Forget Edison: This is How History's Greatest Inventions Really Happened - Deepstash
Machine Learning With Google

Learn more about technologyandthefuture with this collection

Understanding machine learning models

Improving data analysis and decision-making

How Google uses logic in machine learning

Machine Learning With Google

Discover 95 similar ideas in

It takes just

14 mins to read

LIGHT-BULB

LIGHT-BULB

Incandescent light bulbs existed before Thomas Edison, and when other inventors got wind of Edison's tinkerings, they roundly sued him for patent infringement. 

So what did Edison actually do?

He discovered that a special species of bamboo had a higher resistance to electricity than carbonized paper, which means it could more efficiently produce light. Edison got rich off the bamboo, and from superior manufacturing and marketing of his product. 

Like all great inventions, the light bulb can’t be credited to one inventor. It was a series of small improvements.

27

191 reads

THE AIRPLANE

THE AIRPLANE

Speaking of building bikes, that's exactly what Orville and Wilbur Wright did before they became the first team to fly a heavier-than-air machine. 

When the Wrights asked the Smithsonian for all available information on the history of flight in 1899, they opened  a history that had begun with DaVinci's scribbling and continued all the way to the 19th century gliders of Otto Liliental.

But the Wrights solved one of the most nagging problems of airplane developers -- stability -- by having "a single cable warp the wing and turn the rudder at the same time."

27

203 reads

TELEGRAPH

TELEGRAPH

Samuel Morse was with friends and debating electromagnetism when he realized that if an electrical signal could travel instantly across a wire, why couldn't information do the same?

The telegraph was invented by not only Morse, but also Charles Wheatstone, Sir William Fothergill Cooke, Edward Davy, and Carl August von Steinhiel so near to each other that the British Supreme Court refused to issue one patent. 

It was Joseph Henry, who discovered that coiling wire would strengthen electromagnetic induction. 

Of Morse's contribution -- application of electromagnets to boost signal strength.

27

90 reads

TELEPHONE

TELEPHONE

Alexander Graham Bell invented a technology that would later bear his name. But how much did he deserve it? 

The problem that Bell solved was to turn electrical signals into sounds. 

Philip Reis had already designed a sound transmitter in 1860, and Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von Helmholtz had already built a receiver. Bell's real contribution was "to vary the strength of the current to capture variations in voice and sound," Lemley writes. 

He was racing against Thomas Edison. Even Bell's final product -- which combined transmitter, fluctuating current, and receiver -- had company. 

26

88 reads

THE MOVIE PROJECTOR

THE MOVIE PROJECTOR

Most of these stories here are about how we mistake incremental improvements. But the story of the movie projector is a story about theft. 

Francis Jenkins built what we consider the ur-instrument of the motion-picture industry with a projector that showed strips of films for 1/24th of a second, creating the illusion of moving pictures. 

But his financial backer stole the Jenkins prototype and sold it to a theater chain, which called it the "Edison Vitascope" for no better reason than the word Edison was familiar and useful for branding.

His legacy here was mostly the work of a thief.

27

69 reads

THE AUTOMOBILE

THE AUTOMOBILE

The car industry represents the epitome of incremental innovation. Take a tricycle. Add an engine. You've got a car. (Just look at the picture of the the original Benz Motorwagen from 1885).

Condensing the invention of cars to those six words leaves out a lot of detail and a few main characters. 

It was Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach who designed the first four-wheel car with a four-stroke engine and Henry Ford who perfected the assembly line. 

But the long story short is that the car was a typical "invention" that was far too complicated for one person to conceive on his won.

26

78 reads

COTTON GIN

COTTON GIN

The fabric cotton comes from cotton fibers that mix with seeds in the pods of cotton plants. To make the fabric, therefore, you have to separate the fibers from the seeds.

For centuries this was done mostly by hand, until Eli Whitney "invented" the cotton gin in 1793. 

Five years earlier, in 1788, Joseph Eve developed his own mechanized self-feeding roller gin. 

