Rules: no profanity or inappropriate speech. This blog is rated for people of all ages. Any violation of these rules will be deleted. You can speak your mind, however, no matter how mean it might sound. You are also free to start debates.
Nehemiah A. Talavera
History of Inventions II
Clothes Hanger, Rotary Can Opener, Mail-Order Catalog, Earmuffs
The clothes hanger, a.k.a. coat hanger or coathanger, is a device used to simulate a person’s shoulders in a coat, jacket, sweater, shirt, blouse, or dress and hang it on a rail. Before it was invented, chests and armoires were used to store clothes. However, the clothes being stored were folded and could get wrinkled. Also, the chests and armoires took up a large amount of space. O.A. North was an American inventor who invented the clothes hanger in 1869. This hanger, however, wasn’t the modern version, and had some deficiencies. Albert J. Parkhouse invented the modern wire hanger while at his job to get out of the aggravating situation where he could not find enough hangers to hang his coat. He took a piece of wire and bent it into the shape most familiar to us today. In 1932, Schuyler C. Hulett patented an improved design, which used cardboard tubes mounted on upper and lower parts of the wire to prevent wrinkles. In 1999, Joy Mangano invented “huggable hangers”, which are velvet-flocked wire hangers. The clothes hanger became especially popular in small New York apartments for the small amount of space it took up. The clothes hanger was mostly used in closets, thus marking the first time closets were used for storing clothes instead of for privacy. The clothes hanger also led to the walk-in closet, a luxury more and more middle-class families are beginning to afford.
Rotary Can Opener
The rotary can opener (in North American and Australian English) or rotary tin opener (in British and Commonwealth English) is a device used to open cans with a rotating toothed wheel. Before it was invented, tin cans were very difficult to open. This led to many inconveniences, especially in the home. Early can openers appeared in 1855 to solve this problem, but they were most similar to knives and still not very convenient. William Worcester Lyman (1821–1891) was an American inventor who invented the rotary can opener. He was apprenticed to a pewter smith at the age of fifteen and learned the trade. After his apprenticeship was over, he still practiced pewtersmithery until 1880. Lyman married Roxanne Griswold Frary in 1841. In 1870, he invented the rotary can opener based on his knowledge of pewtersmithery. His rotary can opener had a smooth wheel that would pierce the center of the can lid. The can opener would then be moved to the outer edges of the can lid while still cutting. Once on the outer edges, the can opener would cut around the edges of the can lid until it was opened. In 1925, a similar model was invented. It had a toothed wheel, and would start directly at the outer edges of the can. Electric can openers were invented in 1950. The rotary can opener made opening cans so easy that even a child could do it. This led to an increase in the popularity of cans, which in turn led to an increase in the popularity of can openers. Lastly, the rotary can opener led to cans becoming as commonplace as they are today.
The mail-order catalog is a list of products, their prices, and their copies mailed to a set of people. Any products the recipients wished to buy could be bought through a telephone call to the sender of the catalog (typically a company). Before it was invented, rural dwellers depended upon their local general store for goods. However, unlike in urban areas, these general stores had no competition, so they typically sold low quality goods for high prices to maximize their profits, tyrannizing consumers. This was a topic of complaint for many rural dwellers. Aaron Montgomery Ward (1844–1913) was an American entrepreneur and inventor who invented the mail-order catalog. At the age of fourteen, he became an apprentice and earned twenty-five cents a day at a cutting machine in a barrel stave factory, then thirty cents a day stacking brick at a kiln. He then became a salesman at a shoe store for six dollars a month, but started working at a competitor some time later. In 1865, Ward became a traveling salesman for Case and Sobin. As a traveling salesman, he heard many rural dwellers complain about the general stores, and decided to invent a solution. By 1872, he had invented the mail-order catalog. He had some trouble at first, with many people scoffing at his idea and his warehouse being destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire. However, he persevered, and began publishing his first edition in 1872. It was a single page, but, because of its success, it grew until it had five-hundred pages at its peak. Its success soon led to imitators, such as Sears. Lastly, the mail-order catalog led to discount stores like Wal-Mart and the modern version of the mail-order catalog: the online retailer.
Earmuffs are two soft tufts connected by a flexible steel band to protect the wearer’s ears from the cold. Before it was invented, a person’s ears were often exposed to the cold during the winter. Since the ears are one of the most sensitive parts of the body, they could get frostbite from the cold. Chester Greenwood of Farmington, Maine (1858–1937) was an American Unitarian inventor who invented earmuffs. He invented them reportedly from an idea while he was out ice skating in the cold in 1873 at the age of fifteen. After the idea came into his mind, he allegedly ran back home and asked his grandmother to sew two fur tufts, and then he connected them with metal wire. Greenwood supposedly tried them on and went back to ice skating, but they flapped around more than was comfortable. So, he purportedly replaced the metal wire with a flexible steel band, thus creating the modern earmuff. He patented them at the age of eighteen in 1877. He then started a factory to produce them, and kept producing them for sixty years. He was very successful, and when he died in 1937, he had gained celebrity status.
Earmuffs have evolved into two types: thermal earmuffs and acoustic earmuffs. Thermal earmuffs are the same earmuffs Greenwood invented, but acoustic earmuffs are different, in that they protect the ears from loud sounds instead of cold temperatures. Thermal earmuffs have become important fashion accessories for women because they don’t affect hair style, and acoustic earmuffs have become important for construction workers to prevent hearing loss.
The Most Interesting Invention
The most interesting invention is the mail-order catalog because of how it led to the modern online retailing business.
I couldn’t think of the funniest thing that ever happened to me, so this is just a made-up story. The funniest thing that ever happened to me was the time when I was turning seven and I was asked what I wanted for my birthday by all my relatives. I said what I wanted to most people without confusion, but when I asked my aunt Margret for something, I said “A bike pump, so I can pump the flat tires of my nice bike.” But, the fuzz of the low-quality phone connection made it sound like I said I wanted a “bike bump”! My aunt Margret replied with an “Uh, o-kay.”. I did think it a bit weird, but my excitement made me quickly forget about it. About thirty minutes later, my aunt Margret called back, answered by my mom. My aunt Margret said on the phone “Did your son ask me for a bike bump? I’ve been looking online for it for thirty minutes and haven’t found anything.” My mom replied “What? A bike bump! He told me he would ask you for a bike pump!” My mom then hung up the phone, telling my aunt Margret she would call back. My mom then came to me and asked “What did you tell your aunt Margret you wanted?” I replied “A bike pump. Why?” “Oh, she said you told her you wanted a bike bump!” “What! A bike bump?” I started laughing really hard “What in the world is that?” My mom then called back to tell my aunt Margret the misunderstanding.
History of Inventions II
Air Brakes, Traffic Lights, Tape Measure, Pipe Wrench
Air brakes are brake systems used on trains that use pressurized air to simultaneously activate all the brakes on the train. Before it was invented, trains stopped by brakemen dangerously jumping across the tops of moving train cars to activate the brakes on all of them. This resulted in it taking a long time to activate all the brakes and in the deaths of hundreds or thousands of brakemen a year. George Westinghouse, Jr., was an American inventor born on October 6, 1846 to Emeline (Vedder) and George Westinghouse, Sr, who invented the air brakes. Westinghouse, Sr., was a machine shop owner and Westinghouse, Jr., learned from his father and showed his talent for building machines. When Westinghouse, Jr. was fifteen, the Civil War broke out. He joined the New York National Guard and served for the Union until he gave in to his parent’s urges to come back home. In April of 1863, Westinghouse persuaded his parents to let him re-enlist in the New York National Guard and served for the Union in Company M of the 16th New York Cavalry and earned promotion to the corporal rank. In December of 1864, Westinghouse resigned from the Army to join the Navy, serving on the USS Muscoota through the end of the war. In August of 1865, after his military discharge, he returned to his family in Schenectady and enrolled at Union College. However, he soon lost interest in the curriculum there and dropped out in his first term. At the age of nineteen, Westinghouse made his first invention, the rotary steam engine. When he was twenty-one, Westinghouse invented the “car replacer”, a device for guiding a derailed train car back onto the track. It was around this time when Westinghouse witnessed a train wreck. In this wreck, the drivers of the two trains involved signaled for the brakemen to apply the brakes, but the brakemen couldn’t do it in time. This inspired Westinghouse to invent and patent the air brakes at the age of twenty-two.
Westinghouse’s air brakes worked by a valve opening and closing compressed air vessels upon command of the engineer to apply and release the brakes. At first, the valve opened when pressure from the air hoses rose, but, in a second patent, it opened when pressure decreased, thus making the system fail-safe. The Westinghouse Air Brake Company (WABCO) was founded shortly after Westinghouse’s invention of the air brake to manufacture and sell it.
To advertise his brake system, Westinghouse put on a live demonstration with a four car passenger train with some of the most important railway owners in the world on board. The ride was normal until the train emerged from a tunnel hurdling towards a horse-drawn carriage! The horses panicked and fell over on the track. The driver of the train slammed on the Westinghouse brakes and came to a halt just a few feet short of the carriage. The passengers suffered some minor bruises, but they were not severely injured in any way. This incident led to the popularity of the air brakes; they were installed on most passenger trains. However, the freight industry was the slowest to adopt the air brakes, although they eventually did when the government began intervening. This made Westinghouse wealthy, and he used his wealth to win in a battle between him and Thomas Edison concerning AC (alternating current) power and DC (direct current) power, which led to the modern power grid.
Traffic lights, also known as traffic signals, traffic lamps, traffic semaphore, signal lights, stop lights, robots (in South Africa), and traffic control signals, are signaling lights used to signal to drivers who has the right of way. Before it was invented, traffic was an ongoing problem in cities, especially London. Police officers were employed on London bridge to bring order to the traffic. However, despite the police officers’ best efforts, many people were killed and injured by getting run over by carriages. John Peake Knight was a British railway engineer and inventor, born on December 13, 1828, who invented the traffic light. He was a railway engineer who worked on railway signals. Knight invented the traffic light with his knowledge of the railway signal. The first one was installed by the Parliament building near London bridge. It had an arm, that, when out horizontally or at a forty-five degree angle, would mean to stop or go during the daytime. At nightime the same would be signaled with red and green gaslights. However, it soon fell out of favor with the British because in one instance the gas line connected to the gaslights in the traffic light exploded, killing the police officer operating it. Despite its bad reputation in Britain, the traffic light made its way to America, the first one being installed in Cleveland, Ohio in 1914. Advancements continued to be made, the first red-green-yellow light appearing in Detroit, Michigan in 1920. The first automated traffic light appeared in Los Angeles in 1920 also. Lastly, the traffic light led to a decrease in the amount of lives lost in traffic accidents.
The tape measure is a device in which there is a rolled up line of tape with measuring marks on it that can be unrolled to measure distance or size. Before it was invented, measuring long distances or diameters with a ruler was very difficult. Alvin J. Fellows was an American inventor who invented and patented the tape measure in 1868. He invented it as an improvement on a British version that was used for surveying. Fellows licensed his patent to the Stanley brand, which is one of the most popular tape measure brands today. The tape measure was popularized through advertisements in magazines and newspapers. Lastly, they are fundamental tools in the housing and construction industries.
