The Greatest Inventions in History

The McCormick Harvester.

Wheat can only be harvested during a limited period. Wait too long, & it is useless.
Even with all the help he can find, & working 18 or 24 hour days, a farmer using hand tools can only plant & harvest enough wheat to feed 2.5 families, besides his own.

The speed of McCormick’s Harvester means that a farmer could plant & harvest enough wheat to feed
10 families.

This horse-drawn harvester gave Man the leisure to seek other things besides subsistence agriculture.

And almost nobody knows about it.

How unjust. :mad: :frowning:

I’m with Zoggie: birth control.

Fingernail clippers.

I’m going to have to toss in a third vote for BEER.

2nd vote for air conditioning

The centerfire metallic cartridge with smokeless powder. You have any idea how hard it is to kill somebody with a pointy stick?

Take it a step further back: The concept of zero


Glass. Think about it.


[hijack] This is very left field, but would the person who invented that have anything to do with the McCormick line of spices?[/hijack]

I would have to say the telegraph & telephone are up there, right along with…

Beer :slight_smile:

The thermos.

What??!!? All that does is keep hot things hot and cold things cold!

Yeah, but how does it know?

Um…are you really asking? It just inhibits heat transfer. Either the warmth of the room into your cold beverage, or the heat of your coffee into the cooler room air. Heat flows “downhill” (from areas of greater concentration to lesser) unless prevented by an insulating material.

But you knew that, right?

A big reason for Beer getting all the votes - it played a big part in the transition from hunter/gatherer to farming. “Hey, Ugg, this stuff’s tasty! Oh, I see, if I start planting crops, I can have my own beer? I am SO there!”

Two quick notes:
-The Aztec empire, if I understand correctly, was built without the use of wheels. Children’s toys had wheels, but no practical tools did. Sure, they were no Los Angeles, but they were a relatively complex civilization for their time.
-Family rumor has it that my great-uncle invented an automatic bread slicer, but that the patent was stolen from him by his boss. My brush with fame…

While not on the same level as the wheel, the alphabet, or beer (how come beer isn’t a tech advance in CivIII?), the internal combustion engine, the airplane, and the assembly line are pretty nontrivial.

Nutmagnet, you beat me to it. Bastard!

So I’ll chime in the 4th vote for BEER.

I’m gonna go with warp drive…what’s that? Uh huh…ooooohhh…you mean that’s not real? Well that’s just great.

My great-grandfather invented the individually-wrapped slice of cheese, which I have seen posited as a potential Greatest Invention of Human History.

My vote for greatest invention: cooked food.

Silicon transistor


Paved roads

A&W Cream Soda


Og: Gee, if I could be inside, while the tigers were outside, maybe they wouldn’t eat so many of my family members?

Ag: What mean you “inside”?

To go with all the posts for beer, I have to add alka seltzer (oh and Bloody Marys).