In 1795, John Barcley filed a patent on a gin featuring circles of teeth -- awfully similar to Whitney's wire-tooth model.

In short, the modern cotton gin was a eureka moment that multiple inventors experienced.

26

67 reads

TELEVISION

TELEVISION

The "Farnsworth Invention" was named after Philo T. Farnsworth, the nominal father of television. But his invention was neither his nor an invention. 

In 1927, Farnsworth projected a straight line on a machine he called the Image Dissector, which is truly the basis for the all-electronic television. 

One key was the cathode ray tube, but the cathode ray tube itself has so many fathers that it's difficult to say exactly who invented even the central organ of the television.

"It may be accurate to describe Farnsworth as an inventor of the television, but surely not as the inventor,"

26

68 reads

Four inventors they're almost all accidents

Four inventors they're almost all accidents

  • Alexander Fleming discovered the anti-bacterial properties of penicillin because a sample of bacteria had accidentally been contaminated with mold.
  • Charles Goodyear discovered vulcanized rubber when a batch of rubber was accidentally left on a stove; Goodyear had thought that heat was a problem for rubber, not solution.
  • Wilson Greatbatch developed the pacemaker when he accidentally grabbed the wrong resistor from a box when he was completing a circuit.
  • Louis Daguerre invented film when, having failed to produce an image on an iodized silver plate.

27

91 reads

CURATED BY

shirish_09

I'm not somebody you find twice

More like this

stash-superman-illustration

Explore the World’s

Best Ideas

200,000+ ideas on pretty much any topic. Created by the smartest people around & well-organized so you can explore at will.

An Idea for Everything

Explore the biggest library of insights. And we've infused it with powerful filtering tools so you can easily find what you need.

Knowledge Library

Powerful Saving & Organizational Tools

Save ideas for later reading, for personalized stashes, or for remembering it later.

# Personal Growth

Take Your Ideas

Anywhere

Organize your ideas & listen on the go. And with Pro, there are no limits.

Listen on the go

Just press play and we take care of the words.

Never worry about spotty connections

No Internet access? No problem. Within the mobile app, all your ideas are available, even when offline.

Get Organized with Stashes

Ideas for your next work project? Quotes that inspire you? Put them in the right place so you never lose them.

Join

2 Million Stashers

4.8

5,740 Reviews

App Store

4.7

72,690 Reviews

Google Play

Sean Green

Great interesting short snippets of informative articles. Highly recommended to anyone who loves information and lacks patience.

Ashley Anthony

This app is LOADED with RELEVANT, HELPFUL, AND EDUCATIONAL material. It is creatively intellectual, yet minimal enough to not overstimulate and create a learning block. I am exceptionally impressed with this app!

Shankul Varada

Best app ever! You heard it right. This app has helped me get back on my quest to get things done while equipping myself with knowledge everyday.

samz905

Don’t look further if you love learning new things. A refreshing concept that provides quick ideas for busy thought leaders.

Jamyson Haug

Great for quick bits of information and interesting ideas around whatever topics you are interested in. Visually, it looks great as well.

Ghazala Begum

Even five minutes a day will improve your thinking. I've come across new ideas and learnt to improve existing ways to become more motivated, confident and happier.

Giovanna Scalzone

Brilliant. It feels fresh and encouraging. So many interesting pieces of information that are just enough to absorb and apply. So happy I found this.

Laetitia Berton

I have only been using it for a few days now, but I have found answers to questions I had never consciously formulated, or to problems I face everyday at work or at home. I wish I had found this earlier, highly recommended!

Read & Learn

20x Faster

without
deepstash

with
deepstash

with

deepstash

Access to 200,000+ ideas

Access to the mobile app

Unlimited idea saving & library

Unlimited history

Unlimited listening to ideas

Downloading & offline access

Personalized recommendations

Supercharge your mind with one idea per day

Enter your email and spend 1 minute every day to learn something new.

Email

I agree to receive email updates