Edwin Starr might tell you that war is good for absolutely nothing. Yet, a lot of the technology that we use today was either a direct result or evolved from the military during wartime.
Both WWI and WWII accelerated technological developments across the world, usually spawned from the need to better understand the enemy and protect soldiers.
We already discussed some of the most interesting inventions from 1911-1920, some that were created during and in response to the first Great War. Let's take a look at the following decade WWI to see what inventions would go on to shape our lives. Here are some of the most influential and interesting inventions from 1921-1929.
Though you may take it for granted now, headrests make your automobile experience far more comfortable and safer. Invented by Benjamin Katz in 1921, headrests gained immediate widespread popularity due to the comfort they offered drivers, eventually leading to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration who mandated the use of headrests of all new cars in 1969.
Now the convertible was not completely new, Ben P. Ellerbeck is the man credited with creating the first practical and retractable manual hardtop system in 1922. While Parisian Georges Paulin created the first power-operated retractable hardtop in 1934.
The Traffic Light
Yes, Detroit Police Officer William Potts was the first to create the traffic light, taking direct inspiration from railroad traffic signals. However, Cleveland Garret A. Morgan was awarded the first patent for an automatic, battery-powered stop light.
After witnessing tons of wrecks while driving down the streets in his hometown Cleveland. The idea was sold to General Electric for $40,000 eventually leading to its massive popularity.
During the Roaring Twenties, the wealthy and adventurous invented new ways to entertain themselves. Created by Ralph Samuelson in 1922, water skiing evolved into a major beach sporting event, starting with just a pair of boards and a clothesline.
Invented by an American physicist, Dr. Harvey Fletcher, the audiometer is a device which is used to measure and evaluate hearing loss. Audiometers are used around the world as a standard part of medical equipment in clinics and hospitals.
A crucial tool in the world of civil engineering, the bulldozer is used all over the world for the construction process. The invention came into existence in 1923 with James Cummings and J.Earl McLeod originally used to dig canals.
The Instant Camera
Since its creation the instant camera has consistently evolved over the years, catching the eyes of each generation. Though the first commercially viable instant camera did not hit the market until 1948, the first instant camera was actually created by Samuel Shlafrock in 1923.
There is a good chance that at some point in your life you had a cheeseburger. Just like the Life Savers, you probably have some fond memories with cheeseburgers. Some claim the first cheeseburger was made in 1924 by Lionel Sternberger, while others say it made its appearance in 1926.
Nevertheless, the general idea of the cheeseburger has remained the same usually including cheddar cheese, a beef patty, lettuce, onion, pickles, and ketchup.
For the uninitiated, the radio altimeter is a device which measures the distance between the aircraft and the ground directly below it. Created in 1924 by Lloyd Espenschied, this device was revolutionary as other devices could only measure the distances between the aircraft and a predefined sea-level.
Penicillin is considered one of the most important inventions to come out of the 1920s. It was created by Sir Alexander Fleming, Professor of Bacteriology at St. Mary's Hospital in London after studying bacteria in 1928. Penicillin is used as an antibiotic, penicillin kills bacteria or prevents them from growing and multiplying.
The Liquid-Fueled Rocket
The very first liquid-fueled rocket was launched by Robert Hutchings Goddard in 1926 in the United States. Developed as a part of the research for the first World War liquid-fuel rockets were used in armed weapons. He has a total of 214 patents in rocketry.
For more on the great inventions of the past century be sure to stop by here.