Random facts about inventions

Here are some random facts about various science related inventions used in the world today.

When was the first attempt to propel a ship by water-jet propulsion?
It was in 1782, on the Potomac River in the United States. This followed a suggestion of Benjamin Franklin’s that a ship with a pump mounted at the bows could suck in water and expel it via a tube at the stern, thus propelling it forwards.

Who invented the pneumatic tyre?
In 1845, Robert Thomson, a London engineer invented the rubber tyre which was filled with air, but the first successful pneumatic tyre was devised by John Dunlop, a Scottish veterinary surgeon working in Ireland in 1888.

striking a match

Who first produced a striking match?
It was probably the Hon. Robert Boyle, called the father of modern chemistry. With his assistant Godfrey Haukewitz, they carried out some experiments with phosphorus and sulphur, and this was the start of the idea of a striking match.

Who first devised the universal joint?
Robert Hooke, a well-known English physicist (1635-1703) invented the helioscope, which is an instrument used for examining the sun through a system of reflecting glasses, making it safe to look at it and he suggested that this should be operated by a means of ‘universal joint’. This was a metal joint that made it possible to communicate motion in all directions.

When was the first lawn mower invented?
The first to be patented was by Edwin Budding, a Gloucestershire gardener in 1830. His 51cm (20 inch) roller mower looked a lot like today’s push grass cutter.

When was the first telegraph operated by electrical current set up?
W.F.Cooke an amateur engineer and Charles (later Sir Charles) Wheatstone, a professor of experimental philosophy at King’s College in London, worked together and in 1837 the first electrical telegraph was set up.

Who invented the seed drill?
Around the 1700’s a retired lawyer named Jethro Tull from Berkshire near London, invented the first draft of the seed drill. These were changed throughout his generation but it was thought to revolutionise farming.

Who designed the first practical artificial limbs?
Around 1517-1590 a French surgeon and physician named Ambrose Paré, devised a number of well-made and practical artificial limbs for injured soldiers.

Who invented the knitting machine?
An English cleric named Reverend William Lee, invented a knitting frame during the reign of Elizabeth I. Unfortunately Lee had difficulty in getting anyone interested in making his knitting machine but after his death in 1610, his brother managed to persuade a merchant to back the idea.

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