From the mundane to the truly spectacular, numerous American inventions have changed the world. Here is a countdown of ten things invented by Americans that have become part of our everyday lives here and across the world.
10. 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.
9. 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. 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.
7. 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.
6. Quickly proving itself to be one of the most useful and controversial technologies of our time, stereolithography, or 3D printing, was invented by Chuck Hull, founder of 3D Systems. 3D printing seems to have endless
potential, having already been used to produce body parts, food, surgical implants and so on.
5. 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.
4. 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.
3. 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.
2. 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.
1. 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.