The pipe wrench is a wrench that is used to tighten or loosen pipes. Before it was invented, the monkey wrench was used. However, it was prone to slipping off the pipe. Daniel Stillson was an American inventor who invented the pipe wrench. He was born on March 25, 1826 in Durham, New Hampshire to William Stillson and Nancy Chapman. He was a mechanist during the Civil War and served under David Farragut. At the end of the Civil War, Stillson returned to Charlestown, Massachusetts and eventually moved to Somerville. There, he worked as a mechanist for the J. J. Walworth Company. While working there, he invented and patented the pipe wrench in 1869 and 1870.
The pipe wrench was popularized by companies in magazines and newspapers by promoting its benefits. It made building gas lines much easier, which led to a dramatic increase in gas line construction. One of these gas lines was the TAPS gas line in Alaska. It helped drive Alaska from having the highest income tax in the U.S. to having no income tax.
The Most Interesting Invention
The most interesting invention is the pipe wrench because of how it transformed the State of Alaska.
What Time I’d Go to If I Could Time Travel
Time traveling sounds fun, but only if I can go back to where I started. If I could do this, I would travel back to the very time Jesus walked this earth, and walk with the disciples. I would want to do this because Jesus is the Creator of all things, the Most Powerful, the Son of God, and the King of Kings. Just seeing Him for one second would be the most tremendous thing possible. I would love to witness Him preach and watch His works. That would be something very amazing.
Nehemiah A. Talavera
History of Inventions II
Dynamite, Chuckwagon, Modern Typewriter, Ticker Tape
Dynamite is a powerful explosive used to blast into rocks to make room for building foundations, find seams of metal or coal, perform controlled demolition, and perform terrorism. Before it was invented, nitroglycerin was discovered, and was the most powerful explosive known to man. However, it was very unstable, and exploded from minor vibrations and shockwaves. Alfred Bernhard Nobel (1833–1896) was a Swedish engineer, chemist, and inventor. He was the inventor of dynamite. Nobel was born on October 21, 1833 in Sweden to Immanuel Nobel and Caroline Andrietta Ahlsell. Nobel’s family was rich, and moved to St. Petersburg, Russia. Immanuel manufactured weapons for the Russian military during the Russo-Turkish Wars to make a living. There, Alfred became interested in explosives. He and his brothers were educated privately under Russian and Swedish tutors. At seventeen, Alfred was sent abroad for two years. In these two years, he studied with Théophile-Jules Pelouze, the discoverer of nitroglycerin. Alfred became interested in this man’s discovery and started a factory with his younger brother, Emil, to produce it. However, the nitroglycerin exploded one day, killing Emil. Alfred was very distraught from this, and it inspired him to invent dynamite.
Nobel moved his factory to a more isolated area in Germany to work on a way to make nitroglycerin without the risk of killing many people. There, he decided that mixing nitroglycerin with some unknown substance that would make it more stable was the only feasible solution. In the quest to find this substance, Nobel tried with many materials, but failed. He then tried diatomaceous earth and succeeded. He at first called it “Nobel’s Blasting Powder”, but he changed it to the more appealing name “dynamite”, from the Ancient Greek word “dunamis” (δύναµις), meaning “power”. Dynamite is a mixture of three parts nitroglycerin, one part diatomaceous earth, and a small portion of sodium carbonate antacid. The diatomaceous earth and sodium carbonate antacid work to stabilize the nitroglycerin. Diatomaceous earth has mostly been replaced by other materials today, such as sawdust, flour, and starch.
Nobel patented his invention in the U.S. and the U.K. He became very rich selling it. Incidentally, in 1888, Nobel’s brother, Ludvig, died. However, some newspapers mistook Ludvig’s death for Alfred’s death. They then released very critical obituaries, one French newspaper saying “the merchant of death is dead”. These newspapers said these things because dynamite was not only used in construction, but was also a powerful weapon used in terrorism (e.g. the assassination of the Russian Tsar leading to communism in Russia). Since Alfred hadn’t died, he read these obituaries, and was very troubled. It was because of this that he established the Nobel Peace Prize in his will.
The chuckwagon is a modified covered wagon that stores food and acts as a kitchen for cowboys. Before it was invented, cowboys could not take long journeys with cattle due to the fact that there was no way to carry and cook a large amount of food. Charles Goodnight, also known as Charlie Goodnight, (1836–1929) was an American rancher, cowboy, and inventor. He invented the chuckwagon in 1866. He was born in Macoupin County, Illinois to Charles Foxwing Goodnight and Charlotte Collier on March 5, 1836. He moved to Texas in 1846 with his mother and stepfather. He became a cowboy and served in the local militia, fighting Comanche raiders. In 1857, Goodnight joined the Texas Rangers, and continued to fight the Comanche. When the Civil War broke out, he fought for the Confederacy. After the war, Goodnight began working as a cowboy again and drove cattle. On one cattle drive in 1866, he partnered with Oliver Loving and invented the chuckwagon for that drive. It was named “chuckwagon” because “chuck” was a colloquialism for “food”. Goodnight’s journeys with the chuckwagon also led to the death of Loving from Indian raiders. The story of Loving’s death led to Larry McMurtry’s novel Lonesome Dove, which led to a television mini-series based on it that single-handedly revived the thought-dead Western genre of movies and television.
The chuckwagon is a modified covered wagon with a kitchen and food and water storage areas built in. It was pulled by up to eight horses. The chuckwagon allowed for longer cattle drives because it stored more food. It was so important on long cattle drives, the operator of the chuckwagon, the “cookie”, was second in command to the rancher who owned the cattle, the “trail boss”. These longer cattle drives led to more cattle coming back to the East. This led to the popularity of beef overtaking the popularity of pork, the previous American favorite.
The modern typewriter is a typewriter in the form of a square, horizontally laid keyboard with the paper being typed on behind the keyboard upright. Before it was invented, there were several attempts to make a successful typewriter following the expiration of William Austin Burt’s patent for his unsuccessful “typographer”. However, none of them ended in success until Christopher Latham Sholes (1819–1890), an American printer and inventor, invented the modern typewriter. Sholes was born on February 14, 1819 to Orrin and Catherine Sholes in Mooresburg, Pennsylvania. Sholes apprenticed to a printer in Danville. After completing his apprenticeship, he moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. There he developed a concept of a machine that would print page numbers onto books. However, after partnering with Frank Haven Hall, Carlos Glidden, and Samuel W. Soule, it turned into a concept for the typewriter. To test their concept, they made a prototype with only one key, the “W” key. The “W” key on their machine was a modified telegraph key. After they found their prototype worked, in 1867, they continued. Soule left the project shortly thereafter. He was replaced by James Densmore, who, despite pointing out errors in the machine, invested some money. Sholes typed letters with his typewriter to investors to request financial support. These letters were very extraordinary for the time because letters were normally handwritten. However, the machine had some deficiencies, such as only all-caps letters could be typed and the user could not see what was written as it was written. After several failed attempts to manufacture the device, it was acquired by E. Remington and Sons in early 1873. E. Remington and Sons was an arms manufacturer seeking to diversify. The company released the typewriter in 1874 after some refinements. They called it the Sholes and Glidden Type-Writer.
Initially, the typewriter received a negative reaction from the public because of its deficiencies (mentioned above) and high cost. However, the need for such a machine drove demand for it in offices. A second version, the Remington No. 2 allowed for both lowercase and uppercase typing. Eventually, after many incremental improvements, the typewriter became very popular. It also led to female typists in the workforce, which helped women earn a living. Lastly, the modern typewriter led to the computer, which drastically changed the world.
Ticker Tape Machine
The ticker tape machine is a device that outputs the latest stock information on thin, long rolls of paper tape, known as ticker tape. Before it was invented, runners had to run back and forth between offices to tell investors what the stock prices were. However, the stock prices could have changed by the time the runner came back to the investor. Edward Augustin Calahan (1838–1912) was an American inventor who invented the ticker tape machine. He left school at the age of eleven to peruse his interest of becoming part of a modern business. In 1861, Calahan joined Western Union as chief telegrapher in their New York office at Manhattan. There, he encountered a group of runners rushing to their destination. This inspired him to invent the ticker tape machine in 1867, based on printing telegraphs. Early ticker tape machines would print the stock data in Morse code, but they developed into machines that printed in English. Because of their slow writing rate of one character per second, ticker tape machines used abbreviations of companies’ names, rather than the whole names. The ticker tape machine receives the stock information from telegraph lines.
The ticker tape machine lets investors get the latest stock news and was very convenient. However, it was replaced by computers and the Internet by the 1970s. Finally, it played a role in the stock market crash of 1929 because it could not keep up with the drastic selling and was hours behind on stock prices.
The Most Interesting Invention
The most interesting invention is dynamite because it allowed modern civilization to expand into areas with rough terrain unlike ever before.
Nehemiah Anthony Talavera
History of Inventions II
Roller Skates, Barbed Wire, Cowboy Hat, Pasteurization
Roller skates are skates that use wheels, instead of blades. They were invented and patented by an American inventor named James Leonard Plimpton (1828–1911) in 1863. There were a few European attempts that antedated Plimpton’s, but they weren’t successful. His skates had four wheels, set up like a modern automobile’s wheels. This made turning the skates much easier than the European inline skates. Roller skating is a fun recreational activity; it makes translating fun ice skating sports to roller skating very easy. Roller skating is also thought to burn a large amount of calories. Plimpton’s design was much safer than the previous attempts. Plimpton founded the New York Roller Skating Association. He sold his skates at first by putting them for rent in one of the first roller skating rinks he built himself. He advertised these rinks as a way for parents to chaperone their children’s dates. He fought over three-hundred patent lawsuits over his skates, and won in each one of them. Plimpton became very wealthy as a result.
In the 1950s, skateboarding was invented as a consequence of roller skates. Roller skates became very popular with the advent of Disco music. They became popular because it was soon discovered that roller skates could be used in Disco music, creating Roller Disco. Inline skates, “Rollerblades”, began to make a comeback in the 1990s. In conclusion, roller skating is a fun recreational activity, which led to skateboarding.
Barbed wire is wire with barbs on it used to make a fence. Before it was invented, cattle were free to roam around in the West because adequate fencing was too expensive to be practical. This led to cattle grazing on someone else’s land. Ranchers only knew who the cattle belonged to by ownership marks. Michael Kelly was a American inventor who invented barbed wire in 1868. He invented it to fence cattle and fix the problem of roaming cattle. Barbed wire is nailed to wooden posts at certain intervals and stretched tight by two corner posts. The painful barbs deter even the largest cattle from breaking through. Barbed wire is also very cheap. Also, barbed wire can last ten to twenty years. The barbed wire fence made cheaply managing large areas possible. It wasn’t improved much until after the Civil War. It was then when Joseph Glidden invented a stronger version of barbed wire. After inventing it in 1873, he patented it in 1874. After some lawsuits, he began marketing his invention. He made a public demonstration, where there was a large ranch, with some cattle inside barbed wire on it. None of the cattle escaped. Glidden then started a company to manufacture the barbed wire, and was successful. John Warne Gates began working for Glidden as a traveling salesman, and put on a demonstration with cattle stampeding toward a barbed wire fence, then stopping. This generated a lot of sales. Gates wanted a higher position in the company after this, but his request was declined. So, he started a new company, to compete with Glidden’s. Both men became very wealthy. Gates and J.P. Morgan became rivals, as Gates expanded his company to steel manufacturing. Lastly, barbed wire ended the Wild West because it removed the need for cowboys.
