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The Top 10 Inventions That Changed the World

Updated on February 27, 2011

#10 - The Gun

We don't know the exact place or time that guns were invented, but they started popping up in the form of canons in the mid 12th century. The first handgun was not invented until the 15th century. Once the gun was invented and perfected, it changed the way wars were fought forever.

#9 - Global Positioning Systems (GPS)

The GPS was invented by the US Department of Defense. It cost $12 billion dollars to create. GPS units are now quite popular, being used by cars, boats, and planes. The technology has become so advanced, they can even build a GPS into something as small as a watch. 

#8 - Microwaves

The use of radar waves to cook food was accidentally discovered when the waves melted a chocolate bar in someone's pocket. The first microwave emerged in 1954, it was called the 1161 Radarange. The microwave developed from being a machine only reasonable for industrial or restaurant use to a machine that has a place in almost everyone's home.

#7 - The Camera

The first photo was taken around 1817. A couple decades later the first film was used, in 1885. The first camera, named the Kodak, became available in 1888. The Kodak came ready to take 100 photographs, but after that it had to be sent back to the factory for reloading. The first digital camera, developed in 1975, weighed a lofty 8 pounds. It also only took black and white photos, took several seconds to take a picture, and had a grainy 0.01 megapixels. The first commercially available digital camera was produced in 1990. Now cameras are used everywhere, they have even made their way into most cell phones,

#6 - X-rays

The first X-ray was taken in 1895 by Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen. Medical X-rays use fast electrons coming to a quick halt at a metal surface. Different tissues have different absorbtion rates. With air absorbing the least, flesh absorbing a moderate amount, and bones absorbing the most. The word X-ray comes from X-radiation (X representing an unknown variable). X-rays are a widespread tool now, being used millions of times daily for medical tests.

#5 - Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi was invented the the NCR Corp in 1991. The word WiFi suggests it represents Wireless Fidelity. However, it was made to be a name similar to the popular term 'Hi-Fi', used to describe sound equipment. Wi-Fi allows you to connect to the internet wirelessly, and is sometimes offered in public places. Networks can be secured with a password, or insecured.

#4 - Cell Phones

The first handheld mobile phone was invented in 1973 by Martin Cooper. The first cell network was started in Tokyo in 1979. In 1981, the cellular network expanded to cover Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden. The first network in North America popped up in 1983 in the United States. Cell phones quickly spread over almost all the world. You are now able to even access the internet through the cellular network.

#3 - Credit Cards

Credit cards started showing up in the 1920s in the US. The first credit card that was linked to a bank was in 1946 in New York. Credit cards next started being used in restaurants in 1950. Later that decade, in 1958, American Express came out with their first card. Shortly after, also in 1958, Visa (at that time Bankamericard) came out with their first card. In the 1960s the companies made a turn towards using plastic to make the cards. The industry grew in the 1960s and 70s, with American Express, Visa, and Mastercard emerging. Today it is a massive industry, with most people carrying around several cards.

#2 - Computers

In 1938 the first programmable computer was invented. Then, in 1939 Hewlett-Packard was born. Their first product was the HP 200A. In 1942 the first digital computer was made by Professor John Atanasoff. Suddenly, in 1955, the first computer with RAM was introduced, making a big leap in the development of what computers are today. In 1971 the first PC was invented, called the Kenback-1. In 1975 the first laptop came out, the IBM 5100. In the next year, 1976, the first Apple computer was introduced into the market. Now the market is extremely competitive with dozens of different brands, models, and systems.

#1 - The Combustion Engine

Ah, where would we be without the combustion engine. Would we be all driving electric vehicles that seem to constantly need recharging? What about back-up power? What happens if the power goes out. No combustion engine, no back-up generator. Cars would not be what they are today without the combustion engine. In 1680 designs were drawn up of a combustion engine to be fueled by gunpowder. The first internal combustion engine was made in 1807, and was installed into a car. However, it did not operate very well. Then, in 1824 an old steam engine was changed to use gas. Eventually in 1890, the first 4-stroke, 4-cylinder engine was made. Now you can get engines in cars up to 16 cylinders. They have become quite fuel efficient. Now being used in almost all cars, the combustion engine is a worldwide tool for transportation and power.

What invention do you find the most useful?

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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      this is a true things

    • bubbleboy995 profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks for the suggestion

    • kennynext profile image


      10 years ago from Everywhere

      One thing you left out is the airplane.

    • mbantam aa 97 profile image

      mbantam aa 97 

      10 years ago

      This is such a cool Hub great Ideas (dice)

    • bubbleboy995 profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thank you for your vote and I'm glad you liked it!

    • melpor profile image

      Melvin Porter 

      10 years ago from New Jersey, USA

      Good hub. Rated up and very informative.


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