There are endless famous (and not so famous) inventions worthy of curiosity and wonder. Of course, the lists below are by no means complete, but do provide a ‘greatest hits’ list of inventions, both past and present, that have captured the imaginations and propelled us forward.

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Inventions Beginning With “A”
Air Balloon Experiment
French aeronauts Jacques Charles (1746-1823) and Noel Robert made the first manned (free flight) ascent in a hydrogen balloon, designed by Charles, a physics professor, and constructed by Robert and his brother Jean. It took off in front of a crowd of 400,000, landing two hours later at Nesle-la-Vallee, over 27 miles away. Print Collector / Getty Images



Air Balloon Experiment



Around 1750, the first glue patent was issued in Britain for a glue made from fish.

Scotch Tape or cellophane tape was invented in 1930 by banjo playing 3M engineer Richard Drew.

Aerosol Spray Cans
The concept of an aerosol originated as early as 1790.

Agriculture Related
Learn the history behind agriculture innovations, tractors, cotton gins, reapers, plows, plant patents and more.

Aibo, the robotic pet.

Air Bags
In 1973, the General Motors research team invented the first car safety air bags that were first offered in the Chevrolet as an option.

Air Balloons
The early history of air balloons.

Air Brakes
George Westinghouse invented air brakes in 1868.

Air Conditioning
Willis Carrier brought us the comfort zone with air conditioning.

Air Ships
The history behind balloons, blimps, dirigibles and zeppelins.

Wilbur and Orville Wright invented the manned engined airplane, which they patented as a “flying machine.” Learn about other aviation related innovations.

Alcoholic Beverages
Evidence of intentionally fermented beverages exist in the form of beer jugs dated as early as the Neolithic period.

Alternating Current
Charles Proteus Steinmetz developed theories on alternating current that allowed for the rapid expansion of the electric power industry.

Alternative Energy Related
A list of articles related to the invention and the history of alternative, earth-friendly energy sources.

An instrument which measures vertical distance with respect to a reference level.

Aluminum Foil – Aluminum Manufacturing Process
The first mass-produced and widely used metal foil was made from tin. Tin foil was replaced by aluminum foil in 1910. Charles Martin Hall discovered the electrolytic method of producing aluminum cheaply and brought the metal into wide commercial use.

The concept of ambulance service started in Europe with the Knights of St. John.

In 1450, Leon Battista Alberti, the Italian artist and architect, invented the first mechanical anemometer. The anemometer is a device that measures wind speed.

Answering Machines
The history of answering machines.

Antibody Labeling Agents – Antigen and Antibody
Joseph Burckhalter and Robert Seiwald invented the first practical and patented antibody labeling agent.

The history of antiseptics and key figures behind the invention.

Apple Computers
The Apple Lisa was the first home computer with a GUI or graphical user interface. Learn about the history of the Apple Macintosh, one of the most famous Apple home computers.

The history of scuba or diving equipment.

Arc Transmitter
Danish engineer Valdemar Poulsen invented the arc transmitter in 1902. The arc transmitter, contrary to all previous types of radio transmitters in history, generated continuous radio waves.

Archimedes Screw
Invented by the ancient Greek scientist and mathematician Archimedes, an archimedes screw is a machine for raising water.

Armillary Sphere
Miniature representations of the earth, moon and planets in the form of terrestrial globes, terrain models and armillary spheres have a long history.

Artificial Heart
Willem Kolff invented both the first artificial heart and the first artificial kidney dialysis machine.

The history of roads, road building and asphalt.

In 1829, scientists discovered that it was the compound called salicin in willow plants that was responsible for pain relief. But it was father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, who first discovered the pain relieving properties of the willow plant in the 5th century B.C.

Assembly Line
Eli Olds invented the basic concept of the assembly line and Henry Ford improved upon it.

A patent for synthetic grass-like playing surfaces or Astroturf was issued to Wright and Faria of Monsanto Industries.

Atari Computers
The history of the entertaining video game console.

ATM – Automatic Teller Machines
The history of automated teller machines (ATM).

Atomic Bomb
In 1939, Einstein and several other scientists told Roosevelt of efforts in Nazi Germany to build an atomic bomb. It was shortly thereafter that the United States Government began the Manhattan Project, whose research produced the first atomic bomb.

Atomic Clock
The US primary time and frequency standard is a cesium fountain atomic clock developed at the NIST laboratories.

Audio Tape Recording
Marvin Camras invented the method and means of magnetic recording.

Dr Andy Hildebrand is the inventor of the voice pitch-correcting software called Auto-Tune.

Automated Electrified Monorail Systems
Ronald Riley invented the automated electrified monorail system.

Automatic Doors
Dee Horton and Lew Hewitt invented the sliding automatic door in 1954.

The history of the automobile spans over one hundred years. View timelines of automotive development and discover who made the first gasoline powered car.


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