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From the mundane to the truly spectacular, numerous American inventions have changed the world. Here is a countdown of twenty things invented by Americans that have become part of our everyday lives here and across the world.

  1. A visit to a theme park or a carnival is never complete without a ride on a Ferris wheel. It is a popular ride which features an upright rotating wheel with capsules for passengers, is named after George Washington Gale Ferris who debuted the first Ferris wheel as the landmark of the Chicago World Fair on June 21, 1931.
  2. Since childhood, most of us have carved out a special place for delightful and delicious cookies. Most likely at the top of our list of favorites is the classic chocolate chip cookie. A tasty treat made from flour, butter, brown sugar and semi sweet chocolate bits, it was made by accident in 1930 by Ruth Graves Wakefield, the owner of the Toll House Inn, a restaurant that served homecooking in Whitman, Massachusetts.
  3. A vital part of the daily hygiene, flossing completes the brushing routine we use to take care of our pearly whites. Dental floss was introduced in 1815 by Levi Spear Parmly, a dentist from New Orleans. It was originally made from silk, unlike today’s dental floss which is made of nylon or plastic.
  4. If you find buttons quite a fuss as you dress up for work, then you have to thank Whitcomb L. Judson, an inventor from Chicago, for inventing the clasp locker, the zipper’s predecessor which was introduced in 1893. The modern design was made by Gideon Sundbäck in 1913, the head designer of the Universal Fastener Company launched by Judson.
  5. The hearing aid is an invaluable device for people who have hearing loss, whether from birth or other circumstances. The first electronic hearing aid was invented in 1902 by Miller Reese Hutchinson, an inventor from Alabama.
  6. We have become very familiar with the hospital emergency scene with a doctor holding defibrillator paddles to the chest of a patient while urgently motioning a nurse to hit the switch. Defibrillators deliver a large dose of electrical energy to a heart affected with arrhythmia, ventricular fibrillation and tachycardia. First used on humans by Dr. Claude Beck in 1947, they were initially used during open chest operations only.
    14.The technique to determine the age of artifacts from archaeological expeditions is called radiocarbon dating. This was developed by Williard Libby, who calculated the half-life of Carbon-14, in 1949 at the University of Chicago.
    Radiocarbon dating has enabled experts to know more about the life on earth even before civilizations were formed.
  7. Managing the traffic of pedestrians and vehicles at intersections would be nearly impossible without the help of the traffic light. The modern electric traffic light was invented in 1912 by Lester Wire, a policeman from Salt Lake City. It was originally just red and green, for stop and go respectively.
  8. The first crash test dummy was developed in 1949 by Samuel W. Alderson an inventor from California. Information from research on animals and human cadavers is used to design the crash test dummies initially used to test aviation safety. Today, these crash test dummies are used in a wide array of situations to simulate human body response.
  9. Now a common kitchen appliance, the microwave oven has become the irreplaceable gadget for cooking, thawing or reheating food, popping popcorn and making stews. The microwave was not originally intended for kitchen use until in 1945 when Percy Spencer, an engineer from Maine who was working on the magnetron for radar sets at Raytheon, found out that the microwaves had melted the chocolate in his pocket.
  10. Cars, mobile phones, beauty products, processed food and even jewelry have something in common - they are all manufactured through an assembly line. The assembly line is a systematic, sequential method of production of goods which is cost-effective since it lessens mistakes and it hastens production time. In 1901, the basic concept was introduced by Ransom Olds, through his motor vehicle company in Michigan. But the assembly line that has left a lasting influence on the manufacturing world was that of the production of the Ford Model T by Henry Ford’s motor company in 1908. Initially, the assembly line was composed of workers, later replaced with machines and most recently, more sophisticated robots.
  11. Often associated with science fiction, a LASER is an instrument that emits light that has been amplified through simulated emission. The word LASER is actually an acronym for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. The concept of a LASER was first proposed by Gordon Gould and it is based on masers which amplifies microwaves. The first LASER was built in 1960 by Theodore H. Maiman, at Hughes Research Laboratories in Malibu, California. Today, the applications of the LASER range from industrial, medical, law enforcement to entertainment.
  12. In the current campaign for the use of green energy, the use of light emitting diodes for lighting and image displays has increased because of the minimal energy it needs to produce light. The LED has come a long way from its initial use as an indicator light for electronic devices. It was developed in 1962 by Nick Holonyak Jr., a consulting scientist at General Electric Company in Syracuse, New York.
    7.Finding one’s location on earth has evolved through the centuries. The technology of today is the global positioning system, which uses the global navigation satellite system managed by the government of the United States. Though this was developed in 1973 by the US Department of Defense, it became fully operational only in 1994. Though it is primarily for military use, it can be accessible by anybody with some limitations, for navigation, map making, clock synchronization and other uses.
  13. Today, cancer and chemotherapy are sadly, two commonly understood words. The use of chemotherapy for cancer treatment started in the 1940s, when two pharmacologists from Yale University, Louis S. Goodman and Alfred Gilman made observations that nitrogen mustard, a chemical warfare agent, suppressed the growth of lymphoid and myeloid cells.
  14. Aside from social networking, the most popular computer-based pasttime is video gaming. A video game allows interaction between a user and a device with video feedback. The first one was actually an analog electronic game using a cathode ray tube. Called the ‘cathode-ray tube amusement device’, it was made by Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr. and Estle Ray Mann in 1948.
  15. Email became popular at the onset of the 21st century. It has become the preferred form of communication because it enables quick relay of messages and at the same time saves resources like ink and paper. The first email was sent in 1971 using ARPANET, by Ray Tomlinson, between two computer terminals placed side by side. Ray Tomlinson, a programmer from New York, is also credited for using the ampersat cat.gif sign to separate the user’s name and the user’s machine, the latter changed to the domain name later.
  16. At first the mobile phone was tailored for busy professionals who were people who were always on the go. But it has become commonplace and a almost a necessity for everyone in contemporary society. The first hand held mobile phone was developed by a team headed by Dr. Martin Cooper. Dr. Cooper was formerly the vice president of Motorola. He was the division head when he showcased a 1kg mobile phone in 1973.
  17. The development of the computer spans centuries, but the modern digital computer has its roots in America. In 1937, it was invented by George Stibitz while he was working at Bell Labs. But widespread use only came with the invention of the personal computer in the 1980s, which owes its popularity in no small part to innovations and genius of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.
  18. It is common belief that humans have always been interconnected, but nothing confirms this better than how much the Internet connects most of 21st century humanity. A network of networks, it was formally introduced with the Internet Protocol Suite of the National Science Foundation in 1982, which was funded by US government.