The cowboy hat is a felt hat used to protect the head, face and neck from harsh weather. Before it was invented, cowboys used many different kinds of hats, which were all better than each other in different respects. However, there was no hat that was the best in all respects. John Batterson Stetson (1830–1906) was the son of an American hatter. He was very interested in the West. However, as a young man, he was diagnosed with Tuberculosis. Fearing that this was his last chance to see the West, he went there. As the son of a hatter, he noticed the different kinds of hats, and also noticed the problems. One hat in particular, the coonskin hat, was very desirable, apart from the fact that it had fleas. Stetson knew that fur was desirable, and set out to make a fur hat without fleas. He invented the cowboy hat in 1865.
Stetson’s hat had a wide brim, which keeps the sun out of the user’s eyes and shades the neck and face. His hat also was made of waterproof fur-felt. This protected it from rain and allowed the hat to act as a bucket. The large size of the hat was also helpful for directing cattle.
Stetson’s advertisements showed off the hat’s waterproofness, with a picture of a cowboy giving his horse a drink using his hat as a bucket. He sold his hats to merchants for them to advertise as well. Stories about the Stetson hat were also used as advertising. It immediately became popular among cowboys due to these advertising techniques. The cowboy hat also received some publicity when one was discovered looking brand new after being underwater for fifteen years.
The cowboy hat has become iconic of the Wild West, a.k.a. Old West, as well as the country music genre. It is featured in almost every cowboy movie and TV show. The cowboy hat has become known as “The hat that won the West”.
Pasteurization is a process in which bacteria and other microbes in certain types of beverages are killed to prolong shelf life. Before it was invented, some beverages, such as wine, beer, and milk, spoiled quickly. This spoilage was due to bacteria and fungi that lived in and consumed the beverage. Louis Pasteur (1822–1895) was a French inventor who invented pasteurization in 1865. His father was a tanner. Pasteur was an average student in school. When he went to college, Pasteur majored in philosophy, and graduated in 1840 with a bachelor’s degree. He then majored in chemistry, but failed. He did get a degree for general science the following year, however, but his grades were not extraordinary. He passed the entrance for his second attempt in majoring in chemistry, but his grades were low. So, he decided to try again the next year. He spent the rest of the year studying about chemistry, and when he took the entrance test again, he passed with very high grades. In 1845, he graduated with a Master of Science degree. Pasteur became a chemistry professor at the University of Strasbourg. The father of one of Pasteur’s students, who was a winemaker, had wine that kept spoiling. He asked Pasteur to figure out what caused this. So, Pasteur investigated the problem. He theorized that not only was there yeast that fermented the wine, but also foreign fungi, which contaminated the wine, and made it spoil. He published a few papers on this topic in 1857 and 1858. His studies actually disproved the theory that the decomposition of matter caused fermentation, and the theory that living organisms spontaneously generated from non-living matter. After figuring out how wine turned sour, he patented a process in 1865 on how to kill these foreign microorganisms. This process was pasteurization.
Pasteurization is a process in which beverages are heated at various amounts of heat and for various amounts of time to kill many of the microbes inside the beverage without influencing the taste. Pasteurization is different from sterilization, in that pasteurization sacrifices shelf life for taste by not killing all the microbes, while sterilization kills all the microbes, sacrificing taste. Sterilization changes the taste of food because killing all the microbes requires large amounts of heat for large amounts of time, which alters the taste of food. Pasteurization only kills most of the microbes, which requires much less heat and much less time. It also requires a shorter amount of time for higher temperatures, thus preserving taste.
Pasteurization was very useful to winemakers and beer brewers because it made their wine and beer last longer. Although it was originally developed for beer and wine, pasteurization was expanded to milk by a German chemist in the 1880s.
In the 1900s, states in the U.S. began passing laws that required all milk to be pasteurized. The first state to do this was Michigan.
Due to laws passed by the U.S. and other countries, most milk is pasteurized today. Pasteur’s research also rallied evidence against the miasma theory, and promoted germ theory. His research also led him into the field of immunology, which is considered by some the greatest accomplishment in the history of medicine.
Pasteurization also made grape juice possible through Thomas Welch. He was a Methodist who believed that it was a sin to drink any alcoholic beverage in any amount. Welch wanted a way to take part in the Lord’s Supper without violating the law he believed was true. So, he experimented, and found that pasteurizing the wine before it fermented from the naturally occurring yeast on grape skins would actually kill the yeast, preventing fermentation. He started a company, and sold his wine as “Unfermented wine”. He then changed the name to “Grape juice” and his company, Welch’s, is still around today. Grape juice began being used in the Lord’s Supper at churches, and is still the most common beverage used in Protestant churches today. In conclusion, pasteurization led to longer lasting food and beverages as well as grape juice.
The Most Interesting Invention
The most interesting invention is pasteurization because it led to the modern convenience of preserved foods of many types.
Why are people eating Tide PODs? It’s absolutely ridiculous and stupid. Seriously, Tide PODs are non-food items. Who, over the age of five, would think its okay to eat a non-food item? Sure, it might taste good, but so does antifreeze. “Just because it’s a non-food item doesn’t mean it’s bad.”, some may say. This may be true for some products, but Tide PODs are, in fact, poisonous. According to BuzzFeed, they can cause irritation in the mouth on contact. If swallowed, they can cause burns on the esophagus and back of the mouth, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and, in some cases, death. People have been hospitalized for this stupidity, and have died sometimes. This has been told everywhere on the Internet. YouTube has also stepped in, banning videos of people eating Tide PODs, both the AAPCC and USCPSC have issued warnings, and Procter & Gamble, the owner of Tide itself, also warned people not to eat their PODs. And still, stupid teens continue to eat these poisonous, chemical-laden, non-food laundry PODs. Ridiculous, isn’t it?
Nehemiah Anthony Talavera
History of Inventions II
Postcard, Gatling Gun, Linoleum, Ratcheting Wrench
A postcard is a rectangular piece of thick paper or thin cardboard used to mail a short message without an envelope. In the 1800s, a message had to be sent in an envelope, which was very inconvenient for sending short messages. The first postcard was made by the British comedian Theodore Hook. He wrote it as a joke and sent it to himself. However, this idea did not give Hook the accolade of the inventor of the postcard. It wasn’t until an American printer and stationer, John P. Charlton, patented the postcard in 1861 with the help of Hyman Lipman. Charlton at first thought of a plain card, but Lipman added a decorated border. Nevertheless, Charlton is considered the inventor of the postcard.
The postcard spread to England in the 1870s, and soon to other places. The first picture postcards originated in France in the 1890s, and soon spread to the rest of the world. In 1873, the U.S. government gained a monopoly over postcards, and revoked the rights to sell postcards from private individuals, but reversed in 1898. However, only government-printed postcards were allowed to be called postcards, and all others were called souvenir cards. This was reversed in 1901. As soon as these laws were reversed, the golden age of postcards started from 1907 to 1915.
The postcard is normally rectangular, but can come in many shapes and sizes. They normally have a picture in the front, and two sections in the back. The first is where the message is, and the second is where the stamp, return address, and recipient address are. They do not have any envelope, which makes them very convenient for short messages.
The postcard made mailing short messages very easy, but began to decline with the Internet era. However, they are still a personal way to give messages, and they help in advertising. They help in advertising because they are very cheap, and the amount of money from the sales generated by the postcard advertising generally exceeds the amount of money spent in buying the postcards. This leads to a profit. In conclusion, the postcard is a cheap way to send a personal message, or advertise a product.
The Gatling gun is a gun that can shoot many rounds per minute due to its rotating barrel. Before it was invented, most powerful weapons took a long time to reload. Dr. Richard Jordan Gatling (1818–1903) was an American inventor and doctor born in North Carolina. He invented the Gatling gun in 1861. Gatling invented many things at a young age; however, he went to college to become a physician. He graduated with a medical degree from Ohio Medical University in 1850. Gatling then married Jemima Sanders in 1854.
Gatling’s inspiration came from the deaths of the Civil War. He learned that most of the Civil War soldiers died of disease, not battle wounds. Gatling figured that if he invented something that reduced the amount of soldiers needed on the battlefield, he could reduce the number of deaths. So, he invented the Gatling gun in 1861. Gatling then founded the Gatling Gun Manufacturing Company in 1862.
Gatling guns use rotating barrels so the barrels can cool off before they fire again. This allows for many bullets to be fired per minute. All other powerful guns at the time only fired one time, then reloaded, instead of firing continuously. The Gatling gun was very complex mechanically. He had a few setbacks, such as his factory burning down. Gatling never sold much to the military during the Civil War because he was recognized as a “copperhead”, which is a Northerner who thinks that the Union should be at peace with the Confederacy. The U.S. military only started buying Gatling guns after the Civil War after a live demonstration. Eventually, Gatling sold his patent rights to Samuel Colt’s company, which improved the Gatling gun, and sold it to the U.S. military. One of these improvements was an electric motor that replaced the hand crank for turning the barrels, which dramatically increased its rate of fire, bringing it from nine-hundred rounds per minute to one-thousand five-hundred rounds per minute.
Other armies began purchasing Gatling guns, and it became popular throughout the world. The British used it to defeat the Zulu African tribes. It was used to expand the British and American empires. It’s use in the Battle of San Juan Hill also made Theodore Roosevelt praised, leading to his election as president.
Linoleum is a cheap floor covering made from linseed oil. Before it was invented, floor coverings had evolved from straw to stones to carpet to rubber. Rubber was very durable and easy to clean, but very difficult to decorate.
Frederick Edward Walton (1834–1928) was a British inventor who invented linoleum. He invented it after noticing how linseed oil dries into a material with a consistency like that of rubber. He thought it might be used as a substitute for rubber flooring. So, he began experiments on how to dry linseed oil quickly. It took him some time to perfect his process, but he finished and patented it in 1863. He called it “linoleum”. Linoleum is a durable floor covering that can survive in high-traffic environments. It is also very easy to clean. Linoleum can also be easily decorated with creative designs. It can be made to resemble wood, or other material as well.
Walton had some difficulties initially. In fact, he operated his company at a loss for five years due to competition, which used rubber. However, Walton then launched an aggressive marketing campaign, and opened two stores in London, one of the busiest cities in the world at the time. This greatly increased linoleum’s popularity over rubber. As linoleum increasingly became popular, competition began producing linoleum. However, this competition used another, lower quality, version of linoleum invented and patented by William Parnacott. Although it didn’t drive Walton’s company out of popularity, this competition did get popular itself for its cheaper prices.
Walton then expanded his market to the U.S., and established a factory there. However, another entrepreneur named Sir Michael Nairn also established a factory and founded a company named “American Nairn Linoleum Company”. Walton sued Nairn for infringing on his trademark “linoleum”. Because Walton actually never trademarked the name “linoleum”, he lost the case.
Linoleum helped drive hardwood flooring obsolete following World War II because of its cheap price. However, linoleum began to decline in the 1960s with the advent of vinyl flooring.
Ratcheting Socket Wrench
The ratcheting socket wrench is a socket wrench that uses a ratcheting mechanism to only allow a nut or bolt to turn along with it in one direction. This direction is determined by a switch on the wrench. The standard wrench was a very useful tool, but was also very labor-intensive to use. It had to be spun all the way around the nut or bolt it was tightening, or be spun less than all the way many times. So, in 1863, an American inventor named J. J. Richardson patented the ratcheting socket wrench through the patent organization of the Scientific American magazine.
