matches were made in England by a druggist called John Walker. By 1833, phosphorus typed matches that would be ignited by friction were being manufactured in Austria andGermany. But there was one problem. White or yellow phosphorus was harmful to the match-makers. The first safety-matches were produced in Sweden in 1844. Instead of putting all the essential chemicals in the match head, the non-poisonous red phosphorus was painted into the striking surface on the container.


Important Inventions & Discoveries


The bicycle was invented in the 1790s in France. But this two-wheeled conveyance moved by pushing the feet along the ground. It was Baron VonDrais, a German, who made a bike with a steerable front wheel in 1817. The two wheels were joined by a wooden bar. The rider rested part of his weight on a wooden arm-rest in front and propelled himself by kicking the ground, first with one foot and then with the other. He steered by moving a handle on the front wheel which was pivoted. In 1840, a Scotsman named Kirkpatrick Macmillan made a bike with pedals and cranks to turn the back wheel. The name ‘bicycle’ was first used in 1865. Finally, in around 1885, the modern safety bicycle was developed. In this kind, the wheels were of the same size and the rider’s seat was a bit forward of the rear wheel. When the sprocket on pedals was made bigger than that on the rear wheel, it covered greater distance.


Important Inventions & Discoveries


Before camera was developed, people could only record images by Canon drawing or painting them. It was only in the early 1800 that photography was invented. The first permanent photograph was taken by a Frenchman, Joseph Niepce, in 1827. He had made a rough photographic camera from a jewel box and a lens taken from a microscope. It took eight hours for the photo of a view to develop on a thin metal plate. He was able to make a negative image. In 1835, William Talbot was the first to develop positives from negatives, the first to make ever lasting pictures. Box cameras used lens to focus the light rays onto a metal or glass photographic plate at the back of the camera. The light changed the chemicals on the plate and the picture was taken in a few minutes. George Eastman, an American, was the first to introduce the rolls of film in 1888.


Important Inventions & Discoveries


About 5,000 years ago, the Sumerians were the first to invent the true writing system. They used pictures to stand for objects, ideas and sounds. A picture of the sun meant a day, two marks next to the sun meant two days. Such signs were known as pictographs. As civilization developed, this style of writing was speeded up by modifying the pictures. The ancient Egyptians used a system of signs known as K+ hieroglyphics. Over the centuries, they developed a phonetic system. This meant that the signs represented sound rather than objects. Later, a way of spelling words according to sound was developed. For example,belief was written by drawingthe picture of a bee and a leaf. The next stage in the development of writing was the idea of using an alphabet of single letters. Both the ancient Egyptians and the Babylonians knew how to write in the alphabetic way.


Important Inventions & Discoveries


The first underwater swimmers could only dive as long as they couldhold their breath. This meant that they could explore only a few metres below the surface of the water. Deeper underwater exploration was done using a diving bell, which was a cumbersome tank. It could take divers 15 metres below the surface. Underwater swimmerscould move about freely only with the advent of aqualung. The aqualung was invented by a French diver named Jacques Cousteau and an engineer named Emite Gagnan in 1943. This device consisted of a mouthpiece fitted with a special valve connected to an air-tank worn on the back. Using his aqualung, Cousteau made amazing underwater films, as he explored the oceans of the world.


Important Inventions & Discoveries


The notion of a balloon-flight first occurred in the mind of two Frenchmen, when they saw smoke rising up inside a chimney. This made Joseph and Etienne Montgolfier to build the first man-carrying balloon. The balloon made by them was filled with hot air from a fire to render the lift required for flying. Though they made the first balloon yet they could not become the first air-traveller. The balloon had a basket underneath for carrying passing gers. The first travellers were a sheep, a cock and a duck. The honour of making the first balloon-flight is shared byFrancois de Rozier and Marguis d’ Arlandes. This historic flight, carrying the two men, took place on 21st November, 1783. With this, there emerged the era of flying.


Important Inventions & Discoveries


The submarine is a metal vessel which is closed from all sides and able to easily float both on the surface of water and underwater order to go underwater, a Dutchman named Corneluis Drebbe invented a wooden submarine in 1620. The submarine or bos capable of travelling underwater was rowed by 12 oarsmen. It travelled several kilometres up River Thames in London, England. It could reach up to a depth of 3 to 4 metres into the sea water. Thereafter, efforts were made to bring out other types of submarines. Till 1727, fourteen different types of submarines had been invented in England alone. In 1776, an American named David Bushnell designed the Turtle. This was the first submarine that could rise and sink. In 1880, a submarine powered by the steam engine was discovered. Later on, submarines propelled by gasoline and electricity came into existence.


