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How It Works Book Of Great Inventors & Their Creation.

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How It Works Book Of Great Inventors & Their Creation

How It Works Book Of Great Inventors & Their Creation.

Keywords: how it works,inventor,inventors,creation,creations








Who invented






of the




This book celebrates some of history's greatest minds, whose
intelligence and perseverance has helped shape the modern world.
Theyare by no means the only great inventors in history, but within
these pages you'll meet some of the most iconic figures in the history

of technology. Among many others, you will encounter brilliant
mathematiciansArchimedes ofSyracuse and Charles Babbage,

celebrated scientists Michael Faraday and Alfred Nobel, and
photography pioneers Nicephore NiE~pce and George Eastman. How It
Works Book ofGreat Inventors & Their Creations will offeran insight

into the careers of these geniuses through amazingarticles,
informative diagrams and handwritten notes. So, turn the page and
witness the innovative spirit and insatiable drive possessed by the

men and women who conceived ofsome of the world's most
influential inventions.



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Text copyright: Jack Challoner

The content in this book appeared previously in the Cartton book
Genius: Great Inventors and Tlleir Creations

How It Worl<o Book of Great Inventors & Their Creations Third Edition IS> 2016 Imagine Publishing Ltd
ISBN 9781785 462 900

Part of the



Discover the individuals behindmany
ofthe world's greatest inventions

8 10 inventions that 42

changed the world 64 Michael Faraday

From the printing press to the Internet, Understand the process undertaken to
some of the most innovative inventions get electricity into our homes

20 Archimedes 72 Charles Babbage

Look into the life works of the Learnabout the man who invented the
physicistand mathematician first evercomputer device

24 al-Jazar 78 joseph Lister

The inventor ofthe elephant clockand Discover the man who introduced
thewriter of howto construct devices antiseptics into surgical procedures

2o Johannes Gutenberg 82 Alfred Nobel

Discover the inventor ofthe printing The inventor of dynamite and the man
press, a life-changing technology who lends his name to the Nobel Prize

32 Leonardo daVinci 86 KarlBenz

From the screw maker to his military Readabout the person responsible for
inventions, explore his life'swork the first automobile in production

38 Hans Lipperhey 92 Thomas Edison

Learn how Lipperhey took the first From the phonograph to the lightbulb,
steps towards discovering the stars discover Edison's many inventions

42 Cornelius Drebbel 98 Alexander

Read about how Drebbel submerged Graham Bell
the human race underwater
The inventor of one of the most
46 BenjaminFranklin life-changing devices: the telephone

Light up your knowledge on Franklin's
work on optics and much more

5 JamesWatt

How james Watt wasa driving force
behind the Industrial Revolution

56 Nicephore Niepce

Explore how the everyday occurrence
of takinga photo was invented

60 Richard Trevithick

Read up on how English engineer
Trevithick invented locomotives


- - - -- -- - - - - - - - - CONTENTS .

Inventionsthat 10? George Eastman

6o wenowtal<e Readabout bow Eastman made the
camera a more affordable contraption
for granted

10 NikolaTesla

Meet the man who gave theworld the

automated current motor

112 Auguste and
Louis Lumiere

Explore the men who can be credited

with helping invent moving pictures

116 Wilburand
Orville Wright

Take flight with the first engine-

powered planes

126 Guglielmo Marconi

Learn about the pioneer ofthe radio:
Guglielmo Marconi

13~ Carl Bosch

Meet the man who made mass
production ofmany materialspossible

13t Vladimir Zworykin
o8 Read about the man who gave us the

biggest advance in developingTV

138 juan de la Cierva

Discover the man who invented

propellers now used on helicopters

142 Wernhervon Braun

Rocket power: discover the man who
invented long-range ballistics

146 AlanTuring

Read about the inventorwho made

code-breaking in WWII possible

150 Gertrude Elion

Meet thewoman who hassaved lives
by inventing chemotherapy

15 Tim Bemers-Lee

92 Pioneerofmodern day life, the man
behind the World Wide Web





very invention and inventor has a Touchscreens and televisions have let inventions invented byaccident that

story; a means by which the people receive and navigate information often have the greatest impact.

creation was conceived when in whole newways, while the Wright Of course, there has been manya time

others had either failed or simply didn't brothers' plane and steam engines where an invention has been anything

realise it could be done. Some have been paved the way for transportation to but accidental, and the race to file a

the evolution of an earlier idea into become easy, quick and efficient. patent or show the idea to the general

something others had tried to attain- However, notall inventors had this public has been intense. When

building the world's first powered long-term vision when creating their Alexander Bell went up against Elisha

airplane, for example. ' It'sthe inventionsinventedby Gray in the race to patent
Other inventions have accident that often have the the first telephone, the
more humble greatestimpact , former won out by a
beginnings, such as matter ofhours.
plastic, which struggled
to achieve commercial Narrowing down
every invention to a list

success for 50years after often certainly was not

its invention until it suddenly sprang designs. In 1862, when Alexander Parkes an easy process, and ofcourse there

into the limelightand became an unveiled the first man-made plastic, did will be era-defininggadgets and

integral part of the modern world. he realise how ingrained in everyday machines that do not appearin this

Many inventions have changed the life plasticwould become by the end of collection. However, what follows are

world in entirely different ways. The the 2oth century? Probably not. Did Tim ten of the most incredible inventions

Internet and telephone enabled people Berners-Lee design the world wide web that have, without a doubt, changed

to communicate on a global scale knowing that it would rule the world? the world that we live m and the way

instantaneously for the very first time. This is highly unlikely. It's the that we live our lives.


