We recently took a look at some of the most important inventions of the 19th century. While some of those inventions may be outdated by now, they laid the foundation for many other revolutionary creations to be made. Today, we’ll be concluding our two-part series dedicated to the 19th century. You’ll find that most of these items are still in use in some way, even though they came about nearly 200 years ago. Do you think you have an idea that can be the next enduring invention? Call Glober Design today to bring your idea to life.
Up until the mid-1800s, most warfare used muskets and cannons. Those weapons were not known for being quick or efficient, due to how long it took to load, prepare, and maintain them. Invented as an improvement on the accuracy provided by smooth bore muskets, the rifle was revolutionary in many ways. Thanks to the work of an English mathematician named Benjamin Robins, the change from musket balls to elongated bullets made for something with more power and accuracy than was previously possible. Not only did this change warfare forever, it also made hunting a little easier, which was vital to the many people who had to hunt for their food.
With the use of the steam engine, which we talked about last time, ships got a definite upgrade. Steam replaced the sails that previously powered ships and boats, making them faster and more reliable. However, that was not the only innovation brought forth at this point. Building ships out of iron instead of wood made them much more durable as well. Ironclad ships went on to be used for both transportation of people and goods, as well as for warfare.
Scientists had been aware of the natural phenomenon that is electricity for thousands of years, with the earliest observations coming from Thales of Miletus around 600 BCE. While many more would work to learn more about electricity, the 19th century is when it was finally harnessed. It could be said that electricity led to more inventions than any other discovery, with the light bulb having the earliest impact on the world. The introduction of the light bulb helped to reduce the danger of fire presented by gas-fed street lamps and lanterns. Electricity laid the groundwork for future inventions such as the television, radio, refrigerator, and so much more. Without electricity, where would the world be at this point?
Imagine, if you will, a world where the only way to capture a moment was by sketching it out quickly or by taking hours to paint it on a canvas. No Instagram, no YouTube, nothing. That was the world prior to 1826, when Joseph Nicéphore Niépce made the first permanent photograph . The invention of the camera, while imperfect, still changed the world and how we observe past events. The first commercial camera was the daguerreotype camera, created by Alphonse Giroux in 1839. The creation of the photographic camera was so impactful in the early 19th century, that by the time 1890 rolled around, the first motion picture camera was invented. Now it’s difficult to think of a time where you couldn’t easily take a picture or make a video with the click of a button.
While it may not be as well-known as the other inventions we’ve looked at so far, Eli Whitney’s cotton gin may be one of the most impactful creation in American history. Prior to Whitney’s invention, slave labor was used to pick cotton. The cotton gin was able to produce twenty bales of cotton for every one that was produced by slave labor. While many already felt using slaves was morally reprehensible, this invention also made it economically unfeasible. The invention of the cotton gin spurred on the Civil War and played a massive part in ending slavery.
That brings our two-part series devoted to the most important inventions of the 19th century to a close. We hope you’ve found this informative. Maybe while you read this, you got some of your own ideas for the next great invention. If that’s the case, you don’t need to go about making it a reality on your own. Call Glober Design today to get started on bringing your invention to life. We can help with every step of the process — from patents to licensing and everything in between. We hope to hear from you soon!