The Top 100 inventions that changed our lives

DOES it make you feel old to know that the Dyson’s vacuum was 20 last year?  Or that the Sony Walkman and the world’s first ever laptop, the Epson HX-20, are both over 30 years old?

These are just a few of the gadgets that have made it onto the 100 gadgets of the past century we can’t live without, ranging from the humble zip to the Playstation 4.

A list has been compiled following a survey of 3,900 gadget fans commissioned by Gadget Show Live. It reveals how, despite the pace of technological development, gadgets invented at the start of the 20th century still play a major part of our everyday lives, like the zip, first invented in 1913. However the technology was slow to catch on with the public.  It wasn’t until Esquire magazine heralded the zip as the ‘newest tailoring idea for men’ in the 1950s that they really took off. In 1917, 24,000 zippers were sold. Today, Japan’s YKK, which makes close to half of all the zips in the world, churns out 7.2 billion zips a year.

The invention of the world’s first laptop, the Epson HX-20, in 1981, shows just how rapidly technology is moving forward. The Epson HX-20 had a four-line by 20-character LCD screen, a cassette tape for data storage and even a small printer.  This was all packaged into a stylish silver casing and the entire system had a battery life of around 50 years.

The list also shows how gadgets have made an impact on our health and fitness over the last century, starting with the design of the artificial heart in 1941. This was followed swiftly by the kidney dialysis machine three years later, the Breathalyser in 1955, the hearing aid a year later and the pacemaker in 1958.

Technology has also become an integrated and much loved part of our kitchens thanks to inventions like Pyrex in 1915, the pop-up toaster in 1919 and electric kettle in 1922.

The year 1925 saw the arrival of the can opener, just seven years before the introduction of the electric version. The Teasmade has been brightening many a morning since 1933 and the microwave oven and Kenwood’s food mixer have been helping us make light work of cook      ing since the 40s.

 

The Most Influential Gadget Launches of the Past 100 Years

 

1913 - The zip

1914 - Motorised movie cameras

1915 - Pyrex

1916 - Electric power drill

1917 - Radio tuners

1918 - The superheterodyne radio circuit

1919 - The pop-up toaster

1920 - The hairdryer

1921 - The modern lie detector

1922 - Electric kettle

1923 - Self-winding watch

1924 - Loudspeaker

1925 - Modern day can opener

1926 - Tevelox robot

1927 - Aerosol can

1928 - Baird Television Department Company television

1929 - Car radio

1930 - Jet engine

1931 - Electric razor

1932 - Electric can opener

1933 - The Teasmade

1934 - Zippo lighter

1935 - Radar

1936 - First voice recognition machine

1937 - Dirt Devil

1938 - The biro

1939 - Helicopter

1940 - Modern colour television

1941 - Artificial heart

1942 - The turboprop engine

1943 - The Slinky

1944 - Kidney dialysis machine

1945 - Clock radio

1946 - Disposable nappy

1947 - Kenwood food mixer

1948 - First pager

1949 - Photo-Pac disposable camera

1950 - Alkaline batteries

1951 - Power steering

1952 - SAGE modem

1953 - Black box flight recorder

1954 - Regency pocket radio

1955 - Breathalyser

1956 - Behind the ear hearing aid

1957 - Casio digital watch

1958 - Pacemaker

1959 - Black and Decker cordless drill

1960 - Stereos/hi-fis

1961 - Kodak Instamatic

1962 - LED

1963 - The Telefunken ‘mouse’

1964 - Plasma television - University of Illinois

1965 - Y. Hatano’s pedometer

1966 - El-Gi 1:12 Ferrari radio controlled car

1967 - Polaroid

1968 - Smoke detector

1969 - The Internet

1970 - Digital thermometer

1971 - Busicom LE-120A Handy pocket calculator

1972 - Multi socket power plug

1973 - The Ethernet

1974 - Breville sandwich maker

1975 - Kodak digital camera

1976 - Lithium batteries

1977 - Mattel Electronic Football

1978 - Victor HR-3300REK - first UK VHS video recorder

1979 - Texas Instruments Speak and Spell

1980 - Sony Walkman

1981 - Epson HX-20 - the world’s first laptop

1982 - Sony Watchman - CD player

1983 - Commodore 64

1984 - Sony Discman

1985 - The Leatherman

1986 - Bose noise cancelling headphones

1987 - Sony super VHS camcorder

1988 - Digital mobile phones

1989 - World Wide Web

1990 - Nintendo Game Boy

1991 - Nintendo SNES

1992 - Palm Pilot

1993 - Dyson vacuum cleaner

1994 - Digital cordless telephone/Mega Drive

1995 - PlayStation 1

1996 - Audio Highway - world’s first MP3 player

1997 - Motorola StarTac

1998 - Panasonic portable DVD player

1999 - DVR by TiVo

2000 - The Trek Tech/IBM - flash drive

2001 - Apple iPod

2002 - PlayStation 2

2003 - Blackberry 6210

2004 - Samsung OLED TV

2005 - Xbox 360

2006 - SanDisk Micro SD

2007 - Apple iPhone

2008 - Beats by Dre

2009 - Twitter

2010 - Apple iPad

2011 - Kindle Fire

2012 - Nexus 7

2013 - PlayStation 4

 

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