Innovation

Do you know how common everyday items, such as mirrors, fireworks or sunglasses work? This collection of Innovation articles explores the workings of objects you may come into contact with on a regular basis.

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Learn about the Glass Armonica, a unique musical instrument invented by Benjamin Franklin. The glass armonica produces beautiful, haunting sounds by rubbing wet fingers on tuned glass bowls.

By HowStuffWorks

he Revolutionary Heating Invention That Changed America - Franklin Stove. Learn about the history, design, and benefits of this iconic stove.

By HowStuffWorks

The Revolutionary Writing Tool That Made Duplication Easy - Electric Pen. Learn about the history, design, and benefits of this iconic pen.

By HowStuffWorks

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The Old-School Copy Machine That Revolutionized the Way We Communicate. Learn about the history, design, and benefits of mimeograph

By HowStuffWorks

The Revolutionary Recording Device That Changed the Way We Work - Dictaphone. Learn about the history, design, and benefits of dictaphone.

By HowStuffWorks

The assembly line didn’t kick off with Henry Ford and the Model T, but Ford played a big role in changing the landscape of manufacturing forever.

By Yara Simón

The light bulb literally brightened the whole world and Thomas Edison generally gets the credit for inventing it. But did he?

By Dylan Ris & Yara Simón

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The 20th century would have been very different without the contributions of General Foods chemist William A. Mitchell, who tapped into the American appetite for convenience and novelty.

By Laurie L. Dove

We're talking the science of aging beer with the brewmasters of Sweetwater Brewery.

There's a lot of controversy surrounding the two one-time work colleagues turned bitter rivals. Find out more with our quiz.

By Nathan Chandler

"Candy Queen" Jackie Sorkin took her love of sugary sweet candy and turned it into a crazy, colorful world of art and illusions.

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Who invented the toilet? While we wish it were so, it wasn't Thomas Crapper. Surprisingly, toilet design hasn't changed much since the first "water closet" patent in the 1500s.

By Kathryn Whitbourne & Jesslyn Shields

Robots are starting to show up in the restaurant industry, but their developers say they're designed to work alongside human workers, not replace them.

By Patrick J. Kiger

A Rube Goldberg machine is intentionally designed to perform a simple task in the most indirect and circuitous fashion possible. Meet the funny man behind these one-of-a-kind contraptions.

By Stell Simonton

HowStuffWorks explains the secrets of static electricity.

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Food spoilage is an urgent issue for the millions of people with unreliable electricity — or no electricity at all. A supercool $35 fridge could change that common scenario.

By Tracy Staedter

You can find porta-potties at festivals, construction sites and concerts across the planet – but how do they work? Get a closer (non-messy) look here.

Since we're trying to figure out what makes Ted tick (or makes Ted's ticker stop ticking), why not cut out the middle mouse? It's complicated.

By Kate Kershner

Mice are small and reproduce quickly, but they're more than just an animal of convenient size and libido. Mice have some truly special genetic gifts that it doesn't take a scientist to appreciate.

By Kate Kershner

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Scientists like rats a lot more than the general population. But when they need a good bunch of them to test some hypotheses, they don't lurk in alleyways or around trashcans with a burlap sack.

By Kate Kershner

Compared to dogs, cats, guinea pigs and rabbits, rats and mice are by far voted Most Popular in research labs. (Dogs and cats are tied for Best Looking.) What's the attraction for scientists?

By Kate Kershner

NASA recycles too. The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) was originally launched to search for infrared radiation coming from distant objects like asteroids. Now it's been repurposed to look for near-Earth objects. And not a minute too soon.

By Patrick J. Kiger

When you think of sports drinks, chances are Gatorade comes to mind. But was it the first one? Or just the beneficiary of clever marketing?

By Becky Striepe

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Behold the humble spork! Made of the cheapest plastic and seen mostly at public school cafeterias and fast food chains, it doesn't have an inspiring pedigree. But it's been around for a long time.

By Laurie L. Dove

Next Thanksgiving when you find yourself sleeping on Aunt Martha's pullout sofa, it might cheer you up to know that the convertible bed has a long, illustrious history.

By Laurie L. Dove