The ratcheting mechanism allows the user to push the wrench in one direction, turning the nut or bolt, and turning the wrench back in preparation to turn the nut or bolt again without undoing what was just accomplished. This is much less labor-intensive than a standard wrench.
Richardson was successful in selling his wrench because he advertised it in the Scientific American magazine, which was read mostly by those who most could benefit by the ratcheting socket wrench. Due to this success, it has become a standard tool in most toolkits.
The Most Interesting Invention
The most interesting invention is linoleum. It is the most interesting invention because it was the first modern floor covering.
I think a cool invention would be something that could shrink anyone who went into it and pressed the button. I would call it the Shrinkr 2000! It would be a gleaming frame with no bottom made out of steel coated in zinc. The Shrinkr 2000 would be about 4 feet and 10 inches tall and 2 feet and 5 inches wide. It would only be five inches long. On the left side, there would be a huge red button with the white all-caps word “SHRINK” underneath it. If someone pressed the button, they would instantly shrink to 0.000001 their size! At the bottom of the Shrinkr 2000, there would be a red button small enough for a shrunk person to press, with the white all-caps word “GROW” underneath it. If someone pressed it, they would instantly grow back to their normal size! That was what I think a cool invention would be.
History of Inventions II
Ironing Board, Internal Combustion Engine, Lever-Action Repeating Rifle, Twist Drill
The ironing board is a portable board on which clothes are ironed. Before it was invented, ironing had to be done on a flat surface to effectively take wrinkles out. So, it was commonly done with an ironing blanket on a kitchen table, or on a long wooden board suspended on two chairs. In older times, the Vikings would use whale bones. Because of these things, ironing equipment was not very portable, therefore ironing equipment wasn’t very convenient.
In 1858, two inventors, W. Vandenburg and J. Harvey, patented the ironing board. The first portable ironing board was invented in Canada in 1875 by John B. Porter. In 1892, Sarah Boone patented some improvements.
The ironing board made ironing clothes much easier. One reason for this is that the board narrows down to a point, which makes ironing sleeves and some other parts of clothes much less difficult. Another was the portability of the ironing board. Unwrinkled clothes make one look trustworthy, and opens more opportunities for them in life. Wrinkled clothes make one look as if they have problems.
Demand for the ironing board increased as demand for irons increased in the late 1800s. The demand for irons was increasing because new revolutionary improvements were being made, such as irons with replaceable handles.
Lastly, the ironing board, in conjunction with the improvements on irons, made ironing much easier and less time-consuming than before.
Internal Combustion Engine
The internal combustion engine is an engine that uses small explosions to drive a piston. Before it was invented, steam engines were the primary source of automated power. However, they took a long time to start, and they were very large.
Jean Joseph Étienne Lenoir (1822–1900) was a Belgian inventor who invented the internal combustion engine. He invented it in 1858 after discovering that sparks can ignite gasoline. His engine powered one cylinder. He built his engine, and enlisted investors to assist him in building a factory to build small cars powered by his engine. He wasn’t commercially successful, (though not unsuccessful either) despite the Russian Tsar, Alexander II, requesting one. But, Lenoir’s engine did catch the attention of Nikolai Otto and his brother. They built their own copies of Lenoir’s cars, and found that they were very inefficient. So, Otto invented a four-stroke engine, which became the basis for the engines built today.
Otto’s four-stroke engines had four strokes: intake, power, compression, and exhaust. The intake stroke is when the fuel is combined with oxygen. The compression stroke is when the fuel-oxygen mixture is compressed by a piston. The power stroke is when the fuel is ignited, moving the piston down and turning a driving shaft. The exhaust stroke is when the exhaust valve opens, and lets the exhaust out the exhaust pipe. These four strokes happen in less than a second, turning wheels, or other things.
The internal combustion engine starts instantaneously, much faster than a steam engine, and it can be much more compact. This led to the modern automobile. At first, the automobile was reserved for the rich, but the American company Ford made it available to the public by producing cheaper automobiles.
The internal combustion engine made traveling long distances without a train possible. This led to the possibility of working farther away from home than was ever possible before. It also led to the trucking industry, which changed the world. The internal combustion engine led to the jet engine, which led to commercial airliners. Finally, the internal combustion engine led to much of the modern world
Lever-Action Repeating Rifle
The lever-action repeating rifle is a rifle that can shoot sixteen to seventeen rounds per load. The guns before it took a long time to load, and they could only shoot one round per load. Benjamin Tyler Henry (1821–1898) was an American inventor who invented the lever-action repeating rifle in 1860. He was apprenticed to a gunsmith as a young man. He worked his way up to higher priorities, and began to work for Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson and their company, Smith & Wesson. Henry began helping design an improved model of a lever-action repeating rifle invented by Walter Hunt. The company, mainly Henry, began developing the design, and renamed themselves to The Volcanic Repeating Arms Company. Wesson left to found the Smith & Wesson Revolver Company with Smith, though Smith also kept the Volcanic Repeating Arms Company. The Volcanic Repeating Arms Company hired some investors, one of which was Oliver Winchester. Winchester forced the company to bankruptcy, and ran it himself. He then renamed it to The New Haven Arms Company. Henry then began to work for The New Haven Arms Company as a superintendent. Then he began to perfect the lever-action repeating rifle, and finally finished in 1860. It was able to shoot much more rounds at once compared to a standard rifle. The lever-action repeating rifle could also be reloaded quickly. It was produced by The New Haven Arms Company in 1862, just in time to equip the Union Army for the Civil War. Production rates were not very high, only about fourteen thousand being produced during the Civil War, in contrast to the two million Union soldiers in total. It was a rare, but novel, item which soldiers often bought with their own money. Most soldiers used the standard musket, though. The Confederate soldiers called the lever-action repeating rifle “The gun you could load on Sunday, and shoot all week long”.
Henry worked for Winchester and his company, but he thought he wasn’t getting enough pay for his work. So, while Winchester was traveling around Europe, he got a legislature at Connecticut to award him with ownership of the New Haven Arms Company. Winchester heard of this, and rushed back to America. He delayed the legislature, then changed the company name to The Winchester Repeating Arms Company. He also completely redesigned Henry’s rifle, still keeping the main principle. After this, Henry was unable to own the company, so he left the company, and worked for himself as a gunsmith until his death in 1898.
The Henry rifle rose to fame after the Battle of Little Bighorn, commonly known as Custer’s Last Stand. It was when the American 7th Calvary Regiment led by Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer were annihilated by Sioux Indian forces, with two-hundred and sixty-eight dead, including Custer. Custer’s forces used the standard guns, but the Indian forces used the Henry guns, although their production had stopped several years back.
The lever-action repeating rifle played a role in the defeat of the Confederacy in the Civil War. This led to the ending of slavery in the U.S., and a dramatic change in the culture of the South.
Twist Drill Bit
The twist drill bit is a drill bit with grooves that twist around the bit. In the late 1700s, John Wilkinson invented the boring machine. It used a drill bit, but the drill bit was more or less a cutting bar. Without any grooves, the cutting bar wouldn’t always make a straight hole, and debris were kept at the bottom of the hole. Steven A. Morse was an American inventor who invented the twist drill bit in 1861.
The twist drill bit always makes a straight hole, instead of moving around while drilling. Its grooves lift debris up and out of the hole. The hole starts as a puncture by the sharp point at the end of the drill bit. The hole is then enlarged by the drill bit moving deeper into the material.
Twist drill bits have different levels of sharpness for the different material they are meant to drill into. The sharper ends are meant for softer materials, such as wood, while the more blunt ends are meant for harder materials, such as iron or steel. The twist drill bit is the most popular kind of drill bit used today.
Morse built a two-story factory to produce the twist drill bit in 1865 after patenting his device. He approached investors, and gained money from them. He then incorporated his drill bit company. His company produced drill bits for several different industries all over the world, and succeeded. The twist drill bit made many things much easier, such as home improvement projects. It also made the monument at Mt. Rushmore possible, as well as the Hoover Dam.
The Most Interesting Invention
The most interesting invention is the lever-action repeating rifle. It is the most interesting invention because it led to most modern firearms.
My favorite way to do schoolwork is in my parent’s room sitting on their desk. I like it because it is very quiet, so I can easily concentrate. I also like it because there is a window right in front of the desk, so I can see outside just by looking forward. But, sometimes, the sun gets in my eyes when I do my schoolwork there, so I close the blinds. The last, but not least important, reason I like to do my schoolwork there is that there is enough space to comfortably write vocabulary words and their definitions on a flashcard. Most other places make it very hard to do that. That is my favorite way to do schoolwork.
History of Inventions II
Salt and Pepper Shakers, Mason Jar, Pencil Eraser, Twine Binder
Salt and Pepper Shakers
Salt and pepper shakers are simple devices used to sprinkle salt, pepper, or other seasonings onto food. Before they were invented, salt and pepper were closely guarded expensive spices. This resulted in only the richest people being able to eat salt and pepper. From this great expense, the European saying “pepper expensive” was born. Salt and pepper were commonly served in a pewter dish, and sprinkled onto food either with a spoon, or with someone’s hand. This caused a sanitation problem.
John Landis Mason (1832–1902) was an American tinsmith who invented and patented the salt and pepper shakers in 1858. They could be made from many materials, including glass, ceramic, plastic, and metal. Salt and pepper shakers have a bottom that is filled up with salt or pepper, and on top a screw-top lid with some small holes in it. These small holes let the salt or pepper out when the shaker was tipped over and shaken. This results in an easy and sanitary way to sprinkle salt and pepper onto food. The screw-top lid also made it very easy to refill. However, the salt and pepper shakers didn’t become popular until Mason’s patent expired. Because of this, Mason didn’t make much money off his invention.
Although it was a revolutionary invention, salt was difficult to shake out because of its tendency to cake together. So, in the 1920s, the Morton salt company invented and began selling salt treated with a chemical that prevented it from caking together. The widespread adoption in the U.S. of the salt and pepper shakers was during the Great Depression when salt and pepper companies began selling smaller shakers.
Salt and pepper shakers greatly helped in making salt and pepper accessible to the public by making it very convenient. As a result, the food the middle class eats today tastes better than even the food of ancient kings.
The Mason jar is a glass jar used primarily for home canning. Before it was invented, Nicolas Appert invented the canning process in 1806 for the French military. Since then, canning had been improved, and glass jars were being used for canning in the home. A popular way to seal the jar would be putting wax around the edge, and using that to hold the lid on. However, this was very error-prone. So, in 1858, an American tinner named John Landis Mason (1832–1902) invented the Mason jar. His jar had a threaded top so that a metal band could screw on and hold a cap on to keep the air out. This was much less error-prone than the previous method, making canning much more reliable. However, the rest of the canning process was the same.
At first, Mason’s jars were mostly used to preserve fruits and jellies, but it soon was used for other foods as well. They spread like wildfire to westward-moving American settlers because it helped them easily keep reserves of food in case unexpected things happened. Mason never made much money off his jar, and production only started after his patent expired.
The Mason jar made eating out-of-season food much more reliable, but began to decline in use in the 1950s because of other technologies such as refrigeration.
The pencil eraser is a combination of a pencil and an eraser. Before it was invented, the rubber eraser was invented to replace the commonly used bread erasers; however, the erasers were sold separately. Hyman L. Lipman (1817–1893) was an American inventor and stationer who invented and patented the pencil eraser.
