8 Inventions of 20th Century that Changed the World

Here are some of the inventions that have change modern history for the better.
Donovan Alexander

Humankind has had some impressive engineering moments in the 20th century. Now don't get us wrong, the 21st century has produced some amazing inventions that you are probably using throughout your household and to read this article.

Yet these same modern day inventions garnered their foundations in the 20th century. 

In fact, most would argue that the past century is one of the most remarkable in human history producing a host of technological advances, gadgets, and scientific discoveries.

From the vacuum cleaner to the nuclear bomb these feats of engineering have laid the framework for the modern era and will continue to do so for years to come. 


So as you probably garnered from the title, today we are going to explore some of the 20th century's best inventions, things that have both shaped the world and your everyday life, so let's begin. 

The Airplane

Let's start with something a little more obvious, the airplane. Think about how much smaller the world became once commercial flights were possible. However, let's go back a step further.

Invented in 1903 by Wilbur and Orville Wright, the brothers brought to life a concept that was reserved for mythological stories.

However,  the airplane was not taken seriously until Charles Lindberg made his solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

It revolutionized countless industries beyond just the realms of transportation. The effects of the airplane can be felt in satellite and communication, business and commerce just to name a few.

Just think of a life without the option of flying away to somewhere new. 

The Television 

Though your grandparents may disagree, television changed the world for the better.

Created in 1926 by John Logie Baird, the television was one of the first inventions to affect the lives of masses all over the world, and to this day still remains the most popular ways of getting information.

Broadcasting both news and entertainment, the television created entirely new industries impacting culture to such an extent that it influenced the way people think about important social issues such as race, gender, and class.

The Computer

Imagine a life without your smartphone or laptop. Yes, of course, it is possible, but the loss would be dramatically felt. On a much larger scale, some of the greatest scientific discoveries and inventions in recent years can be contributed to the computer.

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The computer itself was born out of the minds of the many scientists, researchers, and mathematicians, with the first programmable computer, the Z1, being created between 1936-1938. 

From getting man to the moon to changing the way people communicate, the computer has help mankind create a host of technologies that still play an integral role in our daily lives. 

The Radio

Occasionally underappreciated, the radio was one of the first major inventions of the 20th century. Invented in conjunction with many different scientists including Nikola Tesla and Guglielmo Marconi, the radio became the most used forms of communications in the world.

The radio in the early 20th century served as a social bonding tool, a place of news, and education tool, and for emergency broadcasts, in short, providing an entirely new way for people to communicate and interact. 

Nuclear Power 

Utilizing the energy released by splitting the atoms of certain elements, the harnessing of nuclear power would go on to change the world in more ways than one. First developed in the 1940s as a means to produce bombs, it was not until the 1950s that the research of nuclear energy turned peaceful. 


Today nuclear energy provides, about 11% of the world's electricity from about 450 power reactors making it the world's second-largest source of low-carbon power. Right now, 50 countries use nuclear energy research industries ranging from the medical field to the industrial field.  

The Automobile 

The automobile was under development in Europe in the 19th century, however, the vehicle did not come into fruition until the early 20th century. Once it did arrive, no more horse and buggies.

Popularized by Henry Ford's Model T in 1908, the automobile gave the average person a bigger degree of mobility and personal freedom while also spawning a revolution in the market place.

Goods could now be transported much more easily as well quickly, the seeds of the traveling industry were planted, people could move out of the city and live in the suburbs, all of this thanks to the automobile.  


Antibiotics changed modern medicine forever. Considered by many as one of the man's greatest creations, outsmarting bacteria.

Before the Scottish researcher, Sir Alexander Fleming's discovery of penicillin, death by bacteria was fairly common to the extent that even the smaller little bug could be fatal.

Antibiotics like penicillin and a host of others helped drastically reduce the mortality and even helped people live longer healthier lives.     

In fact, penicillin helped save the lives of millions of soldiers in World War II helping those who got sick from war or suffered life threating injuries.

Imagine where you would be if you did not have the antibiotics at your disposal next time you were sick. 


Ah, the internet. You probably saw this coming from a mile away but it makes sense.

Aside from creating hilarious memes, streaming cat videos, and trolling online, the internet has affected lifestyles across the globe since the first internet connections were laid in the late 1950s.


Education, commerce, science, art, music, communication, modern media, and travel have all been shaped by the internet in some shape or form and that's not even the half of it. 

The internet has even been used as a tool to make positive and negative social, economic, and political changes that affect billions of people a day. 

This is just the beginning and Interesting Engineering will be taking a further look at some other great 20th century inventions that have changed our lives. Stay tuned for Chapter 2.  

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