Important Inventions & Discoveries


The stethoscope was invented by a French doctor named Rene T. H. Loennec. It was a one-foot-long hollow wooden cylinder. He put one end of the cylinder onto his patient’schest and listened to the sounds produced by the chest through the other end. On comparing such sounds from different patients, he could reach to certain conclusions. In 1819, he published those conclusions in the form of a book. Soon, the stethoscope came into general use. Since then, many modifications have been made in its design. It basically consists of a contact-piece called the chest-piece. This can be a flat chest-piece for high pitched sounds or a bell-shaped open-ended chest piece for low pitched sounds. It conducts sounds through two flexible rubber or plastic tubes to a pair of ear pieces which fit into the physician’s ears.


Important Inventions & Discoveries


Christopher Columbus was an Italian navigator who set off on a historic voyage in 1492. He wanted to cross the Atlantic in order to find an easy route to Asia, from where he could obtain valuable spices and other exotic goods. Columbus decided to reach Asia by sailing westwards across the Atlantic because the world was round. He thought that he had landed in Asia. In fact, he had only reached islands in the Caribbean Sea. There, he explored the Bahamas and then headed for the coast of the island Cuba. Finally, he dropped anchor on Haiti, whose warm climate and beautiful scenery greatly impressed him. At first, he was frustrated when he could not find the trading cities of the East. But the people of Haiti traded gold for his goods.In return, he gathered food such as pineapples, sweetcorn and sweet potatoes which had never been seen in Europe. Thus, Columbus had become the first European to reach America since the Vikings.


Important Inventions & Discoveries


X rays are electromagnetic waves of short wavelength, capable of penetrating some thickness of matter. In 1895, Röntgen discovered mysterious rays coming from a Cathode Ray Tube. The rays were notdeflected by magnets and could penetrate most objects. Further investigation showed that the rays were generated at the point of contact of r the cathode ray beam on the interior of the vacuum tube. They were not deflected by magne tic fields and they penetrated many kinds of matter. A week after his discovery, Rontgen took an X-ray photograph of his wife’s hand which clearly revealed her wedding ring and her bones. The photograph electrified the general public and aroused great scientific interest in the new form of radiation. Röntgen named the new form of radiation, X radiation, (X standing for “Unknown”). Since he didn’t know what it was, he called it X-Ray. Calcium in bones absorbs more X-Rays than fat and muscle. So, these rays can be used to take the pictures of bones.


In 1828, Johann Buchner, professor of pharmacy at the University Munich, isolated a tiny amount of bitter tasting yellow, needle like crystals, which he called salicin. Henri Leroux had extracted salicin in crystalline form for the first time. Raffaele Piria succeeded in obtaining the salicylic acid in its pure state. The problem was that salicylic acid was tough on stomach So, a means of ‘buffering’ thecompound was searched for The first person to do so was a French chemist named Charles Frederic Gerhardt. In 1853, Gerhardt neutralized salicylic acid by buffering it with sodium (sodium salicylate) and acetyl chloride, creating acetylsalicylic acid. In 1899, a German chemist, named Felix Hoffmann, who worked for a German company called Bayer, rediscovered Gerhardt’s formula. Felix Hoffmann made some of the formula and gave it to his father who was suffering from the pain of arthritis. With good results, Felix Hoffmann, then, convinced Bayerto market the new wonder drug. Aspirin was patented on 6th March, 1889, and was first sold as a powder In 1915, the first Aspirin tablets weremade.




Toothpaste was used as long ago as 500 BC in both China and India. However, modern toothpastes were developed in the 1800s. In 1824, a dentist named Peabody was the first person to add soap to toothpaste. John Harris first added chalk as an ingredient to toothpaste in the 1850s. In 1892, Dr Washington Sheffield of Connecticut manufactured toothpaste into a collapsible tube. Advancements in synthetic detergents allowed for the replacement of the soap used in toothpaste with emulsifying agents such as Sodium Lauryl Sulphate and Sodium Ricinoleate. A few years later, Colgate started to add fluoride to toothpaste. Natural bristle-brushes were invented by the ancient Chinese, who made toothbrushes with bristles from the necks of cold climate pigs. French dentists were the first Europeans to promote the use of toothbrushes in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. William Addis of Clerkenwald, England, created the first mass produced toothbrush. The first American to patent a toothbrush was H. N. Wadsworth.


In ancient times, when people wanted to buy anything they had to give something else in exchange. This was called barter system which involved goods in exchange of goods. With the development of trade, the barter system became inefficient. Then, there came the use of token or symbolic goods in exchange. For example, American Indians used beads of shells, Fyians used whale’s teeth. As per the available sources, the earliest coins date back to about 700 BC, when stamped pieces of metal were used as a medium of exchange by the Lydians. The Lydians were wealthy and powerful people who lived in Asia Minor. The early coins were made of electrum, which is a natural composition of 75% gold and 25% silver. They were about the size and shape of beans and were known as ‘standards’. The value of the coins depended on the value of the metal that the coins were made of. Mostly, gold, silver and copper coins were used.

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List of Important Inventions & Discoveries

Printing And Writing

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