Browsing: Inventions

A Brief History On September 17, 1683, Dutch scientist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek presented a paper to the Royal Society (The President, Council and Fellows of the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge) containing a description of the first scientific recognition of microbes/protozoa, a living thing he referred to as “animalcules” (single celled organisms).  Although van Leeuwenhoek had designed his microscope himself and is known as “The Father of Microbiology,” he was definitely not the inventor of the microscope.  In fact, exactly who is the inventor of this highly important contribution to science is not agreed upon by historians.…

A Brief History On August 29, 798 (AD), Japan minted copper coins for the first time in their history.  As you may guess from the date, these were certainly not the first coins minted and not by a long stretch the first coins ever minted. The distinction of minting the first known coins goes back to the 7th and 6th Century BC in Anatolia (modern Turkey) by King Alyattes of Lydia (sometimes given a date of 610 BC).  The earliest known coin is the Lydian Lion coin.  The practice of making coins quickly spread throughout the Persian and Greek empires,…

A Brief History On August 15, 1914, the Panama Canal was opened for traffic, with the SS Ancon making the first transit of the great canal. Constructed from 1904 to 1914 by the United States, a previous French attempt at building the canal from 1881 to 1894 failed miserably, with thousands of workers killed by disease and venomous snakes, a rate of fatalities that reached 200 per month. Despite an asking price of $100 million dollars, the US was able to purchase the rights to the canal project for only $40 million. Completion of the canal became a great source…

A Brief History On August 6, 1945, the American Boeing B-29 Superfortress named Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing about 70,000 people right away and perhaps a few tens of thousands later from wounds, burns, and radiation. Ever since this first use of a nuclear weapon against a live, human target, the specter of possible nuclear war has hung over the world, casting a pall on humanity. Created by Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board in 1947, the Doomsday Clock (https://thebulletin.org/2018-doomsday-clock-statement/) was invented as a way to chart the ongoing…

A Brief History On June 26, 1936, the Focke-Wulf Fw 61 made its first flight as the world’s first practical helicopter. Introduced into service with the Luftwaffe soon afterwards, the Fw 61 only had 2 copies built, but was a harbinger of things to come. Attempts to invent practical helicopters had been going on for decades, and in various countries, including contemporaneous with the Fw 61. Company namesake Professor Henrich Focke had invented various flying machines, including auto gyros prior to his collaboration with Gerd Achgelis, but the two engineers decided auto gyros were not quite the end result they…

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