Indeed, the internet tops this list of inventions because it has created a means for the other inventions and related technology to become so ubiquitous and well known. There are countless other impactful inventions (by non-Americans as well as Americans of course) that have not been mentioned here, but these twenty stand out.
Particle accelerators, Landing humans on the moon, Identifieng new elements. The list goes on, and on.

Yet as the poll shows. That even though all of the Scientific endevors we have created, we still are almost at the bottom of the list of people that accepts evolution as a fact.

It boggles my mind.

Something to add to the list? Feel free to comment! Thanks.

By TristanNuvo
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Yes, something to add to the list. This little device started the greatest revolution the world has ever seen and it's now everywhere and everyone take the it for granted. It was invented at Bell laboratories about 70 years ago by three brilliant Physicists leaded by William Shockley. His invention.... The transistor. This is the building block that paved the way to all electronics we have today. Very clever concept that became reality under his watch only because he was determined to make it work, and he did....

IamNobody Level 8 July 11, 2018

The slinky and the donut!

Sticks48 Level 8 July 11, 2018

Don't forget the cornflake.

Gareth Level 7 July 11, 2018

Britain is such a small country compared to the USA but lets compare inventions anyway and who got there 1st. Here is just 50 From the railway to TV and even the toothbrush. Oh and this does not even include mass production, the assembly goes to Olds but Whitworth did mass production in 1812

273kelvin Level 8 July 11, 2018

This was not about a pissing contest to see which country invented, or discovered more, or who was first.
It was about the fact that Americans have a good history of science, inventions etc.
And for all we have achieved, we still One of the lowest number of people who believe in evolution. Or think the moon landing was a hoax, hell, we even have a lot of people that think the earth is flat.


The Scots invented the modern world.

Coldo Level 8 July 11, 2018

Not all of them.... James Clerk Maxwell did though, and this is a big deal

@IamNobody Someone posted this before.You will find most informative.

@Coldo thanks, I'll check it out


If you are not including Nuclear Bomb... Hidrogen Bomb... racism reduced to colors... What is your point? That we should be greatful that ameriKKKa created trump?

GipsyOfNewSpain Level 8 July 10, 2018

Well yes, I will agree that I did in fact left out the atomic bomb, and such things as deveolping the Particle acexelorator, and the elements that we discovered with that. Landing men on the moon,.Honestly I just got tired of thinking, and typing.

But to try and trump,no pun intended, what I have explained by using Trump as a failure of what americans have achieved is just silly.

First off, there were more votes to NOT elect Trump into office. and even so, WTF does Trump have to do with the point I was making.

You would not have got the A-bomb without 2 refugees prompting Einstein (another refugee) to write to FDR

@273kelvin immigrants? Funny, when you got something they want... you are not an immigrant, you are a refugee... funny nation of ours... funny, very funny! But regardless of the refugees... any ameriKKKan will tell you... Our Bombs. And we don't want any other nation to have them... except israel... wonder why... wonder why. But since mister helper is here... tell us about the "contributors" from other nations either... immigrants or refugees to those ameriKKKan accomplishments. The land stolen, foreign nation talent aporopiated... what a nation... what a nation! But that's okay putin is taking care of us as we can see on a daily basis. And what a first lady we have to represent ameriKKKan women... what a lady! what a country!


@GipsyOfNewSpain Way to prove his point.

@GipsyOfNewSpain .... Man, I have been holding my tongue for a while but I have to ask, because best to my knowledge there is no other way to know. You may take this the wrong way or give an honest answer, it's up to you. My impression based on what you say most of the time (of course I don't know you but don't want to jump to conclusions either, therefore my question) is that you despise or truly hate America. As a minimum you are bitter about it. If you live here then my question is why? I really would like to know.

@IamNobody I would like to read what his answer is as well.


why start at twenty ? i see USA comes pretty low on the evolution list, no surprise there

magicwatch Level 7 July 10, 2018

Religious fundamentalists and extremists destroyed the Islamic culture of science and made it what it is today, a fanatical Theocracy. It appears that, if they can have their way, the Christian version will ultimately do the same thing to the American culture of science and ultimately destroy America as we have known it.

jlynn37 Level 8 July 10, 2018
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