Lipman married Mary A. Lehman in 1848. In 1858, he patented the pencil eraser. It was a regular pencil with a rubber end on the back of it, which had to be sharpened just like the graphite side. He sold his patent to Joseph Reckendorfer for $100,000. Reckendorfer then sued the pencil manufacturer Faber for infringement. This case went up to the Supreme Court, which ruled that because the patent was only a combination of two inventions, it was not patent-worthy. The patent was then nullified. This case alerted other companies, and they started producing pencil erasers. The pencil eraser made erasing much more convenient than before.
In the modern world, rubber is not always used in erasers. Vinyl is often used in erasers, for example.
Most pencils since the 1920s in America had erasers. However, in Europe, even to this day, the pencil eraser hasn’t caught on.
In American schools, pencil erasers are standard, as well as in workplaces. They are also used in engineering school, and they make it much easier to learn.
The twine binder is a device used to bind wheat with twine for processing. Before it was invented, the mechanical reaper was invented by Cyrus McCormick. It quickly harvested wheat. However, the wheat had to be laboriously bound together by hand to be processed. John Francis Appleby (1840–1917) was an American inventor who invented the twine binder. When he was four years old, he, with his family, moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where they settled on a farm. He grew up in the farm, and knew of all the limitations of farming, including the problem of binding wheat. In 1858, when he was 18, he invented the twine binder, but no one was interested in it at the time.
He developed a binder that used wire in 1874, but he wasn’t successful because the wire was often accidentally eaten by farm animals, killing them. The wire also caused explosions in mills. In 1878, he patented a successful twine binder. It wrapped and knotted the twine around the wheat quickly, saving a lot of labor. It was meant to be attached to and work with a McCormick reaper. Appleby’s success was partly due to the support of Charles H. Parker and Gustavus Stone. He licensed his patent to the McCormick company, and the Deering company. These companies joined together some time later to form International Harvester, now one of the largest companies in the world.
The twine binder began to decline in the 1900s because of the rise of combine harvesters. Combine harvesters do not need a wheat binder. Lastly, International Harvester most likely wouldn’t have formed if the twine binder wasn’t invented.
The Most Interesting Invention
The most interesting invention is the Mason jar. It is the most interesting invention because it made home canning much more simple and easy.
History of Inventions II
Condensed Milk, Sleeping Car, Toilet Paper, Washing Machine
Condensed milk is essentially cow milk from which the water has been removed. Sugar is added in sweetened condensed milk, but the terms “sweetened condensed milk” and “condensed milk” are often used synonymously today. Gail Borden, Jr., (1801–1874) was an American inventor born in New York. He and his family moved to Indiana where he went to school to become a surveyor. Borden, at the age of twenty-one, went to Mississippi with his brother, and he worked as a surveyor. He married in 1828, and he had six children. Unfortunately, at the same year he had gotten married, his mother died of yellow fever. His wife also died of yellow fever a few years later. He then began experimenting for a cure for yellow fever. He also invented many other things on the side, one of which was a dehydrated meat product he called the “meat biscuit”. He put it on exhibit in the 1851 World’s Fair in London. This invention was crucial to his invention of condensed milk. While on his trip back to America from London, he witnessed several young children die from drinking milk infected with yellow fever. He then started experimenting on ways to preserve milk. He had already had experience in dehydrating meat, and he applied this experience to condensed milk. He also used a method that some Quakers used to condense fruit juice. To evaporate the water out of the milk without causing the milk to curdle, he used vacuum evaporation. The condensed milk he invented had a large amount of sugar added to it. The finished product would be composed of about forty-five percent sugar! The sugar would kill the harmful bacteria and viruses that caused sickness. This condensing process is the result of around three years of perfection by Borden. His first two factories failed, but the third, built with new partner Jeremiah Milbank, succeeded. His “Eagle Brand” was known for its high-quality condensed milk. Borden made three rules for any dairyman who wanted to send him milk to condense (he called them the “Dairyman’s Ten Commandments”):
I. They were required to always wash the cows’ udders before milking
II. They were required to keep the barns swept clean
III. They were required to scald and dry their strainers every morning and night
In 1864, Borden’s company, New York Condensed Milk Company, built the New York Milk Condensery in Brewster, New York. During the Civil War, demand for condensed milk was high from the Union troops, and over two-hundred farmers gave twenty-thousand gallons of milk a day to the new condensery. The U.S. government ordered large amounts of condensed milk as an important part of the field rations of the Union soldiers. It was important because it stored a large amount of calories in a small amount of condensed milk. This helped ensure the victory of the Union in the Civil War. Most of the Union soldiers thought it tasted good, so, after the war had ended, they spread the word about condensed milk, which made it very popular. Eventually, in the early 1900s, the condensed milk market turned into a bubble, with too many companies chasing too little demand. Also, a company called Nestlé started out as a condensed milk manufacturer, and it became a large company with a few famous candy bars, such as the Butterfinger. In conclusion, condensed milk helped lead to the victory of the Union in the Civil War, and it led to the rise of Nestlé.
The sleeping car is a train car in which its passengers can sleep on beds, rather than on their seats. Before it was invented, passengers were forced to sleep on their uncomfortable seats on long train rides. George Mortimer Pullman (1831–1897) was an American engineer and industrialist. He was born in Brocton, New York. Pullman moved with his family to Albion, New York, along the Erie Canal. He went there on a packet boat, which had some beds in it. At Albion, he attended local schools, but dropped out of school at the age of fourteen, and started working as a clerk for a country merchant. Pullman went on a train ride from Buffalo to Westfield, New York. He had to sleep in the seats, which was very uncomfortable. Then, he remembered the beds on the packet boats he went on some years before, and he invented a train car with beds modeled after the beds on the packet boats. The first sleeping car was built by his company, the Pullman Palace Car Company, in 1865. At first, he made luxury sleeping cars for the rich. They not only had beds, but they also had living space for its passengers, and a restaurant. The restaurants he had in his first sleeping cars contended with some of the best in the world. These first sleeping cars were known as “hotels on wheels”. But, they soon became affordable to the public, although a ticket for one of his cars was five times more expensive than a regular train ticket. There were normally two beds on each side of the car. The first one would be on top, and the second would be on the bottom; the bed on the top would fold into the wall completely at daytime. The one at the bottom, on the other hand, would be comprised of two seats on either side of each other. They would be up like normal during daytime, but during nighttime they would be flat, so they could be laid on.
Pullman had a great chance for publicity after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. He took that chance, and arranged to carry the deceased president to Springfield, Illinois, where he would be buried. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered around the track in homage. This gave Pullman national attention, and orders for his sleeping cars poured in. He advertised his cars as “luxury for the middle class”.
He had porters work on his cars, called “Pullman porters”. They were mostly African-American slaves who had been freed in the Civil War, which had recently ended. Their salary was one of the best an African-American could get at the time. These porters gave a variety of services to the passengers, including serving them food. The Pullman porters became a source of news for the passengers, and they also spread jazz music and blues. Also, some of these porters came together to form the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, which greatly helped the Civil Rights movement. Lastly, the sleeping car helped make train rides more comfortable, and it led to the popularity of jazz and blues.
Toilet paper is paper used to wipe urine or feces after using the toilet. It was first invented in the sixth century AD in China, but it never spread anywhere else. Many different methods were used to wipe waste. Royalty used wool, lace or hemp. Less wealthy people commonly used their hands, rocks, seashells, wood shavings, rags, and grass. In America, corncobs were used as well as newspapers. In Rome, a sponge on a stick was used at Rome’s public bathrooms. It was stored inside a bucket of saltwater, and after it was used, it would be put back into the saltwater for the next person to use.
Modern toilet paper was invented by Joseph C. Gayetty (1810–1895) in 1857. He marketed it by showing that using newspapers had ink with arsenic in it, and how medical professionals should be telling the public how dangerous it was. He also showed how beneficial his toilet paper was for people with hemorrhoids. The medical establishment called him a quack, but their reputation was already distrusted because they didn’t tell people how bad using newspapers was for people. Gayetty’s toilet paper spread quickly. It was improved over time. For example, Quilted Northern made the first splinter-free toilet paper. Finally, toilet paper is an effective, clean way to wipe waste.
The washing machine is a device used to wash laundry, such as clothing and sheets. Before it was invented, the housewife had to tediously wash laundry by hand, which was very time-consuming. In fact, it took up much of the housewife’s day. Housewives also had to laboriously haul water from a spring or well for washing laundry. Water was often reused because of this. There were a few minor improvements on the process, such as the washboard, but it never changed much. In England in the 1850s, there were steam driven commercial washing machines, but residentially, women still washed laundry the old way. In 1858, Hamilton Smith invented the washing machine in America. It used an agitator to beat and scrub the laundry. It was turned by a hand-powered crank. His machine was much easier than the previous method. It improved over time, and, in 1904, electricity was implemented. By the 1930s, a million washing machines were being sold per year. The washing machine gave women more free time. This resulted in the rise of the restaurant industry since women had more time to go out of the house.
The Most Interesting Invention
The most interesting invention is toilet paper because it made wiping away urine or feces much less painful and more hygienic than before.
The time of year has come when millions of people put trees in their houses, deceive their children about Santa Claus, and break the 2nd Commandment? Today it seems absurd even for Christians not to celebrate a holiday with family, presents, a tree, and much more. However, there is reason not to celebrate Christmas. First, ironically, the part that most Christians use to defend it is actually a fault. It’s the celebration of Jesus’ birthday, right? Why not celebrate it? Actually, we don’t even know if it is His birthday. Also, where does the Bible say that we should celebrate His birthday? Some may ask “Where does the Bible forbid celebrating Christmas?” It forbids all kinds of worship of God in a way that is not specified in the Bible in the 1st and 2nd Commandments: when we worship God in our own way, we are making our own imagination equal to God’s Word. This sin is known as blasphemy, and it is prohibited in the very first written commandments that God gave His people. This same argument can also be put against Easter.
Another problem, that does not always plague Christmas, is lying. Parents lie to their children that there is a magical creature called “Santa Claus” who delivers presents to them. This is prohibited in the 9th Commandment. Also, it tricks children into believing in a creature that would basically be a god, thus causing them to sin against the 1st and 2nd Commandments. This sin would also be put onto the parents (Luke 17:1-2).
Safety Elevator, Syringe, Bessemer Process, Egg-Beater
The safety elevator is a device that can lift or lower people or cargo safely. Elevators existed in some form since ancient times. For example, the Roman architect Vitruvius reported that Archimedes had built an elevator around 236 BC with pulleys vertically moving a cab that the rider would sit in. Although miner improvements were made, including the implementation of a screw drive, it was not used by many people since it was very dangerous. It was dangerous because the rope would snap often and cause the cab to fall to the ground.
Elisha Graves Otis (1811–1861) was an American industrialist and inventor born in Halifax, Vermont to Stephen Otis and Phoebe Glynn. He moved from his home at the age of nineteen, settling at Troy, New York. He married Susan A. Houghton in 1834.
After narrowly surviving a terrible case of pneumonia, he set up his own gristmill to bring income for his family, but he was not successful. So, he converted it into a sawmill, but he again was not successful.
Following the death of his wife, he moved to Albany, New York with his two sons and married again. He worked as a doll-maker for Otis Tingely. He was very tired of working all day only to make twelve toys. So, he invented a robot turner. Although the robot turner did not make dolls, his boss gave him a five-hundred dollar bonus for it.
