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Some of the Greatest Invention of All Times

Updated on July 14, 2017
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Jack is currently a volunteer at the Westchester County Archives. Jack has worked at IBM for over 28 years.


Over the ages, man has always try to improve our lot. The ingenuity of humans to invent things is astounding. Here are a few examples of inventions that are timeless.

- July 2017

Top Ten in no Particular Order

  • Paper
  • Ballpoint Pen
  • Bicycle
  • Light bulb
  • Eyeglasses
  • Remote Control
  • E-ZPass
  • flushed toilet
  • iPhone
  • UPC barcode


Communications is a key to our success as a species. We acquire knowledge and it needs to be recorded and past to the next generation. The best vehicle to do this is pen and paper. Paper is the most flexible and lasting medium. It was invented by the Chinese in around 100 BC. The rest is history.

The ballpoint pen is also a great invention. Before its invention, we used fountain pens or a quilt pen. You need to dip it in an ink well. The ball point pen changed all that. You can put it in your pocket and be ready to jot down anything important. It was invented by John Loud in 1888.

The bicycle is just about the perfect human powered vehicle. It is simple, light weight, compact and it can travel up to 15 miles per hour. With a gear box, you can go up and down hills and inclines. It is also very cheap. In 3rd world countries, it is the only thing that will get you around for very little costs. It was invented in the 1880's along with the rubber tires, it is a great combination.

The electric light bulb was invented by Thomas Edison after many failed attempts. It revolutionize our way of living. No longer are we to rely on the sun for light. We can be productive at night.

The eye glasses was invented by Benjamin Franklin. It allowed many people with poor eyesight to see clearly. It is a life saver for many. It is a simple and effective method to correct our eyes.

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The remote control is a great invention. In the past, you would have to get up off your chair, walk over to the TV set to change the channel. With the remote, it save time and energy. It allows us to see TV in a different way. It is also used in car garage opener, and AC controls and a slew of other appliances.

E-ZPass was invented in 1987. It is now adopted in 16 States. It allows the driver to drive through toll booths with speed and reduce the wait time. The toll is collected automatically from an electronic fund. It reduces the number of toll collectors which is a tedious job with low pay.

The flushed toilet is a great invention. In 1775 English inventor Alexander Cumming was granted the first patent for a flush toilet. His greatest innovation was the S-shaped pipe below the bowl that used water to create a seal preventing sewer gas from entering through the toilet. In the late-19th century, a London plumbing impresario named Thomas Crapper manufactured one of the first widely successful lines of flush toilets. Crapper did not invent the toilet, but he did develop the ballcock, an improved tank-filling mechanism still used in toilets today. Crapper’s name would become synonymous with the devices he sold (although the English word “crap” predates him by centuries), thanks in part to American servicemen stationed overseas during World War I.

The iPhone was invented by Apple Computer, and launched in 2007. It is now ubiquitous. This one device can do the job of a whole slew of devices. The best feature is its simple user interface. It is so easy to use, even a child can learn in a short time. That is the genius of Steve Jobs.

The bar code or UPC - universal product code. This simple idea has changed the way we shop. Together with the barcode scanner, it is a system that uniquely identify a product. When you go to the super market, the checkout is so much easier and faster with barcodes. Invented by Norman Joseph Woodland in 1952, he later worked at IBM to develop the UPC. A simple code with thin lines and thick lines can be converted to numeric codes.


It is safe to say, almost every person in this world are touched by these inventions on a daily basis. That is what make these inventions great.

© 2017 Jack Lee


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    • Pam Morris profile image

      Pam Morris 7 months ago from Atlanta Georgia

      You are so right; every item you have on the list are great inventions, now that they are invented it would be hard living without them.