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40 Greatest Inventors In World History And What They Invented
Hedy Lamarr Photographed While Filming Movie [Image via Best Of Comicbooks]

10. Hedy Lamarr

  • Most Famous For Inventing: Spread-Spectrum Technology (The Basis Of Wireless Technology)

Hedy Lamarr was known as one of the world’s most beautiful women. Yet one couldn’t overlook her brilliance, as she went on to invent something we still use to this day. During World War II, Hedy invented a radio guidance system that was designed for Allied torpedoes. It works on frequency-hoping spread spectrum technology that made jamming torpedoes impossible.

40 Greatest Inventors In World History And What They Invented
[Image via Kaspersky]
Yet the United States Navy did not adopt this technology until the 1960s!! This spread-spectrum tech was more important than anyone ever realized, as it actually changed communication technology forever. It is the true technological backbone of all Wireless technology, including Wi-Fi. We also see it in Bluetooth technology, fax machines, and cell phones.

40 Greatest Inventors In World History And What They Invented
James Watt With His Steam Engine [Image via ThoughtCo]

9. James Watt

  • Most Famous For Inventing: Watt Steam Engine, International System Of Units (SI Unit Of Power)

James Watt is a chemist and mechanical engineer that became one of the world’s greatest inventors during his life. He invented the Watt Steam Engine, a major improvement on previous steam engines. The way it differed was through his separate condenser. This helped to make the steam engine more energy efficient as it had been wasting more by having to repeatedly cool and heat the cylinder.

40 Greatest Inventors In World History And What They Invented
[Image via Telegraph]
Although his steam engine was a massive innovation, it took time to become a commercial success. Companies had to give it a try, which they were hesitant to do. Upon doing so, people loved it and it became THE steam engine used throughout Europe. In his later years, he developed the concept of horsepower as well as the International System of Units and its unit of power, known today as the SI unit of power. “The Watt” would be included later on as part of this, which is to honor SI’s founder.

40 Greatest Inventors In World History And What They Invented
Michael Faraday Statue In London, England [Image via Claudio Divizia/Shutterstock.com]

8. Michael Faraday

  • Most Famous For Inventing: Electromagnetic Rotary Devices, System Of Oxidation Numbers

Michael Faraday is one of the greatest inventors and scientists in world history. He often worked alongside Humphry Davy, where the two worked in the electrical field. Yet it was Faraday who discovered the electromagnetic field. He also proved that magnetism can affect rays of light. Faraday then discovered the principles of electromagnetic induction and diamagnetism.

40 Greatest Inventors In World History And What They Invented
[Image via Londontopia]
Through this, he learned the laws of electrolysis, allowing him to invent various electromagnetic rotary devices. This is the main concept behind electric motor technology. Faraday’s work with electricity ultimately made it an energy source possible to use for everyone. He also invented the system of oxidation numbers and even popularized terms like Anode, Cathode, Electrode, and Ion.

40 Greatest Inventors In World History And What They Invented
George Westinghouse Photograph [Image via Heinz History Center]

7. George Westinghouse

  • Most Famous For Inventing: Railway Air Brake, Alternating Current Distribution System

George Westinghouse was a brilliant man and one of the world’s greatest inventors during his time. Working as an engineer, he invented the railway air brake, something that helped all trains stop. In fact, this essential fail-safe system is still in place today in both trains and subways. This made him a wealthy man, allowing him to get into the electrical game with Nikola Tesla.

40 Greatest Inventors In World History And What They Invented
[Image via Biografieonline]
This allowed Westinghouse to develop the electrical distribution system for alternating current. It’s actually in use today every time you plug something in at home. His AC electrical concept was far better than the direct current because it could flow both ways while DC could only flow one way. George’s AC system is what we all use to power things today.

40 Greatest Inventors In World History And What They Invented
Robert Fulton Statue In Lancaster, PA [Image via George Sheldon/Shutterstock.com]

6. Robert Fulton

  • Most Famous For Inventing: First Commercially Successful Steamboat, The Submarine

When you talk about the world’s greatest inventors, the list could not be complete without Robert Fulton. While Fulton did not invent the steamboat, but he did invent the first commercially successful version that could travel long distances.

40 Greatest Inventors In World History And What They Invented
[Image via Diyhomeschooler]
He was even commissioned by former French General & Emperor Napolean Bonaparte to build what would become the first-ever submarine. He called it the Nautilus and it actually worked very well. On top of this, Fulton invented the first successful naval torpedoes for the British Royal Navy. The man changed travel and how militaries operated forever.

40 Greatest Inventors In World History And What They Invented
Thomas Edison Old Photograph [Image via Everett Historical/Shutterstock.com]

5. Thomas Edison

  • Most Famous For Inventing: Phonograph, Movie Camera, Direct Current, The Light Bulb

Thomas Edison is not only one of the greatest inventors in history but possibly the greatest ever. It is not hard to see why. Edison held over 1,000 patents for his inventions during his life. This includes the Phonograph, which was the first sound recorder and player. He also invented the first motion picture camera and opened the first film studio.