Otis then started his own business. At a leased building for his business, he began designing an emergency train break. However, he was put out of business when the stream he was using for power was diverted by the City of Albany for its fresh water supply. He then moved to Bergen City, New Jersey to work as a mechanic. After that, he moved to Yonkers, New York where he converted an abandoned saw mill to a bedstead factory, in which his robot turner was utilized to make bedsteads faster than ever before.
At the age of forty, while Otis (Elisha) was cleaning up his factory, he was wondering how he could easily bring the old debris to the higher levels of the factory. He had heard of the previous elevators, but he was unwilling to take the risk of them falling to the ground. So, he and his sons built their own safety elevator. The safety elevator worked the same as its predecessors. But, it had an added safety mechanism that would use some teeth to latch on to some other teeth on the elevator track if the cable had broken.
At first, Otis neither patented it or sold it. But, after his bedstead company declined, Otis turned it into an elevator company at first called “Union Elevator Works”, but he eventually renamed it to “Otis Brothers & Company”. However, no one bought from him. So, in 1854, he rented some space from the New York Crystal Palace for New York’s World’s Fair. In that space, he set up his elevator, and put himself in it. After being raised to the top in front of an audience, he commanded an axe man to cut the rope. The amazed audience watched as the elevator only dropped a few inches, and then came to a halt. He repeated this every hour of the World’s fair. After this dramatic demonstration, sales for his elevator went very high.
Before the safety elevator was being used in buildings, they were limited to about six stories since it was very difficult to carry things up a large flight of stairs. This made the top floors the cheapest, and the lower floors the most expensive. After the safety elevator was popularized, it made carrying things up much easier, and made the top floors the most expensive and the bottom floors cheapest. It also let buildings become taller than ever before. Lastly, the safety elevator made skyscrapers possible, and much of the modern world.
The syringe is a device used to inject medications into a human or animal. The first syringes have been around since ancient times. For example, in the 1st Century AD, the Roman Aulus Cornelius Celsus mentioned their use for treatment of medical complications in his De Medicina. However, these inventions were lost to time. Because of this, medications had to be administered via surgery, which was very dangerous.
Alexander Wood (1817–1884) was a Scottish physician and inventor born to Dr. James and Mary Wood. He attended Edinburgh University and got a medical degree. Wood invented the hypodermic syringe in 1853 while trying to figure out how to inject morphine into patients with neuralgia. He was inspired by the bee’s stinger.
There were many improvements on the original syringe, including the one-handed syringe, in 1899, and the glass syringe, in 1946. The disposable syringe was invented in 1949. The syringe greatly improved upon the old method of administering medication. It helped people with diabetes to inject themselves with insulin, and it made localized anesthesia possible. Finally, the syringe has led to much of modern medicine.
The Bessemer process is a process for quickly and efficiently producing steel. Before it was invented, steel was very expensive and difficult to produce. Henry Bessemer (1813–1898) was an English inventor who invented the Bessemer process. Bessemer’s father, Anthony Bessemer, was a great inventor who invented many things, including a device for the Paris Mint.
Bessemer invented the Bessemer process after a conversation with Napoleon III about steel for weapons used for the Crimean War. Bessemer began experimenting for ways to make steel in 1855. One time, after an experiment with his furnace, he accidentally left a few pieces of pig iron on top of a ladle and when he came to push them into the ladle, he realized that they had been converted into steel shells. The hot air alone had turned them into steel.
This discovery led him to redesign his furnace. The new furnace forced high-pressure hot air through molten pig iron. This created a chemical reaction that turned the pig iron into steel. Bessemer patented this process in 1856, and licensed it to four ironmasters. However, they couldn’t get it to work right, although Bessemer could. He then started his own business, and became very successful.
In 1862, the Bessemer process was licensed in America to Alexander Holley. It soon spread to a few other steel producers in America, including Andrew Carnegie. He started a steel company called “Carnegie Steel Company” in 1892. In 1901, Carnegie sold it to John Pierpont Morgan’s United States Steel Corporation. From this money, Carnegie became one of the richest men in American history. He then began giving away much of his money, which helped encourage colleges to bring secular teaching into their curriculums.
The Bessemer process was crucial to the industrialization of the western world. It made skyscrapers possible, and many other buildings and bridges. In conclusion, the Bessemer process helped lead to the secular teachings in colleges, and the industrialization of the western world.
The egg-beater (most commonly called a kitchen mixer) is a device that mixes ingredients together. Before the 1800s, bread dough had to be mixed laboriously with a wooden spoon. This made bread and other baked goods expensive and difficult to get.
Ralph Collier was an American tinner from Baltimore. He invented and patented the egg-beater/kitchen-mixer in 1856. It had two beaters, which were turned by a system of gears and a crank turned by the user’s hand. In 1857, E.P. Griffith independently invented and patented a type of whisk in England. Then, in 1859, J.F. and E.P. Monroe patented a type of egg-beater. Their patent was bought and used by the Dover Stamping Company. The Dover Stamping Company’s egg-beaters became a classic American brand. The first electrically powered egg-beater was invented by an American named Rufus Eastman in 1885. Herbert Johnson, an engineer for the Hobart Manufacturing Company, invented an industrial electric standing mixer. His inspiration came from the movements of a professional baker with a metal spoon. A few years afterward, Herbert made electric mixers for use at home. They became the KitchenAid brand, which is still around today.
The egg-beater has helped make frozen goods possible: all the ingredients for a store-bought baked good are mixed with the egg-beater to create a dough in a factory, then the dough is frozen at a store where a customer buys it for their own use. This made much of the convenience of the modern world possible.
The Most Interesting Invention
The most interesting invention is the Bessemer process because of how much it transformed the world.
I could not think of just one influential person in my life, so I will write about two: my mom and my dad. They are my parents, so it is obvious that my parents would have the most influence on my life. They brought (and are bringing) me up in a condo in Washington County, Wisconsin. They have homeschooled me since I was old enough, probably at three years old. However, my mom taught me by herself until I was nine years old, when we switched to the Ron Paul Curriculum. They have taught me many things outside of school, such as many things about God and Christianity. Those are the two most influential people in my life.
History of Inventions II
Jackhammer, Pin-Tumbler Lock, Safety Pin, Gyroscopes
The jackhammer (also called, in British English, demolition hammer or pneumatic drill) is a device used to demolish hard surfaces by smashing them with a large drill bit at over twenty times per second. Before it was invented, mining needed many strong men with pickaxes toiling for a long time to find coal or the ore desired. Johnathan J. Couch was an inventor from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania who invented the jackhammer in 1848 and patented it in 1849. He invented it most likely to help miners find coal easily. Couch’s jackhammer was steam-powered, putting it in a wave of many other steam-powered innovations. It used steam-power to smash hard surfaces at about twenty times a second. However, the steam engine emitted many hazardous gases and the mines did not have any ventilation system. Because of this, in 1849, Couch’s assistant, Joseph W. Fowle, filed a patent caveat for a jackhammer of his own design. It used compressed air instead of a steam engine, but worked similarly otherwise. This made it the first pneumatic drill and it fixed the problem of hazardous gases in mining. Pneumatic drills are the most common kind of jackhammer. However, some are electromechanical, using both electricity and moving parts.
The pneumatic drill was used mainly by miners because it made breaking into coal seams much easier and because the pneumatic drill did not contaminate the air with hazardous gases, like the original did.
In addition, in Europe since the 1840s, Carlo Alberto, the king of Sardinia, wanted to construct a seven-and-a-half mile tunnel through Mount Fréjus to create a link by rail between Italy and France. It was soon realized that a mechanical rock drill was needed. This prompted research in pneumatic drills. In 1854 in England, Thomas Bartlett invented his own version of the jackhammer and patented it in 1855. He demonstrated it before the officials of the Mount Fréjus tunnel project. It was eventually used, and the project would most likely have been impossible without it. Jackhammers were also used in demolition projects. Lastly, jackhammers allowed many tunnels to be built, and many structures to be demolished much easier than it would have been without it.
The pin-tumbler lock is a lock that uses pins of different lengths corresponding to the ups and downs on the key used to open it. Each pin has two parts, the top part is always the same size, and the bottom part is different. When the correct key is inserted, the lines between the two parts of the pin line up on all the pins, allowing the door to be unlocked and opened. Before it was invented, locks were very easy to pick, which was a danger especially to the banking industry. Linus Yale, Senior (1797–1858), invented the pin-tumbler lock in 1848. He was born in Middletown, Connecticut, and later moved with his parents to Salisbury, New York. Yale opened a lock shop in the early 1840s in Newport, New York, and specialized in bank locks. Yale realized that the banks were in desperate need of a new and more secure kind of lock. He then invented the pin-tumbler-lock because of this. He began selling it to banks, and it worked much better than the other locks. In 1850, Linus Yale, Junior, Yale’s son, joined him in the business. After his father’s death in 1858, being inspired by his father’s 1840s lock, Yale invented and patented his own improved version of the pin-tumbler lock in 1861. He used this design to create his “Yale Magic Infallible Bank Lock”. He marketed it first by writing pamphlets on how to pick his competitor’s locks, and then showing how his locks did not have these vulnerabilities. He also used a list of nine benefits over his competitor’s locks.
In 1868, Yale, along with Henry Robinson Towne, founded the Yale Lock Manufacturing Company in Stamford, Connecticut. It was later renamed to The Yale and Towne Manufacturing Company. Using his marketing techniques, his company became very successful.
The pin-tumbler lock is still used today, and is the most common lock used to lock houses. Some pin-tumbler locks have other anti-picking features added to them to make them even safer. Finally, pin-tumbler locks allow for secure banks and homes, as well as other features such as easy re-keying and master keys.
The safety pin is a pin that is prevented from poking someone by being put inside a clasp. Before it was invented, pins were commonly used to fasten clothing, but they could easily poke the wearer, or wiggle themselves out.
An American inventor named Walter Hunt (1796–1859) invented the safety pin. He was born in Martinsburg, New York.
In 1849, Hunt invented the safety pin to pay off a fifteen dollar debt (about four-hundred and sixty dollars in 2017 money) to a friend by inventing and patenting the safety pin, then selling the patent. He sold it for four-hundred dollars (about twelve thousand dollars in 2017 money) to W.R. Grace and Company. Hunt then used that money to pay off his debt, using fifteen dollars for the debt, and leaving three-hundred and eighty-five dollars for himself.
W.R. Grace and Company began selling the safety pin, and they specifically targeted mothers and nurses. Mothers needed a solution for their babies and cloth diapers. In those days, babies wore cloth diapers, which were secured onto the baby with pins. However, these pins could poke the baby, which was not pleasant either for the baby or the mother. The safety pin fixed this. Nurses also needed safety pins because regular pins could poke the patient, which could be deadly in some cases. W.R. Grace and Company became very successful.
The safety pin has a regular pin and a clasp. The pin can be taken out of the clasp to be poked through and fasten clothing, then put inside the clasp to prevent the person on which it is being used from being poked themselves.
The safety pin is used in many modern applications, such as securing a marathon runner’s bib, the piece of paper indicating the runner’s number, onto their clothing. Lastly, the safety pin has allowed clothing to be fastened, without pain on the wearer’s side.
