Inventions and Inventors

November 24, 2012 9:52 am

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Inventions and Inventors
Try to imagine what life would be like if there were no electric lights, no television, or no cars. What if you had no running water to take a shower and no refrigerator to keep your food cold? Life would be tough without these great inventions.
Since ancient times, people have been inventing new machines, materials, and ways of doing things. The people who come up with new things are called inventors. Sometimes an inventor makes an invention to solve a problem. Sometimes an inventor discovers something new by accident.
WHAT WAS THE FIRST INVENTION?
No one knows what the first invention was. Archaeologists have found ancient tools made of stone. Tens of thousands of years ago, prehistoric people invented hammers, knives, and axes made of stone. Prehistoric inventors found ways to make and keep fires burning. They invented ways to grow plants for food and learned how to tame animals. Other great prehistoric inventions were the wheel, pottery, and ways to build houses.
Over time, inventors kept improving on earlier inventions. Each new invention made life easier for people.
WHAT WERE THE GREATEST INVENTIONS?
Everyone probably has his or her favorite inventions. One great invention was the printing press. A German named Johannes Gutenberg in the 1400s invented a press that made it easy to print books. Books became much more common after the invention of the printing press. The books helped other inventors make new things.
The invention of the steam engine around 1700 led to the Industrial Revolution. Inventors made many new machines that were powered by steam engines. They invented locomotives, steamboats, and all kinds of factory machines.
Another great invention, the internal combustion engine, led to the invention of automobiles in the late 1800s. Inventors made better and better internal combustion engines. These are the engines we use today in cars, trucks, buses, and airplanes.
The discovery of electricity led to many wonderful inventions. Many scientists studied electricity. An American inventor named Thomas A. Edison invented the electric lamp, phonograph, and other things that ran on electricity in the late 1800s.
ARE PEOPLE STILL INVENTING THINGS?
New things are invented today faster than ever before. Inventors are making new kitchen appliances, toys, computers, video games, telephones, and all kinds of other things.
The ways people invent things have changed over time. No one knows the names of prehistoric inventors. Until the 1900s, most inventors worked alone. Some of them became very famous for their inventions. Today, most inventions come from scientists and engineers who work in teams. The teams work in big research laboratories. Most of today’s inventors work for universities, government agencies, or big companies.
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