Welcome back to our summary of some of the key inventions of the last few centuries that came from the United States. We have so many important ones to mention we have to make this one a double bill.
Many inventors were determined to be the first to perfect a flying machine, and over the years there were many disastrous attempts, with the first major breakthrough being made by the Wright brothers in 1903. Their biplane was built in North Carolina and soon transformed the future of aviation, having great implications for the military and commercial travel within a few short decades.
Doing laundry has been a problem for centuries, and there was a clear need to develop a machine to aid the process, so again a number of inventors worked on similar ideas for some time. Several key stages of the evolution of the modern washing machine were patented in America, including the first hand-operated machine with a drum in 1851, and a rotary version seven years later. Industry leaders were mass producing machines by 1910, and now more than four in every five Americans has one in their home.
Combining radio audio with moving images was actually a result of the combined efforts of Russian and German inventors working together in America. Throughout the 1920s the invention evolved quickly into what we would recognise today, although it did take a couple of decades before they became common in households.
The potential of radiation waves for cooking famously first came up by chance when engineer Percy Spencer discovered his chocolate bar had melted after standing near the power supply for a radar tube. He took the idea and eventually a microwave oven was developed, although it wasn’t until the 1960s that the ovens could be made small enough to fit in home kitchens and effective enough to cook food evenly.
There are even more American inventions that have changed the world, some more famous than others, and many of them in fact collaborative efforts. However, it reminds you that great innovation has been coming out of the country for a long time and we look forward to seeing even more.