Inventions can change the world in an instant. Inventions are thought of every minute but very few of them actually make it to market. In this section we'll examine amazing inventions from all throughout history.

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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.

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

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

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

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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

Everyone knows what a sandwich is. Most may even know how the snack got its name. But did you know who invented it? That's a tougher question to answer.

By Stephanie Watson


Primitive batteries date back a lot longer than you might guess. But when were scientists finally able to produce and store electricity and then use it to create a continuous, controllable current?

By Christopher Neiger

At one time, sharing files between computers meant carrying a box of punch cards from one machine to another. The Internet changed all that, but who's responsible for creating this network of networks?

By Jonathan Strickland

The grocery bag you're carrying breaks, and the eggs inside splat across your driveway. Yep, unloading groceries can be tedious, but that's nothing compared to the days before refrigeration, so grab a cold beverage and learn who you have to thank.

By Jonathan Atteberry & Desiree Bowie

Like so many other modern conveniences that we take for granted, the history of the elevator is more complicated than it may seem at first glance. Believe it or not, there's some controversy over who invented this commonplace contraption.

By Shanna Freeman


More than two-thirds of U.S. households play video games, according to the Entertainment Software Rating Board. Without the crazy ideas of a few pioneering folks, we might still be stuck playing marathon sessions of charades. So who do we have to thank?

By Jonathan Atteberry

We take X-rays so much for granted. We get them at the dentist's office and watch them while clearing luggage through security at the airport. But did you know they were discovered by accident?

By Josh Briggs

The ancient Chinese brought us many great innovations, including some that we take for granted in the modern world. Let's examine 10 of ancient China's greatest inventions.

By Josh Clark & Sascha Bos

Smartphones, tablets and other devices are not just useful; they can improve your social life. We'll look at some of the newest ways to integrate social media into whatever you're doing.

By Dave Roos


People have been making (and drinking) wine for 8,000 years -- which means lots of innovations both now and in the past, from creating Champagne to quirky wine labels.

By Becky Striepe

The Hybrid Sports Bike, still in its prototype stage, is a three-in-one: a pedal-powered bicycle souped-up with both a gas engine and an electric motor. But how could a gas-powered bike be environmentally friendly?

By Julia Layton

Despite all the Slinkies, Band-Aids and BIC pens out there, many patented inventions that push the boundaries of innovation will likely never see widespread use, like this car that’s grown organically and emits pure oxygen.

By William Harris & Patrick J. Kiger

This person of diverse interests also invented the cowcatcher device for trains and held a distinguished mathematics professorship at the University of Cambridge.

By William Harris & Chris Pollette


It seems like virtually everyone has a cell phone. In fact, you probably have one in your pocket right now. Many had the idea for the device, but only one could successfully introduce the gadget. Who was it?

By Jonathan Strickland

Many inventions during the Industrial Revolution caused Europeans and Americans to move from an agricultural economy to an industrial one and changed the world forever. What were the top 10?

By Jonathan Atteberry, Melanie Radzicki McManus & Nicole Antonio

Though the 1980s might remind you of the days of MTV and leg warmers, there was a lot going on in technology. In fact, quite a few of the technologies we rely on today were making their debut.

By Jonathan Strickland & Wesley Fenlon

Google's headquarters is located in Mountain View, Calif., but it might as well be Mount Olympus given the company's wild success. Who is the man or woman behind the mountain?

By Tom Harris


Many people consider Guglielmo Marconi the inventor of the radio. After all, he did get the Nobel Prize for it. But others credit Nikola Tesla because the Supreme Court upheld his patent for the invention of radio. So who should get the recognition?

By Josh Briggs

Inventing a useful product or process is serious business — turn a great idea into a marketable widget, and you could earn millions of dollars. But that doesn't mean your widget has to be straitlaced and conservative.

By William Harris, Marianne Spoon & Sascha Bos