Greatest Invention Ever?


Lithp
#1
What do you think is the greatest invention ever and why do you think that? The wheel? Vaccines? Antibiotics? The Computer?

For me the greatest invention ever is the helicopter. I Can't think of anything that has saved so many lives and done so much good. From search and rescue missions to delivering food and supplies to the needy in hard to reach places just to name a very few good deeds this thing does, the helicopter is #1 in my books.

What do you think?
 
#juan
#2
Ah yes, before the cavemen invented the helicopter, they had to walk everywhere, or take the bus or something. It was hell.....trying to be funny..... The helicopter was the result of many inventions, including fire, the wheel, internal combustion engines, and so on. I would say the wheel paved the way for many later inventions that we now take for granted... My answer would be the wheel.
 
CDNBear
#3
I would have to say fire.

Without fire, the inventer of the wheel would have been in the dark all those late nights, pondering the processes of AutoCad.

lol.

Not to mention, without fire, how could we smoke Wild Game and Fish. Yummmmm.
 
Sassylassie
#4
Gentlemen gentlemen, please fire and the helicopter nope it's the Wonder Bra fellas.
 
CDNBear
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by SassylassieView Post

Gentlemen gentlemen, please fire and the helicopter nope it's the Wonder Bra fellas.

AAAAHHH, yes, to lift and separate. How could I be so blind, lmao.
 
smilingfish
#6
Well fire is the most basic invention. And I would have to say, the greatest is computer. it started a brand new era.
 
Kreskin
#7
The upside down ketchup bottle has to be in the top 20.
 
Daz_Hockey
#8
For me, it was Holt and Spitz's one-way shunting device in the late 60's....saved or prolonged the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, like myself, with Hydrocephalus, who would otherwise either die in infancy, spend the rest of their lives hideously deformed and a vegetable........if they were lucky.

Although the device was a direct result of nazi "tests" by people like Megele, I have to say, without it, I would surely be dead, it's what's keeping me alive right now. So I thank those ingenious American fellows.

otherwise, the wheel or fire both seem sensible answers.....oh and the wonerdbra is a dirty, dirty trick that I think should come with a sign saying "contents may appear different once removed.".
 
Kreskin
#9
Daz, good to see that it was a lifesaver for you.
 
I think not
#10
I know a myriad of inventions had to come before this to make it happen (contemporary), but I have to say the airplane. I can almost remember the first time I saw one as a little boy, and today it has the same effect on me.

Hundreds of tons streaking effortlessly in the air.

It made the world smaller. What took months of travel in the past, became hours.
 
Daz_Hockey
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by I think notView Post

I know a myriad of inventions had to come before this to make it happen (contemporary), but I have to say the airplane. I can almost remember the first time I saw one as a little boy, and today it has the same effect on me.

Hundreds of tons streaking effortlessly in the air.

It made the world smaller. What took months of travel in the past, became hours.

Have you seen the Wright flyer in the Smithsonian?...it's actually bigger than you'd think, I think that was probably one of the most under-rated things I saw, not only in washington, but in North America.
 
I think not
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by Daz_HockeyView Post

Have you seen the Wright flyer in the Smithsonian?...it's actually bigger than you'd think, I think that was probably one of the most under-rated things I saw, not only in washington, but in North America.


Yes, I've seen it.

Here it is;

 
Daz_Hockey
#13


And you get to see such a earth shatteringly important device like that for free.......oh of course, they would like you to go downstairs and buy a MacDonalds, but Washington is great for stuff like that.

Although I dont understand why the great sea powers didnt realise as soon as that was invented, their Navys were effectivley defunct.
 
I think not
#14
I agree with you, Washington DC is great for Musuems, as is New York. By the way, "free" is relative. You don't have to pay for admission, but it helps the museum, so you end up paying anyway.

