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Here Are Some of The Most Important Victorian Era Inventions

Many things we use today trace their origins back the Victorian Era.

The Victorian Era saw an explosion in invention and technological change around the world. Many of the developments made during this period of history are still used by us today.

But changes were not just limited to technology. Massive socioeconomic, geopolitical and philosophical changes occurred throughout this time.

RELATED: 45 OF THE GREATEST BRITISH INVENTIONS OF ALL TIME

In the following article, we will explore some of the most important inventions of this time and explore why this period of history is still remembered today.

What was the most important invention in the Victorian era?

The most important invention of any period is something of a matter of personal opinion. This is especially true for the Victorian era, named after the rein of British Queen Victoria, that lasted between 1837 and 1901. 

RELATED: INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION - THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THIS GAME CHANGING PERIOD

For the author, the most important development during this period was the rise and solidification of Classic British Liberalism throughout the 19th Century. This movement in thinking brought about some of the biggest progress for individual liberty the world has ever seen. 

victorian era queen victoria
Source: Depositphotos

Whilst it has its origins in earlier centuries, this was the period in history that it became the dominant political movement in the United Kingdom.

Slavery was abolished (albeit legislation was introduced before Victoria's coronation), the Corn Laws were repealed, child labor was made illegal, and greater emphasis was placed on personal property right, the rule of law and civil liberties. 

Whilst working and living standards seem barbaric to us today, they must be seen in the context of their time. It was a significant improvement over previous eras like Feudalism and the "Dark Ages".

But this is just one opinion. We'll let you decide which of the many inventions of the Victorian age was the most important.

During the Victorian Period, the Industrial Revolution was well under way. This led to an explosion in innovation (helped in no small part by the dominance of liberalism in the UK). 

Many important inventions were created during this period, a lot of which are still in use today. Things like locomotives, cars, the telephone, electric lightbulb, x-rays, and many more, are a product of this period of history. 

Whilst the era is named after a British monarch and Empress of the British Empire, the Industrial Revolution was spreading around the world during this time. But it was not isolated to Europe and the British Empire.

Other nations like Japan soon understood the importance of allowing creative destruction to take place and embraced industrialization. But for other nations, notably the Russian Empire, their rulers would continue to resist adopting it well into the 20th Century. 

victorian inventions bessemer process
Bessemer converter at former ironworks, Hogbo, Sweden. Source: Calle Eklund/V-wolf/Wikimedia Commons

What were some important inventions during the Victorian era?

The Victorian era saw a literal explosion in innovation and invention. The very fact we still remember this period is the fact that it was a period of enormous technological change.

Many things that we still use in our everyday lives can trace their origins to Victorian inventors. 

The following is a non-exhaustive list of important Victorian inventions. We would like to thank victorian-era.org for compiling this list: 

YearInvention
1838First photograph
1839Photographic paper to develop pictures
1839The invention of the first pedal bicycle
1839The first paddle steamship
1840First postage stamps introduced
1843First Christmas card
1844The invention of the Morse Code message
1845The invention of rubber tires
1845London Road in Nottingham covered with tarmac (tarmacadam) making roads smoother
1846Sewing Machine invented
1849Concrete development helped further construction
1849The first glider flew by a pilot
1850sThe invention of post boxes
1850Petrol
1850Sewing machine with possible home use
1851The invention of ice cream in the USA
1852Opening of a first public flushing toilet  in London
1854Iron converted to steel, giving strength and making buildings and shipbuilding possible
1855Safety matches
1856Pasteurizing process
1859Discovery of oil
1860Horse-drawn tram
1863The world’s first underground steam-powered railway becomes operational in London
1864First jelly babies made
1872The invention of the penny-farthing bicycle with huge front wheels and no breaks
1873Typewriter invention
1875The first chocolate Easter eggs
1876The invention of the telephone on 7 March 1876
1877Voice recording
1878Electric street lighting starts in London
1879The invention of the electric light bulb
1885Safety Bicycle with chain, driven rear wheel and same size wheels
1883Electric railway started
1884Blackpool has the first British electric tram network
1885The invention of the first petrol motorcar
1887The invention of the gramophone
1888Pneumatic tires by Dunlop
1888Kodak box camera
1894Moving pictures  invented
1890The first electric public rail / underground train in London
1890First comic book
1891The first hydro-electric power station which generated electricity from water flow
1895X-rays which revolutionized modern medicine
1895Wireless radio

What was significant about the Victorian era?

The Victorian period of history is generally characterized by rapid change in technology, geopolitics, and socioeconomics around the world. Significant advances were made in medicine, scientific discovery, technological advances and enormous growth in population. 

Cities began to attract people from the countryside in search of work and, hopefully, fortune. In Britain, it is generally seen as a period of the rapid rise in power and influence of the British Empire around the world.

We also tend to associate the nineteenth century with the dominance of the Protestant work ethic, family values, religious observation, and institutional faith. Many modern political ideologies can also trace their origin to this period of time. 

This was in part helped by the rise in literacy around the developing world. Free time, whilst limited by today's standards, began to expand and tourism appeared as a new pastime

In short, the Victorian period was an era of significant change in people's everyday lives. Many of which we are still plagued by or enjoy (depending on your opinion) today. 

Following Queen Victoria's death, the world would never be the same again.

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