Browsing: Inventions

A Brief History On January 5, 1943, African American agricultural scientist George Washington Carver died at the age of 79 after a fall.  Carver was a professor at Tuskegee Institute and developed methods of increased crop production through soil management and crop choices, while also advocating for the environment. Digging Deeper Although Carver was a keen advocate of foods such as sweet potatoes and the peanut, he did not  “invent” peanut butter as is often believed.  Other people have also been given credit for inventions they did not really invent, including but not limited to: Thomas Edison, did not invent…

Read More

A Brief History On January 2, 1921, Czech playwright Karel Čapek premiered his classic play, R.U.R. in Hradec Králové, in what was then the First Czechoslovak Republic.  The most important legacy of this famous play is the coining of the word, “Robot.”  As used in the play, “robot” does not really mean the mechanical gizmo we think of today. Digging Deeper Prior to R.U.R., people used words such as “android” and “automaton” to describe what we think of as robots, but in the actual play, the “robots” were not the metal men the name evokes, but more along the line…

Read More

A Brief History On December 23, 2013, Mikhail Kalashnikov, Soviet designer of the AK-47 assault rifle and its entire family of spin-off products, died at the age of 94 in Izhevsk, Russia.  Before his death, he wrote to the Russian Orthodox Church about his personal doubts about having designed guns that killed so many people. In fact, about 100 million of his guns have been made, more than any other design.  Is Kalashnikov the “greatest firearms designer?  We list a few others to compare him with. Digging Deeper Samuel Colt, who perfected the revolver, and of him is said, “God…

Read More

A Brief History On December 21, 1988, the giant Soviet cargo jet, the Antonov An-225 Mriya, made its maiden flight.  Heavier than any airplane before or since, and with a wingspan longer than any production aircraft, the An-225 was intended to carry mass quantities of military cargo, outsized items, and to transport the Buran-class orbiter space vehicles. Digging Deeper Built as an enlargement of the already large An-124, only a single flying copy of the An-225 was ever completed.  A second airframe was started, but not finished. The dimensions of the An-225 were 84 meters long, an 88.4 meter wingspan,…

Read More

A Brief History On December 17, 1947, the Boeing B-47 Stratojet made its first flight.  A graceful looking six engine jet bomber, this nuclear “big stick” of the US Air Force was destined to never drop a bomb in anger, although 2,042 Stratojets served from 1951 to 1977.  Other highly capable bombers that never saw combat include: Digging Deeper The Convair B-36 Peacemaker, which entered service in 1948 and retired in 1959, 384 of these gigantic bombers were the largest planes in service while they flew.  Powered by six propeller engines and four jet engines, the B-36 was defended by…

Read More