And everything is a matter of tradition really. Shipping was the primary mode of transportation for thousands of years. Defunct or not, they're dam cool. Did you get a chance to see The USS Constitution by chance on your visit? It's pretty cool boarding an "active" war ship a couple of hundred years old.

 
Dexter Sinister
#15
Very interesting question, and as usual I'm incapable of offering a simple answer.

I think fire has to be disqualified from consideration. It's not something humans invented, nature sets fire to things quite regularly with no help from us. What humans did was invent various ways to make it and control it, but it existed without us. An invention I think has to be something that wouldn't exist without us, so if you want to put fire on the list it has to be one of the technologies we use to create and control it, not fire itself. I'd also be inclined to restrict it to a single invention, not a product like a helicopter or a computer that's the result of multiple inventions over many years.

Frankly I doubt it's possible to make a compelling case for any single invention that everybody would agree is the greatest invention ever, unless you can convincingly argue that homo sapiens wouldn't have survived without it, or at a minimum that the lives of a majority of humans would have been nasty, coarse, brutish, and short, without it. Alternatively, we could argue that the greatest invention ever is the one that's made the greatest difference in the lives of the largest number of people, and I think that one's dead easy: it's the method of analysis and testing of ideas we call science. My grandparents' generation, for instance, was the first generation in human history that could routinely count on most of its children surviving to adulthood and most of its females surviving into old age instead of being taken out early by the stress of multiple childbirths, childbed fever, plain old wearing out, stuff like that. Birth control, infectious disease control, waste management, clean water... It all comes from the scientific understanding of the world around us.

Other candidates for the greatest invention ever:

cooking: it greatly increases the list of what's edible, and is an important factor in disease control

the basic caveman-type toolkit: knives, bows, arrows, spears, clubs, all the things that enabled our ancestors to bring down bigger game and protect themselves from predators.

language: it's a bit problematic whether this is a human invention or an inevitable consequence of evolution, but we are a social species and our sociability and progress are much enhanced by our being able to talk to each other and pass our knowledge along to the next generation, in great detail.

writing: this is the repository of the most successful human cultures, the way we preserve and pass on the thoughts of the best minds among us.

Any others you can think of? I've had a long and busy day, and I'm getting tired and running out of ideas. Maybe we could try for a top ten list instead of a single invention?
 
Daz_Hockey
#16


Nope, I didn't, I boarded several US vessels in portsmouth a couple of weeks before I left last time at naval regatta, but that looks like one of the ships that used to irritate the hell out of the Royal navy.

Back to my point though, I cant be the only one who thinks the wonderbra is an illusionary device created by statan can I?
 
#juan
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by SassylassieView Post

Gentlemen gentlemen, please fire and the helicopter nope it's the Wonder Bra fellas.

It wasn't the Wonder bra exactly. It was the wonderful thumb and indexfinger catch on the back.
 
Curiosity
#18
Dexter

I had never considered the shunt as one of the best inventions but when I consider that it has given you the ability to survive and share time with us - reading all your terrific responses and thought - I'm inclined to vote for that one on a list of many great inventions....

My vote

It is similar to "fire" in that it is not manmade but has affected humankind greatly....the thumb.
 
TomG
#19
I watch the occasional old movie, and I think women in the era of lift and separate sort of looked like they were wearing horizontal dunce caps. The effect seemed to have spawned a generation of naughty adolescent cartoonists who thought that a breast looks like what’s under a ‘50’s sweater. I don’t think I’d rank lift and separate as wonderful, but that’s just my perspective.

I read a historian in the ‘60’s that made a case for inventions that changed the course of western history (I suppose ‘changed course’ is as easy to give meaning to as ‘greatest). The historian’s top two were the horse collar and the stirrup. The horse collar since horses could be used in agriculture as well as warfare. Horses are faster than oxen and their use produced greater food production while using less human labour. The freed up labour could be utilized for other purposes--which then as now usually meant conquering your neighbours. Labour that became surplus to food production could specialize in becoming professional soldiers or bureaucrats. Better fed, trained and administered armies became very good at conquering their neighbours. Tax collection became very efficient.

