Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Greatest Inventions of All Time

Earlier I pointed out a great column at Dr. Tim's Moment of Clarity.

A line I was thinking about recently was:

"And yet all of the trappings of modern living that we have come to depend on have just come into being in the past 200 years.  Ask yourself why.  Why did this not take place in any of the other two-century stretches in the history of our species?  They were smart, they worked hard, they understood mathematics, and the iron and oil and coal was right there in the ground the whole time.  What changed?    

America - that’s what changed."

So let's look at the greatest inventions of all time.  Let's compare America's 230-some years of inventions versus the rest of the world's inventions of all time.

The first search result that I got was this.  It claims, "Here is the Encyclop√¶dia Britannica's list for--The Greatest Inventions of All Times".

It lists the inventions, year of invention, inventor, and which country it came from.

I question some of the inventions, baby food, paper bag, AstroTurf, etc.  And I wonder why the wheel is listed but not other simple machines.   But it is apparently from the "Encyclop√¶dia Britannica", and who am I to argue with them?

(Some were credited from multiple countries and will be double counted.)

America vs. Rest of World

321 Total Inventions

US: 166
Rest of World: 165

(UK was 2nd with 38, Germany 3rd with 19)

Quite an even result.  That would be an impressive result for America if the time frame was even.  It was not, "Rest of World" had several thousands of years for a head start.  Ice skates were apparently invented around 1000 B.C., for example.

Also consider how many became available to the public thanks to America.  The car, for example, was invented in Germany, but it was not until Henry Ford came along that the masses could buy one.

The second most inventive country is apparently the UK.  And they happened to be the first country with dramatic improvements in liberty and freedom.

"You didn't build that."  But it was probably invented here.

(It was rather difficult to find another good list of the greatest inventions that wouldn't have required researching each one.  If you know of another list let me know.)

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