The Best of Inventions

When you think of Inventors, who comes to mind? Ben Franklin and bifocals? Thomas Edison and the light bulb? The Wright Brothers and the airplane? Steve Jobs and iStuff? How about Les Paul and electric guitar stuff? Or Hedy Lamarr, an actress in the 1930s – 1950s? Her name doesn’t ring a bell? In 2014, she was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Why? She and composer George Antheil developed “a radio guidance system for torpedoes” which could not be jammed by enemies.

Perhaps with such people and creations in mind, National Geographic magazine has put out a special addition entitled: 101 Inventions That Shaped The World. They describe the 101 most important inventions of all-time. The 101 inventions were divided into 5 categories. To avoid overloading you (or myself) with too much information, here are the 5 categories and 10 inventions from each group.


Advances in Medicine = Cloning; Oral Birth Control; DNA; Germ Theory (to explain illness); Artificial Insulin; Penicillin; Microscope; Vaccines (eg, polio); Contact Lenses; Band Aids (see above).


Communication and Transportation = Printing Press; Telegraph; Typewriter; Photography; Motion Pictures; Satellite Communication; World Wide web; Astrolabe (for sailing); Interstate Highway; Parking Meters (see above).


Military and Industry = Atomic Bomb; Gunpowder; Rifle; Aircraft Carrier; Submarine; Sonar; Rubber (tires); Steam Engine; Duct Tape (see above); Assembly Line.


Science and Electronics = Spaceflight; Robotics; Periodic Table; Modern Numbers (ie, 0 – 10, etc.);   Computer; Transistor; Microwave Oven (see above); Television; Phonograph; Radio.


Everyday Items = Beer; Safety Razor; Drinking Fountain; WD – 40 (see above); Currency; Toilet Paper; Disposable Diaper; Light bulb; Zipper; Video Games.


Just for fun, what would you choose as the most important invention in each group? Of your 5 choices, what would be the most important of them all?

And, finally, why isn’t the rubber band mentioned? Any other omissions that you would add?


About rcarmean

Two things... First, why have I decided to establish this blog? I like to put essays together. I research an idea or topic looking for information, statistics, stories, quotes, pictures, etc. I enjoy the process and seeing a finished product. I’m told that as I get older, new activities can help maintain energy and keep my brain alert. In other words, I am not doing this for money or fame. Second, regarding the gentleman in the collage of pictures's not me. Those are photos of Christy Mathewson. Why him? When I was young, my primary activity was being sick. It took up much of my time. Eczema (a case so bad I was written up in a medical journal showing doctors what their patients COULD look like), asthma, and allergies. You know allergies: don’t eat this, don’t wear that, and, for Heaven’s sake, don’t touch any of these things (eg, dogs, cats, horses --I only saw horses in cowboy movies and TV shows, dust, swimming pools, my brother --OK, that’s an exaggeration, Rick was a fine brother). In my spare time between doctors' appointments, pills, and ointments, baseball kept me sane. In the 1940s and 1950s, when I grew up, pro footballI and basketball had not yet become extremely popular. Baseball truly was “the national pastime.” I listened to games on the radio (remember it? TV without the picture). I read magazines, books, and newspaper accounts of games. I collected baseball cards. I learned about the game’s history, as well as present. The same with its stars. One man stood out: Christy Mathewson. He was a great pitcher for the New York Giants in the early 20th century. But there was much more to him. At a time when professional athletes made little money (yes, there was such a time) and ball players were considered on the same level as actors, artists, and prostitutes, Mathewson stood out. One of his nicknames was: “The Christian Gentleman.” Most men is baseball drank, smoked, cursed, and fought —with other players, umpires, and fans. The fights were physical, not just verbal. Mathewson did none of these things. But he earned the respect of other players who did them all. Even Ty Cobb and John McGraw. There’s more. He was a college graduate (Bucknell University) when most men were lucky to have a high school diploma. He played other sports, including pro football which you wouldn’t recognize. He was handsome. He played in New York City, then as now, the largest city in the country. Excellence and popularity there meant fame and money. He dressed well. Today, his commercials would rival LeBron’s. And, finally, a hero’s life must have tragedy. After his playing career ended, WWI arrived. He suffered from influenza and was exposed to mustard gas. Chemical warfare. His lungs were damaged and he required treatment for the rest of his life. (Like my Grandfather who also fought in The Great War.) He died in 1925. He was 45 years old. I have his picture here because you need to know more about him than me. He was what an athlete could be. Players like him and their accomplishments got me through a sickly, painful childhood and can still sustain me in difficult times. *****
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