The stirrup was important also for reasons of warfare. It enabled soldiers to fight from horseback while using heavy weapons. The Roman Cavalry were more like mobile infantry. They rode to where they were going and then dismounted. Chariots weren’t that great.

So, we owe our wonderful present life style and nation states to the hose collar and the stirrup. I think maybe the historian had a one tracked mind but maybe Internet will undo some of the damage that resulted from the horse collar and stirrup falling into irresponsible hands.
 
#juan
#20
Quote: Originally Posted by CDNBearView Post

I would have to say fire.

Without fire, the inventer of the wheel would have been in the dark all those late nights, pondering the processes of AutoCad.

lol.

Not to mention, without fire, how could we smoke Wild Game and Fish. Yummmmm.

True, and the cell phones didn't work worth a damn in the caves..
 
#juan
#21
Seriously,

I tend to agree with Dexter that one invention is difficult to pin down.. Fire was not so much an invention, as it was a discovery. Early man carried smoldering enbers around with him to "start" the next fire ages before he was able to use flint or whatever to start a fire from scratch as it were. Cooked meat lasted longer before spoiling than raw meat, and helped to stretch the time between hunts. A whole raft of tools, initially made of stone helped man to cut and scrape, and pound, and generally made life easier. Various catapults, bows, were important inventions and made it possible to kill game from a greater distance, and also served as either a defensive, or offensive weapons. One invention that almost never gets mentioned is rope of some kind, whether made of fibres or rawhide was very useful. This list is running longer than the time I have available so I'll ley someone else take it from here.
 
Tonington
#22
I was thinking something like language, but I'm not sure we can call that an invention either. On thinking a little longer, I have to vote for electricity production. I don't think it matters that an invention piggy backs from another invention to necessarily make it great or not, only that the new idea is revolutionary and mind blowing to those who could not have concieved it.
 
#juan
#23
Tonington

I guess your hero would be Faraday....mine too. Here is an interesting site:

http://tinyurl.com/yd6uoq
 
Colpy
#24
I was going to argue that fire was not an invention, but Dexter beat me to it........

IMHO, what has saved more lives than any other invention is sanitation............clean water, waste carried away, soap, and people actually washing, especially their hands.

One could argue, I suppose, that sanitation is not really an invention......but soap certainly is.

As for other ones, the printing press comes to mind..........making knowledge much more accessible to the masses........

Gunpowder and firearms took power from the military aristocracy and their trained men-at-arms, and put it in the hands of the people.

Interesting thread folks.
 
#juan
#25
British Paleontologists unearthed a cache of prehistoric weapons in a cave near Ipswitch. One of the weapons was believed to be an early Browning high power
 
L Gilbert
#26
I think "greatest" is a vague term. Fire isn't an invention. If one thinks in numbers of people affected, I would think the pc or the wheel would be the greatest. If one thinks in terms of medicine, I would have to say its a tossup between quinine and insulin. Very vague term. For me, however, I'm in line with Bear; cooked food and in particular smoked food is the best invention.
 
RomSpaceKnight
#27
Fire, cooking, and flint/stone/bone hand tools. In the earliest times these are what set us above the other animals on the plains of Africa. The cultivation of crops is darn important too.
 
ottawabill
#28
sliced bread.....

if we didn't have sliced bread we would not have a bench mark to compare other inventions....hehehehe
 
RomSpaceKnight
#29
Sliced white bread may have to go down as one of the worst inventions in history. Refined white flour is devoid of almost all the nutrients found in whole grains. At one point only the rich and nobility siffered degenerative diseases. The poor could not afford white bread, white sugar and white rice. Now it is reversed. The poor, in NA, live on "refined" sugars and grains.
 
Niflmir
#30
I think that written word is probably the most necessary invention that we use and constantly overlook on an hourly basis.
 

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