The gyroscope is a spinning top combined with a pair of gimbals. It can be balanced on a finger, move across a string and more due to the top’s spinning. The first gyroscope, called the “Machine” was invented in 1817 by the German astronomer and mathematician Johann Gottlieb Friedrich von Bohnenberger. A similar invention was invented by the American inventor Walter R. Johnson in 1832. A French mathematician in Paris named Pierre-Simon Laplace recommended its use as a teaching aid. Then, a Frenchman named Jean Bernard Léon Foucault noticed this and he became the first to popularize it. Foucault was born in 1819 to a publisher. After being educated mostly at home, he studied medicine, but abandoned it due to a phobia of blood. Foucault then moved on to physics. He at first directed his attention to improving Louis Daguerre’s photographic processes. He then performed an experiment that showed that light moved slower through water than air. This was seen as proof against Isaac Newton’s corpuscular theory of light, which stated that light is a particle. In 1851, he gave an experimental demonstration of the Earth’s rotation with a pendulum suspended from the roof of the Panthéon in Paris.
In 1852, he used and named the gyroscope for more experimental proof of the Earth’s rotation. This greatly helped in popularizing the gyroscope, and it helped prove the rotation of the Earth. He named it from the Ancient Greek words γῦρος gûros, “circle” and σκοπέω skopéō, “to look”. In 1855, Foucault received the Copley Medal of the Royal Society for his research.
The advent of electric motors in the 1860s made it possible for a gyroscope to spin indefinitely. This led to the gyrocompass, invented by the German inventor Hermann Franz Joseph Hubertus Maria Anschütz-Kaempfe in 1904.
Gyroscopes are used in satellites to calculate position, as well as in many consumer electronics. Lastly, the gyroscope made possible many modern things, including the satellite, which made GPS possible.
The Most Interesting Invention
The most interesting invention is the pin-tumbler lock because it made homes and many other places secure.
History of Inventions IIRotary Printing Press, Kerosene, Antiseptics, Gas Mask
Rotary Printing Press
The rotary printing press is a large device used to quickly print large amounts of paper. In the 1500s, the original printing press was invented by Johann Gutenberg in Europe. It printed around one thousand pages per hour, and it never was improved since. It had the type put onto a flat surface, which would then be put onto the paper. Its speed was limited because a flat surface had to be pushed onto a another flat surface, the paper. Richard March Hoe (1812–1886) was an American inventor born in New York City. He was the son of Robert Hoe. Richard also had two brothers: Peter Smith Hoe and Robert Hoe II. Hoe’s father, along with his brothers-in-law Peter Smith and Matthew Smith, established a factory for producing printing presses in New York City. Richard joined his father and his uncles in the business, and, after his father’s death in 1833, he became the head of their printing press company, R. Hoe & Company. He was later joined by his younger brother, Robert Hoe II. Hoe was very creative, and made many improvements, including improving the production of steel saws, which he added to his business.
In 1843, Hoe used his creativity to invent the rotary printing press. He patented it in 1847 and received U.S. Patent number 5,199. The rotary printing press had a rotating cylinder with type on it. This meant that pages could be printed continuously, which was impossible with the original.
The original printing press printed approximately one thousand pages per hour, but the rotary printing press could print over seven million pages per hour! It was first used by Arunah Shepherdson Abell, in his newspaper The Baltimore Sun. In 1887, William Randolph Hearst used the rotary printing press to print newspapers and magazines and created a company that became the largest newspaper and magazine company in the world. This company had great power to convince its readers, and it used this power to help elect Theodore Roosevelt, who started the progressive era. The rotary printing press also helped create some industries, such as the greeting card industry and the magazine industry.
Kerosene, also known as lamp oil or paraffin, is a chemical, normally derived from petroleum, that is used in jets and some rockets. It was also used in lamps before electric lighting became popular. Kerosene was first discovered by the Islamic scientist Al-Razi during the Islamic Golden Age, but the recipe was lost to time. Before the 1800s, because of the loss of the recipe to kerosene, there were only two kinds of lamps: lamps that used coal oil and lamps that used whale oil. Coal oil could only be used outdoors because it burned with a large amount of smoke, and whale oil had a very foul smell, despite burning much cleaner.
Abraham Pineo Gesner was a Canadian inventor who invented kerosene. He was a physician who did geology on the side. He became interested in geology after meeting Charles Lyell while he was visiting England. During his geological research, he developed a process of refining coal to a liquid. He demonstrated it in 1846, and coined the name “Kerosene”. He then trademarked it. He created a company to produce kerosene in Canada, and later moved to New York, where he started another company. In 1854, he patented kerosene, but only after James Young had already done so. However, Gesner’s kerosene was superior to that of Young.
In 1859, petroleum was discovered after being found seeping into a well where salt was mined. It was soon discovered that petroleum could be distilled, and kerosene would be one of the byproducts. This wasn’t included in Gesner’s patent, so many sellers began to use it.
As kerosene became more popular, whaling decreased. In 1858, the American whaling fleet had one hundred and ninety-nine ships, but in 1860, it only had one hundred and sixty-seven ships. In 1866, one hundred and five ships. In 1876, there were only thirty-nine ships.
John D. Rockefeller was an American businessman who started the Standard Oil Company. It was very prominent, and put many of its competitors out of business. After being sued, Rockefeller’s large company was made into many smaller companies, but this made Rockefeller very rich since he was now getting income from many companies. Rockefeller became one of the richest people in America, his profits amounting to over forty billion dollars in 2016 currency. Rockefeller used his money to influence the public school system, and help allow massive government intervention in various industries and the economy.
Antiseptics are chemicals used to disinfect one’s hands from bacteria and viruses. In the mid ninetieth century, puerperal fever, also known as childbed fever, was a common and deadly disease in hospitals.
The Vienna General Hospital was a hospital with two obstetrical clinics. The first one had an eighteen percent mortality rate, due to puerperal fever, and the second one had a four percent mortality rate. However, mothers were fully aware of this, and they were admitted to the hospitals based on the day they came on. Most mothers who were admitted to the first clinic would beg doctors on their knees to go to the clinic with a four percent mortality rate. Others would give birth in the streets and pretend that they had given birth accidently while traveling to the clinic.
Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis (1818–1865) was a Hungarian physician who invented antiseptics. He was an assistant to Professor Johann Klein in the first clinic, a position comparable to the position chief resident in the U.S. today. Semmelweis witnessed the women begging doctors and giving birth in the streets, and it made him miserable. He was also perplexed that the women who gave birth in the streets did not contract puerperal fever. He tried to find a difference between the two clinics, by trying to compare their similarities. The only difference was that midwives worked in the second clinic, and medical students worked in the first. The midwives only delivered babies, but the medical students also performed autopsies. Also, after performing an autopsy, the medical students would then help deliver a baby, without any cleansing step in between. Today, this sounds as if the medical students were doing this intentionally to kill mothers. However, there was nothing seen wrong with this practice since it was never thought it could spread disease.
In 1847, one of his good friends, Jakob Kolletschka, died of puerperal fever, after being accidentally poked with a student’s scalpel. Semmelweis noticed that his friend had the same symptoms as the infected women. He then speculated that his friend’s death and the women’s death were caused by contamination from dead bodies. Semmelweis afterward implemented hand-washing with a chlorine solution between autopsies and births, and the mortality rate dropped almost immediately, from eighteen percent to one percent.
The germ theory had not been proven at the time. Because of this, Semmelweis proposed that the foul smell from the dead bodies was carried from the doctors’ hands into the women. This fit in to the theory of the day, the miasma theory, which said that disease was caused by foul smells.
Semmelweis presented his ideas to the medical establishment accompanied with a graph showing the way the mortality rate had declined, but this got rejected. He was still rejected even after he reproduced his findings in many other hospitals. Semmelweis was rejected mostly because the establishment did not want to admit that doctors carried disease. He had a nervous breakdown because he could not get anyone to believe him. He died in an asylum after being beat by some guards at the age of forty-seven.
Semmelweis’ theory was only accepted twenty years after his death, when Louis Pasteur proved germ theory. Semmelweis saved hundreds of lives in his own lifetime, and his theory saved millions afterward.
The gas mask is a device used for safely breathing in environments that either have large amounts of hazardous gases, or have large quantities of particulates in the air. Most gas masks are appropriate in both situations.
Before gas masks, mining and firefighting were very dangerous. They were dangerous not only from the risk of collapse or being burned, but of the hazardous particulates and gases from the ore or the smoke from the fire.
There have been some versions of gas masks since ancient times. The Greeks used the common sponge put over their mouth and nose to protect themselves from hazards in the air. In the ninth century AD, the Banu Musa brothers in Iraq invented a gas mask that they described in their Book of Igneous Devices. Alexander Von Humboldt in 1799 invented a kind of gas mask while he was working as a mining engineer in Prussia.
The precursor to the modern gas mask was invented and patented by Lewis Phectic Heslett. It filtered dust from the air. Due to the murkiness of historical records, not much is known about how it was invented.
The modern gas mask was developed during World War I by the British, French, Canadian, and American forces in response to the German chemical warfare. It was first invented by the British Dr. Cluny MacPherson, and it soon spread to Canada, France, and America.
The gas mask is used in many modern applications, such as firefighting, mining, and by police using tear-gas on rioters.
The Most Interesting Invention
The most interesting invention is the gas mask since it led to the possibility of so many industries that would have been deadly otherwise.
History of Inventions II
Diethyl Ether, Fax Machine, Iron Steam-Powered Passenger Ships, Ice Cream Maker
Diethyl ether is a chemical that was the first general anesthetic. Surgery was a very painful operation, and alcohol was often used to reduce the pain, but it wasn’t enough. The patient would scream in pain, and several strong men were needed to hold the patient down. It was so painful, that many chose certain death over surgery.
Crawford Williamson Long (1815–1878) was an American Calvinist inventor and physician working in Jefferson, Georgia. He was the inventor of ether. He became a physician after graduating from medical school. During his time there, like most students, he attended “ether frolics”, which were essentially parties where the attendants would inhale a chemical called diethyl ether, which brought them into a sort of drunken stupor of which they had no recollection about. Long was at one of these frolics, when he noticed that some of the attendants bruised themselves and felt no pain. Long used ether as an anesthetic for the first time when he performed surgery on a patient by the name of James Venable with a tumor in his neck. The patient felt no pain. Long later removed another tumor from the same man under anesthesia. He then used it on seven other patients. However, he didn’t publish his work.
On October 16th, 1846 William Thomas Green Morton demonstrated ether being used on another man at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. His work was published in the December 1846 issue of Medical Examiner. This alerted Long of Morton’s claim. After that, Long began documenting his experiments and he submitted them to the Medical College of Georgia in 1849. He then learned of two other men trying to get credit for ether: Charles Jackson and Horace Wells. Even though Morton added another chemical to ether so he could patent his version, which he called letheon, doctors soon realized it was ether. Jackson and Morton were tangled in a bitter legal dispute and pamphlet war that lasted twenty years. Jackson died insane at the McLean Asylum in Belmont, Massachusetts. Then, Morton read a newspaper that claimed Jackson deserved the credit, and he became feverish, and threw himself into a pond at New York’s Central Park. He died soon afterward. Wells then left his family and went to New York, where he was arrested for throwing acid on prostitutes. While in prison, he doused himself in chloroform, a newly discovered anesthetic, then cut open one of his arteries and bled to death. Long believed that Morton and Wells stole the idea from him.
James Simpson was inspired by ether to invent chloroform, which was used for a while on women during delivery. Lastly, ether, now mostly replaced by newer anesthetics, has led to life-saving surgeries that would have been too unbearable to the patient without it.
