Are You Still Stuck in the Dark Ages?

New Era of Technology

 

     
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8 Great Inventions That Have Shaped Life as We Know it Today

LED technology has the capability to influence our lives in different ways: zero maintenance/upkeep, less power consumption and cheaper electricity bills. It’s one of the advances that has changed, and continues to change, the way we live our lives. LEDs have been preceded by a number of inventions, many of which have shaped civilisation as we know it.

Interestingly, many of the items on this list are evolutions of inventions that were revolutionary within themselves, and, like LEDs, present more efficient and more cost-effective ways to do certain things and make our lives better.

 

The Dishwasher

It might surprise you to know that the dishwasher was invented as far back as 1887. Today these essential appliances make quick work of a very menial task. They’ve also been improved and updated so they use less water and less electricity than their original counterparts with many of them receiving energy efficiency ratings. But how did this invention come into being?

Invention of the Dishwasher

We owe our thanks, and our baby soft hands, to socialite Josephine Cochrane who, outraged by a servant who dared to chip her family China after a dinner party, and motivated by the death of her husband whose passing left her penniless (as well as her want to host more dinner parties), created a machine that emulated the way she had been washing her dishes by hand.

Her first design stacked the dishes in a rack and applied high pressure water to clean them off. By this time, society had been introduced to a sewing machine and a lawnmower, so the invention was well-received, although, not by the housewives you’d think would’ve been interested in it. Her first sales were actually to hotels and restaurants; however, most modern homes in the developed world are fitted with them today.

 

The Microwave Oven

Chocolate meltingPercy Spencer

Loved by lazy cooks and working people the world over, the microwave oven is one of those inventions that was created entirely by chance. It was invented by Percy Spencer, an engineer from the Raytheon Corporation, in 1946.

While working on a radar research project using a vacuum tube, he noticed the chocolate bar in his pocket start melting. Later, he held corn kernels close by and, sure enough, he ended up with popcorn. The first microwave ovens were sold commercially in 1967, and by 1975, had begun to outsell gas stoves. The rest, as they say, is modern history.

 

     
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The Electric Refrigerator

Electric Refrigerator

The invention of the electric refrigerator marked the end of days for the icebox, at least for homes with electricity in 1914. Its originator took the concept of the icebox, and made it more efficient and more sustainable. Not much is known about its inventor Florence Parpart, except that she is also credited with the invention of street sweeper machines.

 

The Electric Blanket

Electric BlanketElectric Blanket in use

Invented by Dr John Harvey Kellogg, who brought us one of the world’s most famous breakfast cereals, the electric blanket was yet another way the good doctor sought to keep his patients healthy. A great supporter of sleeping out of doors, Dr Kellogg’s electric blanket allowed his patients (who included the likes of Henry Ford and Amelia Earhart) to get the best of both worlds: fresh outdoor air and the optimal temperature no matter what season of the year it was.

 

     
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The DVD Player

Toshiba released the first prototype DVD player in 1994, nicknamed the fire watchtower, forever changing the way we viewed home entertainment. After only two years, DVD players became commercially available, taking off because the unsurpassed viewing quality they offered consumers. Slimmer than VHS video tapes, easier to store and offering more memory, not to mention the absence of tangling tape, the concept has continued to be refined since its release.

The DVD PlayerDVD

 

Mobile and Smart Phones

Mobile and Smart Phones

It only took us 1876 years to invent the first telephone, thanks to the work of Alexander Graham Bell. But only around 100 years later, in the 1970s, it underwent a major transformation, thanks to technological advances in Japan and Finland. By 2010, smart phones had a worldwide penetration of 75%. Smart phones have revolutionised the way we socialise, access and manage information and, with only around 11 years of development behind them, there is still a long road of innovation ahead of them.

 

The Kindle E-Reader

E-Reader

One of the technological advances that have allowed humans to learn and enjoy their screen time, e-readers have changed the publishing industry completely. E-readers cut back on the cost of being “well read”, deliver new material to readers instantly and are compact enough to fit in a pocket or handbag. E-readers were released in 2007, but their quick adoption has ensured an impressive market penetration since then.

 

     
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LED Light bulbs

A century ago light bulbs were pegged as one of the most significant advances for civilisation, with Thomas Edison patenting his product in 1887. Now, they have been replaced with more efficient light emitting diodes (LEDs).

Edison to LED

Even though they have only become popularised in the last decade or so, the first LED light bulb was invented in 1927. The problem was that its inventor, Russian Oleg Vladimiovich Losev, had no use for it back then. In 1962, the first visual spectrum LED was developed by an employee working for GE. Since then the efficiency of LEDs has been tracked to double every three years. Now, we have home lighting available to us that uses 90% less power, costs us less and requires little to no maintenance. And while Edison’s first bulb contained a carbon filament and only lasted for 13.5 hours, modern LEDs have an average lifespan of up to 50,000 hours.

Some of the most influential inventions on this list are not entirely original within themselves. In fact, many of them (LED bulbs, mobile and smart phones, and even refrigerators) are the result of years of innovation and refinement of existing designs. And, like these other technological advances, LEDs can only be expected to improve over time.

 

     
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