The past half-century has produced some of the most important and amazing inventions ever developed in human history, and many notable ones emerged in the United States. From advances in computing to fundamental innovations in our medicine cabinets, many of the American inventions on this list play a role in our daily lives, while others have had a broader impact on society as a whole. However, they are all exclusively American creations. Apple, IBM, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are well-known names in the world of technology these days, but a relatively unknown man named John Blankenbaker is credited with inventing the world's first personal computer.
Blankenbaker pioneered the frontier of computing when he built the Kenback-1 digital computer in his California garage. In 1971, the athletics coach and co-founder of Nike, Bill Bowerman, was looking for a lightweight, cleat-free sneaker that would have a good grip on various surfaces. One morning, he poured rubberized liquid into his wife's waffle maker and the waffle sole was born. The shoe was so successful that Nike still sells Waffle Trainers to this day.
As a young student at the University of Illinois in 1971, Michael Hart changed the world forever with the invention of the e-book. Hart came up with the innovative idea after finding a physical copy of the Declaration of Independence, which he decided to write and send to other users of the university's network. The Gutenberg Project, one of the largest collections of free e-books online, was another of Hart's many achievements. From Atari and Intellivision to Nintendo and today's impressive web-based video games, gamers around the world need to thank Ralph Baer for his love.
Baer invented the Magnavox Odyssey, the world's first home video game console, after realizing that television, which was common in 1972, had more to offer. Nowadays, in virtually every office in the United States, you can find small squares of brightly colored paper temporarily glued to surfaces. In 1974, Arthur Fry and Spencer Silver, colleagues from 3M, invented the well-known Post-it Note: the first created paper and the second developed glue. In 1975, the first nail was stuck in the movie camera casket when Eastman Kodak engineer Steven Sasson invented the digital camera.
The 24-year-old from Brooklyn was the first to use a new technology called digitalization to capture images. Four decades later, we carry his invention in the pockets of our phones. Adobe Photoshop is so basic for image editing that, when an image appears manipulated, it is common to say that it has been retouched with Photoshop, even if the image was edited with a different program. However, the word didn't exist before 1987, when the Knoll brothers, Thomas and John, developed the first version of the software, which was initially bought by another company before Adobe realized its incredible potential.
In 1988, Northrop-Grumman introduced a superaircraft that he had been building for nearly a decade. The B-2, better known as a stealth bomber, was a huge and deadly aircraft with a design that evaded radar and made it almost undetectable even by the most advanced anti-aircraft systems. In 1992, a professor at the University of Buffalo, Jerome Schentag, and the president of Gastrotarget, David D'Andrea, invented the smart pill. The smart pill, a revolutionary medical advance, is a medical device encapsulated in the form of a pill and controlled by a computer.
When patients swallow the pill, they swallow the device. In 1993, Ashok Gadgil invented a lightweight, easy-to-use, and inexpensive device that used UV light to purify water. It could process four gallons per minute at a cost of 5 cents per thousand gallons. The product, which can supply clean water to remote rural areas, has become vital after hurricanes and other natural disasters, and is one of many American inventions that have helped save lives.
Wi-Fi is a fundamental ingredient for daily life in the digital age. Although the government had been using Wi-Fi before 1999, that was the year it was released to the public, but not before a major naming war and the fight to create compatible devices by several rival companies. During the last year of the 20th century, Apple began adding Wi-Fi slots to all of its laptops. When scientists Francis Collins and Craig Venter began working on mapping the human genome in the early 1990s, the government had already used a much slower and more expensive method to sequence the 3 billion base pairs of the human genome.
By developing a cheaper and faster method, Collins and Venter completed the project two years earlier and published their results in 2001, ushering in a new era in the effort to prevent and cure diseases. Although other companies had launched their own MP3 players, Apple's introduction of the iPod in 2001 revolutionized portable music and set the tone for how people would interact with their devices in the digital age. It also positioned Apple as the dominant force in technological hardware for the next decade. Hailed by Time magazine as one of the best inventions of 2001, the bioartificial liver brought new hope to patients around the world.
Kenneth Matsumura, the bioartificial liver, used both the patient's blood and living rabbit cells to mimic the natural organ's blood-cleansing process. YouTube is the world's most popular video sharing site. Developed by PayPal employees Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, the site's user-friendly and shareable format has been a key factor not only in American culture, but also in global events, from the Arab Spring uprisings to the rise of Justin Bieber. To see more American inventions and innovators looking to make a difference in the world, check out 26 companies that are doing good deeds with their money.
Few men stand out in American history like Benjamin Franklin. Inventor, ancestor and statesman are just some of the many titles he held in his life. Among the historic autographs on sale today, Benjamin Franklin is one of the most sought after. Despite never having been president, Franklin has clearly achieved that status in history, in part because of his contributions as an inventor.
You may also have learned in elementary school that Benjamin Franklin discovered electricity. While that's not entirely true, it's close. After retiring from publishing at age 42, Franklin spent most of his time conducting electrical experiments. Finally, he discovered that a lightning rod that was connected to the ground could absorb electricity and protect buildings from fire.
The first lockable locker design was used as a shoe closure, which was thought to be an invention designed to simplify the complex process of buttoning boots that were all the rage at the end of the 19th century. With the help of chemist Henry Reichenbach, Eastman was able to invent a transparent film that could be glued directly to the camera. In fact, the Internet tops this list of inventions because it has created a means for other inventions and related technology to become tools that are so ubiquitous and well-known to humanity. For other people, the Internet was invented in the United States, the World Wide Web was in the United Kingdom, and both are different things.
In addition to his invention of cardiac defibrillators, William Kouwenhoven was also known as the father of CPR due to his development of the closed chest cardiac massage technique. As a botanist, chemist, and inventor, George Washington Carver was sure to make a discovery in the agricultural world. Edison's inventions were so widely adopted that other inventors worked on their own electrical patents that improved his designs, which is a testament to how Edison influenced others. Here is a list of 20 things invented by Americans that have become part of everyday life here and around the world.
The device that would become the well-known computer, trackball and TrackPoint began as the pointer, invented by IBM computer scientists Ted Selker and Joe Rutledge in 1984. Countless heartbeats have been normalized and lives have been saved thanks to the invention of cardiac defibrillators. Thomas Edison built on Röntgen's findings and used his research as a basis for inventions such as a fluorescent lamp. Many people, not all laymen, mistakenly assume that certain people INVENTED electric lights, radio, television, computers, record players, recorders, hovercraft, airplanes, helicopters and, of course, JET ENGINES. .