View Full Version : A little OT, but what the heck "10 greatest inventions"

Dr Stan
10-22-2013, 07:28 PM
From the article:

A competition sponsored in 1913 by Scientific American asked for essays on the 10 greatest inventions. The rules: “our time” meant the previous quarter century, 1888 to 1913; the invention had to be patentable and was considered to date from its “commercial introduction.”


Just keep in mind the time frame (1913). I think it was wise of them to compile the lists and produce one that was representative of the entries.

10-22-2013, 10:10 PM
Neat article! I thought it amusing that the modern article took the politically correct path of describing Marconi as "given the credit for making wireless 'commercially practical.'" But at least they did cite Tesla for inventing the induction motor :)

I also found it fascinating that they described the airplane as a neat invention that hadn't been commercialized yet! :D The patent wars the Wright Brothers had over their flight controls were legendary, similar to the radio and lightbulb patent wars.

Apropos to the forum, notice that they include High-speed Steel cutting tools as a bold new invention.

01-30-2014, 08:04 AM
Futurists delight! These possibly world-changing inventions (http://personalmoneynetwork.com/moneyblog/2012/12/12/future-inventions-change-world/) will not only save you time, but cash and, in some instances, your life.

01-30-2014, 04:02 PM
Very interesting and thought-provoking articles. Just recently I happened to watch the classic movie, "Edison, the Man", and it seemed a bit one-sided in terms of the awe and recognition of his accomplishments compared to others such as Nikola Tesla who IMHO was much more a genius but lacked Edison's business acumen and ruthlessness that made him a financial success. The film credited Edison with the electric power grid which was actually only made practical by Tesla and Westinghouse. I grew up with my idol first being Ben Franklin, and then Thomas Edison, but when I finally learned more about Tesla and Edison, my admiration shifted more toward Tesla, and I despised some of Edison's "cheap tricks" intended to boost his agenda for DC power and discredit Tesla's AC.

I also liked some of the comments, particularly those that opined that pretty much all of these inventions did little to really improve our quality of life, and today we are arguably worse off than we were 100 years ago in terms of living in peace and safety, with good health and true happiness which can't be measured by how much money or how many "things" we have.

My own vote for the top "invention" is the intentional community, particularly as exemplified by those that emphasize sustainability and idealistic democratic processes such as equal voice and consensus in decision making, and equitably shared resources and responsibilities. But the most important attribute is freedom to enjoy life and spend more quality time at leisure and learning and communicating with others in conjunction with a respect for and understanding of nature.

loose nut
01-30-2014, 05:34 PM
There used to be a book available called "Yesterdays Tomorrows" which was all about the 1920-1930 view of the future and what inventions would be available to us today. Good read if you can find it. It has lots of pictures if you are a machinist.

Where the hell is my flying car????

Stu Miller
01-30-2014, 09:09 PM
Why didn't sliced bread make the list? As in "greatest thing since than sliced bread"

01-30-2014, 09:38 PM
Sliced bread is great, but Weinerslider is never mentioned.

01-31-2014, 04:22 AM
The day off was the greatest invention.

01-31-2014, 04:38 AM
Hmm, I see the page for almost one second, then I get aw-snapped.

loose nut
01-31-2014, 10:28 AM
The day off was the greatest invention.

Retirement is a better invention. Everyday is a Saturday.

01-31-2014, 12:35 PM
The only problem with retirement is that when you wake up and put your feet on the floor you are on the job!

01-31-2014, 03:10 PM
#1 is the human female! Also #1 on the most damnedest list!!
But then, that was invented before the time frame designated.

Alistair Hosie
01-31-2014, 03:22 PM
Dentures were a miraculous invention, and I am not talking about hand carved wooden ones with sheeps teeth that queen elizabeth had. Not the old gal we have now but the original * lizzie the first * she was meant to be a horror *what's changed* with a face ravaged and horse like .It took her four hours or more to get ready to see anyone as she was bald and heavily pitted complexion she only popped the teeth in, seemingly to discuss matters of court wearing them behind a fan or handkerchief she used to wave in front of her face .They were too ill fitting and painful to try eating but seriously dentures go back to the egyptians. And I say they revolutionised the then modern world .Alistair

loose nut
01-31-2014, 07:31 PM
The only problem with retirement is that when you wake up and put your feet on the floor you are on the job!

True enough but it is one hell of a job.

01-31-2014, 09:03 PM
You know how Edison has all those patents? Well I found out how when I got my third one while working for someone else. It turns out that if you already have a patent and a co-inventor doesn't your name always goes first on the patent. So the patent I shared with my boss is listed under my name. Hence Edison always got listed before his helpers!

Paul Alciatore
01-31-2014, 11:55 PM
I noticed reinforced concrete down about #6 on the list. Just think how much we use that. I am sitting on a slab of reinforced concrete right now. Virtually all of our buildings use it below, on, and above the ground. From foundations to roofs. We drive on it. We walk on it. We shop on it. We have made boats with it. Even our sewage moves through it.

Where would we be without it? Perhaps in deep do-do. Or up the creek without a boat to paddle.

02-01-2014, 03:50 AM
Its interesting that the romans had concrete to build the coloseum, then everyone forgot about it!, then it got rediscovered, at least thats what the guide said, seems accurite as the bulk of it was indeed concrete.