The fax (short for facsimile) machine is a device used to transmit a document across long distances. Alexander Bain (1811–1877) was a Scottish inventor who invented the first fax machine by using electricity for practical purposes. He then improved it in 1850. However, he was too late, as Fredrick Bakewell had already obtained a patent for a superior “image telegraph”. Despite these improvements, both Bain and Bakewell’s versions were both unviable systems since the transmitter and receiver were never truly synchronized. In 1861, the first practical system was invented: the Pantelegraph. It was invented and built by the Italian physicist Giovanni Caselli between Paris and Lyon in 1865.
Bain’s machine used a clock to synchronize the movement of two pendulums, which scanned the paper. Metal pins put on a cylinder made of an insulating material were scanned by an electric probe that sent on-and-off pulses. The message was reproduced at the receiving machine on electrochemically sensitive paper saturated with a chemical solution similar to the one used in his chemical telegraph.
The modern fax machine came from the Xerox Corporation in 1964 under the name Long Distance Xerography (LDX). It was then improved in their later model, which set the standard for fax machines for years to come. It worked with a scanner scanning the document and a modulator converting the information from the scanner into sounds, based on areas of dark and light, then, it would be decoded by the recipient’s demodulator, then printed by the recipient.
Up until this point, fax machines were very expensive and difficult to operate. But, in 1966, Xerox released the Magnafax Telecopiers. They were smaller, 46-pound fax machines capable of transmitting a small document in five minutes. It was far cheaper, and easier to operate than the ones that came before it. Also, it could be connected to any standard phone line to transmit and receive documents. Newer fax machines can transmit a small document within five seconds. Today, the fax machine is on the decline and is being replaced with cheaper fax software, which is normally even faster and more convenient than fax machines. Nonetheless, either technology allow documents to be transmitted much faster than before.
Iron Steam-Powered Passenger Ships
Iron steam-powered passenger ships are passenger ships made of iron and powered by steam. Isambard Kingdom Brunel FRS (1806–1859) was an English inventor and son of Sir Marc Isambard Brunel and Sophia Kingdom. He had two older sisters, Sophia and Emma. Despite his family’s constant financial worries, he had a happy childhood. His father taught him drawing and observational techniques from the age of four, and Brunel had learned geometry at age eight. He also learned to fluently speak French and the basic principles of engineering. When he was eight he was sent to Dr. Morrell’s boarding school where he learned the classics. His father, a Frenchman at birth, believed that Brunel should have access to high-quality education. At the age of fourteen, he (Isambard Kingdom Brunel) was enrolled first at the University of Caen Normandy, then at Lycée Henri-IV in Paris. He and his father both worked on the Thames Tunnel project for several years.
In 1833, before the tunnel was completed, Brunel was appointed as the chief engineer of the Great Western Railway. It ran from London to Bristol and later Exeter. Brunel envisioned that one day passengers would be able to buy one ticket at London, then, after transferring from the Great Western Railway, travel to New York by a steamship.
Brunel theorized that a large ship would need proportionally less fuel than a small ship. He then started the Great Western Steamboat Company and built the SS Great Western to test this. It was the longest ship of its time, at two-hundred and thirty-six feet long with a two-hundred and fifty foot keel. The ship was mostly comprised of wood, but had iron bolts and diagonal reinforcements to maintain the keel’s strength. To add to its paddlewheels, it had four masts for sails.
The Great Western‘s maiden voyage was from Avonmouth, Bristol, to New York on 8 April, 1838 with six-hundred long tons (six-hundred and ten thousand kilograms) of coal, cargo and seven passengers on board. Brunel was unable to be on the ship on this voyage as he was injured in a fire on board a few days before the launch.
The fire delayed the voyage by several days, and gave the competing vessel, the Sirius, a four-day head start. It arrived at New York only one day before the Great Western. The Great Western took only fifteen days to cross the Atlantic. In contrast, the Sirius took eighteen days, three more than the Great Western. The Sirius also used most of its fuel, some rumors say that it had to burn some furniture and a mast to keep going. However, there is no historical evidence that supports this claim. The Great Western had one third of its coal left when it arrived at New York.
The Great Western proved the viability of commercial transatlantic steamship service, which made the Great Western Steamboat Company use it regularly in service, from 1838 to 1846. In total it made sixty-four crossings.
The transatlantic service was successful enough that a sister ship was needed. Brunel had become convinced of the superiority of propellers over paddlewheels, and after some tests on the propeller-driven ship Archimedes, he incorporated a large six-blade propeller into his new three-hundred and twenty-two foot ship, the SS Great Britain, which was launched in 1843. It is considered the first iron steam-powered passenger ship. The Great Britain was the first steamship to be built out of metal instead of wood. Its maiden voyage was made in August and September 1845, from Liverpool to New York.
In the 1880s, demand for steamships increased as many began to immigrate to America. As they came, they provided cheap labor, which was still far better for them compared to what they had in Europe. This led to the “Gilded Age”. It was called so because some thought it looked good on the outside, as it was an era of great wealth, but the politics was not good. This led to government intervention starting from Rockefeller and the Federal Reserve.
Ice Cream Maker
The ice cream maker is a device used to mix together and cool ingredients to make ice cream. Ice cream was a delicacy from ancient times enjoyed only by the richest people. In the 5th century BC, the Greeks would eat snow mixed with honey and fruit in the markets of Athens. In 400 BC, the Persians invented a special chilled food, made from rose water and vermicelli (a kind of pasta), which was served to royalty during summers. A frozen mixture of milk and rice was eaten around 200 BC in China. The Roman Emperor Nero had ice brought from the mountains and mixed it with fruit to create chilled delicacies.
A legend that started appearing in the 19th century said that when an Italian duchess named Catherine de’ Medici married the Duke of Orléans (Henry II of France) in 1533, she brought to France with herself some Italian chefs who had some recipes for flavored ices or sorbets. In the legend, it also says that one hundred years after the Italian chefs were brought to France, Charles I of England was so impressed by the “frozen snow”, that he offered a lifetime payment to his ice cream maker so that ice cream could become a royal privilege. There is no historical evidence to support this legend.
Ice cream was brought to America by the Quaker colonists who brought their ice cream recipes with them. Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson were known to regularly eat ice cream. However, it was inaccessible to the public.
Ice cream was made by putting a canister into a barrel, putting ice around the canister and spinning it. However, the ice cream would get stuck onto the sides of the canister, so it had to be laboriously scraped off. This was very time consuming and expensive.
Nancy Johnson was an American inventor who invented the ice cream maker and patented it in 1843. She then sold her patent to William Young, who set up ice cream shops around the U.S. Not much else is known about her.
The ice cream maker works with a canister inside a barrel with a crank attached to a dasher which is put inside the canister, and is turned as the handle is turned. It mixes the ice cream ingredients and scrapes the ice cream off the sides. The barrel is filled with ice, to cool the ice cream in the canister.
The ice cream maker made ice cream much cheaper, especially when large ones in factories were made.
The Most Interesting Invention
The most interesting invention is the fax machine. One reason is that it made the process of sending business papers much easier.
As some of you know, I have a Codepen account. It’s where I write cool codes, and its also a place to talk in the comments, if you have an account. My account is https://www.codepen.io/NehemiahT /#. I hope you enjoy!
Note: the essays are now pages, and they’re links will be posted in this category. (History Essays)
P.S. This is out of date now. I’ve started using posts again.
Nehemiah A. Talavera
History of Inventions II
Introduction, the Suspension Bridge, Fire Hydrant, and Locomotive
Around 1800, economic growth began accelerating in the West. By that time, economic growth was at a rate of 2% per year. Although, 2% per year does not sound like much, it adds up quickly over ten or more years. For example if someone from 700 AD were put in 1700 AD, the world would be at least recognizable, but if someone from 1800 were put in 2000, the result would be very different. This gave inventors greater access and ability to get their inventions out to the public. One reason for this is the modern newspaper: it allowed inventions to be read about by a wider public than ever before. However, inventors often face adversity for their inventions. This adversity is mostly caused because the inventor is doing something that was thought impossible in long-standing beliefs of the time. But, in other cases, adversity is caused by people that made a living by doing something that was replaced or made obsolete by the invention; the affect would be the loss or reduction of income. Lastly, over the past 200 years, newer and newer inventions have helped transform our world quicker than ever before.
A suspension bridge is a bridge that has a platform hanging below suspension cables, and with vertical supports on the bottom.
Ancient bridges had several limitations. One ancient bridge, the arch bridge, was very strong, but took a lot of labor to construct. However, the arch bridge was needed in many places for its strength, but its limitation made it impossible for its construction. The ancient bridge that the suspension bridge was based on was the Chinese cable bridge: a bridge made of cables that could be walked on and held on to. The cable bridge was very cheap, but also very weak.
In the 1790s, an Irish immigrant who came to America, and who later became a state official of Pennsylvania, James Finley, was trying to build a new road system in Pennsylvania, but he needed a way to build bridges across the rivers. So, after his term was over in 1801, he started to experiment with weights and cables until he came up with the suspension bridge. He then made a contract with some political colleagues to build a suspension bridge over Jacob’s Creek in Pennsylvania. He acquired a patent for his suspension bridge in 1808. Others quickly copied Finley’s newspaper-published designs and they also developed their own variations.
In Britain, suspension bridges were being heard about and built, and another kind of bridge, a cable-stayed bridge, was invented. A cable-stayed bridge is very similar to a suspension bridge, but has a few differences. Finally, the suspension bridge allowed for cheap, light, and yet very strong bridges.
A fire hydrant is an iron or steel pipe sticking out of the ground that can be opened to let water out. This water can be used to fight fires.
Networks of buried wooden pipes began to proliferate during the middle ages; these pipes carried water and sewage. So, whenever there was a fire, the firefighters would dig down to find these pipes, than drill a hole in them to let the water out, then use that water to extinguish the fire. After that, they would plug the hole and bury it again. Then, these pipes started to have wooden spouts with removable plugs pre-installed onto them. The spouts themselves were called fire plugs. These plugs were filled with water by the pipe.
In the early 1800s, Frederick Graff built the Philadelphia Waterworks with wooden pipes and fire plugs, but it was faulty. Because of this faultiness, Graff built a new waterworks with iron pipes and fire plugs. These iron fire plugs were the first fire hydrants.
Other towns copied Philadelphia’s system and Graff’s plug spread. However, in the north, the water would freeze, so they would put straw around the hydrants, and in very cold conditions, watchmen would flush the water out to keep it from freezing. But this was very inefficient and expensive. So, a new design was made, it had no water in the hydrant, but kept underground until the valve was opened. Lastly, fire hydrants help firefighters save lives and property.
A locomotive is an automated device used to travel across railways.
Rail transport by horse developed since the 1500s, and by 1800 low-pressure steam engines hinted at high-pressure engines. William Murdoch was one high-pressure enthusiast, but his employer, James Watt, discouraged him, because Watt believed high pressure steam engines were dangerous.
Living next-door to Murdoch was a famous coal miner and his son, Richard Trevithick. Young Trevithick heard of the idea of high-pressure steam through Murdoch. So, when Trevithick was older he built the first locomotive from a small, mobile high-pressure steam engine in 1801 based on his mining experience. He called it the puffing devil, and he displayed it in a public demonstration. It soon spread to the US and Europe, and went on to transform the Western World.
The Most Interesting Invention
The most interesting invention is the locomotive. One reason is the world would be completely different without it: perishable goods would be impossible to transport, and many other inventions need locomotives for transport.