7 Russian Inventions That Would Go on to Change the Modern World

Each of these 7 inventions has an interesting backstory.
Donovan Alexander

Russia’s rich, diverse and at times complicated history has always been closely intertwined with the rest of the world. Throughout history, the Russian people have consistently described themselves as resourceful and full of pride for their culture. Overall Russia has consistently contributed to the areas of space travel, farming, physics, and transportation just to name a few. 


Today we are going to explore some of the most important inventions from the Russian people and look at how these inventions went on to change the world. There is a good chance that a few of these inventions still impact your daily life. Let's jump in.   

The Helicopter 

You have seen them and perhaps you have had the opportunity to fly in one. To this day, the helicopter is one of the more convenient ways to travel, used for emergency situations, in the military, and even in tourism. You can thank the Russian inventor Igor Sikorsky for this contribution. It was in 1910 when he created the prototype of a rotor-driven device. That same year he got his invention off of the ground. However, the story doesn't end there. 

Two years later he would go on to create the first multiple-engine aircraft and the first hydroplane. Excited about the success of his invention he went on to start his own company dubbed  Sikorsky Aero Engineering Company. It was in 1939 when he would design a machine that would be considered the classic helicopter.     


7 Russian Inventions That Would Go on to Change the Modern World
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No, we are not talking about Optimus Prime and the gang, though that would be very cool. We are talking about the transformers that play an integral role in your power grid. Without properly functioning transformers, you really don't have a power grid at all. Transformers were invented, built, and even put into operation by Russian electrical engineer Pavel Yablochkov and physicist Ivan Usagin. 

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This invention would be dubbed the “distribution of light” in the 1870s when it was invented. Comprised of a transformer and condenser, the invention would go on to be displayed in Paris and St Petersburg. The open-core transformer was patented in France by inventors Lucien Gaulard and Josiah Willard Gibbs. 

Synthetic Rubber

Synthetic rubber plays a bigger role in our world than one may think. This substance is used for making seals, insulation, and is even used in medical devices. Synthetic rubbers play a part in the production of rocket propellants. The first synthetic rubber came into existence when Russian chemist Sergei Lebedev, synthesized a method that produced polybutadiene resin.

Grain Harvester

7 Russian Inventions That Would Go on to Change the Modern World
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It was Andrei Vlasenko who invented the world’s first grain harvester in 1868. Upon its invention, he decided to give it an interesting name, the “reaper-thrasher.” The design was nothing too special but it was very effective. It had a capacity of 20 people and was powered by three horses. Over the years, he refined his ideas. It was the Americans who would go on to take his ideas, refine them even more and commercialize them. 

Petrol Cracking 

Petrol plays a vital role in the world we live in and the process of petrol cracking is necessary to give us that petrol. The process of cracking petrol was invented by Russian engineer Vladimir Shukhov, who also created the first industrial cracking unit in 1891. The cracking process allows petrol to be produced from heavy or high-boiling fractions of oil. Thanks to cracking we can produce enormous amounts of petrol modern cars consume. 

The Periodic Table 

You probably remember the Periodic Table from those confusing times in chemistry class. Nevertheless, the Periodic table played a vital role in chemistry for many years to come. The table came into existence all thanks to the Russian chemist and scientist Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev. Mendeleev would also go on to discover periodic law.

The Backpack Parachute 

7 Russian Inventions That Would Go on to Change the Modern World
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The parachute can be attributed to a few different people including a Russian. The original idea of the parachute belongs to the great inventor, Leonardo da Vinci. Meanwhile, frameless parachute prototypes were tested in the late 1790s by the French balloonist André-Jacques Garnerin. However, it was Gleb Yevgeniyevich Kotelnikov, an inventor with military and acting background, who would go on to design the first knapsack parachute.

His inspiration came from both the theatre and the fact that an important Russian pilot died as a result of a plane crash. He created a parachute that can be easily integrated into a bag and can be used in the case of an emergency landing. His parachutes were adopted quickly and were even used in World War I. 

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