Inventions that Date Back to 1770-1790s

Many items we take for granted today and for many decades as used by our ancestors originally were invented in the late 1700s (American Revolutionary era). Here are a few.

The beginnings of the Telegraph started with the optical telegraph operated visually via a set a relay stations and signals, viewed with a telescope. The semaphore telegraph system was in used in France from the 1790s onward, invented through trial and error by the Chappe Brothers (named Claude and Ignace) decades before the modern electrical telegraph came to dominate the 1800s.

It was James Watt who invented the steam engine in 1767, but it would be decades before the steam engine and the steam ship would be put to use in the lives of everyday people. One of the earliest steam ships was operated via steam-powered paddle movement. It was built by John Fitch in 1787, and reportly that members of the Constitutional Convention watched as it made its way down the Delaware River.

Especially interesting is the first flushing toilets. The modern flushing toilet as we know it today was first patented in 1775 by Alexander Cummings, an English inventor. The infamous Thomas Crapper, who improved the design, wouldn’t come along until the late 1800s.

Most people don’t realize the first submarines started in 1771. The first being named the ‘Turtle’. The small ship was not entirely viable for the purpose of sinking larger ships, however it was able to deliver a bomb in 1777 and to then (very slowly) escape – it was powered via one person inside and using a hand crank.

During the colonial era of European rule, exotic locales were mined for their natural resources. Diamonds in African countries, fertile growing conditions for tea in India, and rubber from various plants around the world. The discovery of the usefulness of rubber changed the direction of many industries, from clothing to home goods to writing supplies. The rubber eraser was invented in 1770 by the Joseph Priestley who discovered how to create carbonated water. Before his invention rubber was called “India gum”, but gained it’s modern name for the rubbing action erasers required to do their jobs. Before rubber erasers, people used easer knives to scrape off the ink!

It was Founding Father of the U.S. who was a keen inventor, Benjamin Franklin. In addition to developing the lightning rod, the newspaper chain, and the urinary catheter, Franklin also invented bifocal glasses, an invention which he he himself wore.

See you may have been surprised by some of long time inventions.

Photo: The ‘Turtle’ submarine

Related Blogs:

Inventions from the 1920s

Inventions from the 1930s

Early Versions of Modern Items

< Return To Blog Interesting! In school we had an "art gum" eraser.
Sara N Martin 29/07/22

How about that? Hadn't heard of that.
alice 29/07/22

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