Invented 100 years ago in 1913

Last year, my most popular blog was a short article on a list of inventions from 1912, one hundred years earlier.

Here’s another list, from 1913, of a collection of everyday things that still have importance today.

Some of these were invented by professional experts, some by ordinary people who saw a way to solve an everyday problem. Some of them were not invented by the person who filed the patent at all but that person who did benefited from the massive sales of the invention: they saw that the invention of someone else was not being utilised and took the initiative.

So here are 10 inventions from 1913:

1. The Bra

The first modern brassiere to receive a patent was the one invented in 1913 by a New York socialite, Mary Phelps Jacob.

2. The Parachute

The parachute was invented in 1913 by Austria-Hungary born Stefan Banic, then living in Greenville, Pennsylvania.

3. Ecstasy

The Merck Chemical Company patented a mind-altering drug, N-methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyphenylisopropylamine, or MDMA, what is now know as ecstasy.

The world’s first ever crossword. Click on the image for the clues.

4. Windscreen Wipers

Windscreen wipers were made standard on all motor cars in 1913. They had been invented and patented by Mary Anderson from New York in 1902.

5. The crossword puzzle

The crossword puzzle was invented on December 13, 1913 by Liverpool born newspaperman Arthur Wynne.

6. Modern X-Ray tube

William D. Coolidge invented the Coolidge tube, an X-ray tube with an improved cathode for use in modern X-ray machines that allowed photography of deep anatomy and tumors. Its basic design is still in use today.

7. Geological Time-Scale

The first geologic time scale was proposed in 1913 by the British geologist Arthur Holmes. He was the first person to realise that the Earth was billions of years old and not millions, as had been previously believed.

8. Brillo Pads

Brillo Pads were patented by lawyer Milton B. Loeb who was approached by a costume jewellery maker who had invented a new way to clean aluminium pans which had just become fashionable. Loeb then set up a company to produce this mixture of soap and metal fibres and called it Brillo.

9. Mass production

Henry Ford installed the first ever production factory conveyer belt in his Ford motor car factory in Highland Park, Michigan. It allowed Ford to produce a complete car every two-and-a-half minutes: mass production was born, making cars far quicker and cheaper to produce.

10. Stainless Steel

Harry Brearley was researching ways to stop excessive wear in rifle barrels for the British Army when he discovered that by adding 10% chromium and 8% nickel to an iron carbon mix. It produced a steel with a bright surface finish which did not tarnish or rust.

Have a think about those three ways I mentioned above in which all of us could invent something this year and change the world. Ask yourself:

  • what in your field of expertise could be made better, quicker, cheaper?
  • what ordinary, everyday problem could you see a simple solution to?
  • what idea that already solves a problem have you come across that hasn’t been given the chance it deserves?

By finding an answer to one of those questions we may yet all be inventors.

Ayd Instone works with people to explore and unlock their creative ideas in ways they may never have thought possible, to inspire innovation in their lives, and their business.

Book Ayd to speak about the Power of ‘What If?’ and Inspiration for Innovation at your conference, or in your business. A great way to open your event or as an after lunch energiser.

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5 comments on “Invented 100 years ago in 1913

    • Never mind that. It was the invention of writing that proved so damaging for humanity. Without it, we’d still have a vibrant oral tradition where people had to talk to one another.


  1. Pingback: Journal.5.Insecurities | the Apartment 6 Podcast archive

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