IK Brunel – was he our greatest engineer?

He has been described as one of the most ingenious and prolific figures in engineering history, one of the 19th-century engineering giants.  One of the greatest figures of the Industrial Revolution, a man who changed Victorian England with his designs and ingenious constructions, which we can still see today. Brunel built dockyards, the Great Western […]

Who invented the Wheel?

The wheel, something we take for advantage, it seems so logical, but somebody had to invented it. I imagine the idea of the wheel came the first time someone saw a rock roll down a hillside. The step that made the wheel useful was when someone came up with the idea of attaching it to […]

It’s the greatest thing since sliced bread!

Otto Frederick Rohwedder, invented sliced bread and we are always telling people their idea is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Does that mean that Otto Frederick Rohwedder the greatest inventor? He was born in Davenport, Iowa, in 1880, from a German family and he lived there for most of his life, he even he […]

The history of Glasses

The picture above shows the first depiction of someone wearing glasses.  That was in 1352, however, well before this, the Romans were using a glass tube of water as a magnifier to read books. Then in the Middle Ages it is said that monks used a glass full of water to magnify what they were […]

The birth of the printing press

  Imagine a world without the printing press and no internet, how would we learn about things? An inventor was needed. That person was Johannes Gutenberg who in 1452 invented the printing press. So, was he the most famous inventor ever? Who was he and how did he invent the printing press? Well, he was […]

Who invented the telephone, was it ….?

You would think this was a silly question because we all know that it was Alexander Graham Bell who invented the telephone, but did you know that in fact there was a dispute because Elisha Gray also claimed to have invented the telephone, and he wasn’t the only one! It appears that there are regularly […]

April 1, 1960: First Weather Satellite Launched

No, no, it wasn’t an April fool! Yes, it was only just over 60 years ago, when something that we today take for granted first happened. On that day the first ever television picture, the one above, was sent from space. It started a revolution in television journalism. A revolution that three years later allowed […]

Who invented the Compass?

Well, we do know that the Chinese were known to use a magnetic compass during the Han Dynasty between the 2nd century BC and 1st century AD. Like the one on the left.  It wasn’t for navigation, no, they used them for fortune-telling! Then for divination, a way of finding the unknown by supernatural means. […]

Who was the first man to fly over the North Pole?

You would have thought that there wouldn’t have been any dispute over who the first man was to fly over the North Pole, but there was! They all claimed to be the first! They all claimed to have done it and are all disputed as being either of dubious accuracy or outright fraudulent. Frederick Cook […]

Mechanical Turk – a chess machine that could beat anyone

Have you heard of the Mechanical Turk? I do not mean the Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) Amazon’s crowdsourcing marketplace, this is not the same. The Mechanical Turk was a creation of Wolfgang von Kempelen. How did it happen? In 1769 when the French illusionist François Pelletier was invited to perform in Vienna at the court […]