40 Greatest Inventors In World History And What They Invented
[Image via Nationalreview]
Edison used his knowledge of sound to make the first automatic telegraph. He then improved on Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone design by inventing a better transmitter, the “Carbon Telephone Transmitter.” Edison also improved the automobile with his invention of the Alkaline Storage Battery. Thomas is also responsible for inventing direct electrical currents for commercial energy use. This helped in his invention of the light bulb, likely his most notable invention.

40 Greatest Inventors In World History And What They Invented
Leonardo Da Vinci Statue In Florence, Italy [Image via vanhurck/shutterstock.com]

4. Leonardo Da Vinci

  • Most Famous For Inventing: Helicopter, Parachute, Diving Suit, Machine Gun, Tank

People know Leonardo Da Vinci most for his paintings usually. He painted masterpieces like the Mona Lisa & The Last Supper. Both of these are some of the best artworks in world history. However, Da Vinci was a genius who invented several different yet important things. This includes The Parachute, The Tank, The Machine Gun, Diving Suits, and multiple flying machines.

40 Greatest Inventors In World History And What They Invented
[Image via Artlistr]
Da Vinci’s most notable flying machine, the Ariel Screw, is the basis for how helicopters work today. He also invented a robot but passed before building it. We know of this due to the discovery of his notebooks with multiple drawings of inventions he had planned. Leonardo also invented the Revolving Bridge, those bridges that open up to let boats go underneath them when the ship is too large.

40 Greatest Inventors In World History And What They Invented
Assumed Appearance Of Hero Of Alexandria [Image via Toasters-YouTube]

3. Hero of Alexandria

  • Most Famous For Inventing: The Syringe, Force Pump, First Wind-Powered & Automatically Powered Machines

Hero of Alexandria lived during the Greco-Roman era in Alexandria, Egypt. He is notably a skilled machine maker and mathematician. Hero invented the force pump, the hose firemen use today. The first Syringe was his making, which holds and delivers liquid or air of various types. He is also responsible for the first vending machine!

40 Greatest Inventors In World History And What They Invented
[Image via Enacademic]
Hero also invented the first wind-powered machine & the first truly automatic machine. The latter was a fountain that worked on hydro-static energy, now called Heron’s Fountain. He also invented a programmable cart that was powered by a falling weight, which consisted of strings wrapped around a drive axle. The man was even was able to uncover the principle for the shortest path of light. This later became the basis for Alhacen’s principle of reflection & refraction.

40 Greatest Inventors In World History And What They Invented
Nikola Tesla Off Of Vintage Paper Banknote [Image via vkilikov/shutterstock.com]

2. Nikola Tesla

  • Most Famous For Inventing: Alternating Current Tech, Hydro-Electric Energy, Tesla Coil, The Remote Control

Many consider Nikola Tesla to be one of the greatest inventors in history due to inventing multiple things we use in some form today. While working for Thomas Edison, Tesla came up with alternating current technology. Deciding to leave Edison behind, he met with George Westinghouse who financed Tesla’s AC ideas, allowing both men to eventually win the “Current War.”

40 Greatest Inventors In World History And What They Invented
[Image via Medium]
Yet Tesla knew other ways energy could be utilized. This was when he came up with Hydro-Electric Energy, which he used to power the city of Buffalo, NY at one point. Many feel his Telsa Coil is his most notable invention, however. It laid the foundation for wireless technology, with the radio world still using a form of it today. Oh yeah, and he invented the remote control & discovered Violet Rays.

40 Greatest Inventors In World History And What They Invented
Archimedes of Syracuse Statue In Syracuse, Italy [Image via Vladimir Korostyshevskiy/Shutterstock.com]

1. Archimedes of Syracuse

  • Most Famous For Inventing: Geometry Of Shapes, Pi, Compound Pullies, Archimedes Screw

Any list of the world’s greatest inventors is not complete without the inclusion of the infamous Archimedes of Syracuse. He invented geometric algorithms, laying the foundation for Calculus among other math forms to work. This includes being the first to use theorems like the area of a circle, surface area, volume, sphere, and the area under a parabola.

40 Greatest Inventors In World History And What They Invented
[Image via Sciencesource]
He used this to come up with “Pi” too. These theorems allowed him to discover and found statics and hydrostatics, including the entire concept of how levers operated. Later on, people credited him for the invention of compound pullies and the screw pump. The Principle of Buoyancy is credited to him, referred to as the Archimedes Principle. He is also known for, of course, the Archimedes Screw.

 

Sources: [Live Science, National Geographic, Britannica, Biography.com, History.com, InterestingEngineering.com, AllThatsInteresting.com]

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