GREAT I NVENTORS AND THEIR CREATIONS - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I• ll ess(1450)

The printingpress revolutionised the accessibility
and proliferation oflmowledge

idely considered by academics to be one of the

most influential inventions ofthe past 1,ooo

years, the printing press set in motion the

democratisation of knowledge and the establishment of

our modern, knowledge-based economies. For the first

time, valued texts could be produced in their thousands

and allowed texts to be accessed widely by the majority,

not just the wealthy aristocracy and intellectual elite.

The man credited with the invention ofthe printing

press is inventor johannes Gutenberg. Around the year

1440, Gutenberg designed a device based on screw

presses that, when partnered with inked movable type

heads, allowed paper to be quickly and efficiently

pressed with letters. Type heads were made by pouringa

lead-tin alloy into a hand mould, and then affixed to the

top ofmovable, rectangular stalks. The stalks could then

be arranged in order to create words and sentences

within a rectangular container, before being fed under a

screw press. The screw press clamped a paper sheet on

top ofthe type heads, pressing their ink onto the sheet.

This was a groundbreaking invention inthe 15th

century. Before the Gutenberg press, texts were hand

copied by monks and select few learned individuals. As

such, the availability and cost of texts was immense and

could only be accessed by a tiny percentage ofpeople.

Consequently, by the mid 16th century and on to the

Renaissance, printing presses had exploded all over Printingpresseshad exploded,
Western Europe, producing millions of mass-produced producingmillions ofmass-
texts on a diverse array oftopics. Indeed, famous
English philosopher Francis Bacon said that the

emergence of typographical printing had "changed the

producedtexts on diverse topicswholeface andstate of things throughout the world."

Johannes Gutenberg

johannes Gutenberg is considered the father of the Printing Revolution
and the inventor ofthe printing press. AGerman blacksmith and
goldsmith by trade, Gutenberg designeda complete printingsystem

circa1439 based on the idea of movable type. Bycreating type heads In
a hand mould and then mounting them in the order ofwords,
Gutenberg's machine could ink-press sheetsof paper onto them far
quicker than copying by hand, which was the primary manner of
productionatthe time.




The most important tool in astronomy, it has
broadened humanity's lmowledge ofthe universe

I nvented at the start ofthe 17th stated: "Alas! Your dear friend and world's first fully functional reflecting
century and named by Greek servant Galileo has been for the last telescope system. Newton's reflector
mathematidan Giovanni month hopelessly blind; so that this worked by using anarrangement of
Demisiani in 1611, the telescope heaven, this earth, this universe, which curved mirrors to gather transmitted
elongated humanity's vision on Earth Iby my marvellous discoveries and clear light and return it along an optical path
and, due to work by Galileo Galilei, its demonstrations had enlarged a hundred to a point of focus, directly visible to the
view ofspace. The latter has resonated thousand times beyond the beliefof the scope's user through an eyeglass.
to the present day with particular wise men ofbygone ages, henceforward
importance, with the telescope's usage for me is shrunkinto such a small space
extrapolated into a multitude of as is filled by my own bodily
applications and disciplines, ranging sensations."
from simple amateurstargazing
through to intergalactic analysis by The credit for the basic design of
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. modern astronomy telescopes is
Speaking on the telescope, Galileo attributed to English polymath Sir Isaac
Newton, who in 1668 invented the


GREAT I NVENTORS AND THEIR CREATIONS - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Allowingfor items to be manufactured on a large scale, the steam engine
openedup incredible possibilities

T he power ofsteam, even to this harnessing a portion ofthe expanding the 19th century, numerous advances
day, is harnessed worldwide. fluid's heat energy to drive mechanical Jed to powerful steam-powered
Indeed, 8o per cent of the world's apparatus, such as a piston and drive machines- such as the steam turbine-
electricity is generated through wheel. In the majority ofsteam engines, as well as technologies that would later
large-scale steam turbines, a direct steam is suppliedvia a boiler, which be included or built upon in internal
evolution from the first engine produced itselfis pumped with a continuous combustion engines.
in Egypt by Hero ofAlexandria in the supply ofwater. The boiler heats up the
first century AD and the multitude of water, turns it into steam and then feeds The rise ofsteam power granted a new
engines that powered the mills, mines it into acylinderat high pressure. The exploitable form of energy but also
and automobiles ofthe Industrial expandingsteam then pushes the ushered in the age ofautomation and
Revolution.lf it were not for this simple cylinder's piston one way or the other mass-production. With steam-powered
yet powerful device, the evolution of -the direction is dictated bya slide machines undertaking the role of
further engines and our ability to valve- creating mechanical movement. humans- often with a higher product
generate energy could have been While earlysteam engines were output- items could be manufactured
severely compromised. incredibly inefficient, requiring on a large scale. This led to the invention
subsequent design revisions by of the production line, a process that
Steam engines work by exploiting the engineers Thomas Newcomen, james was later exploited by Henry ford
expansion that steam demonstrates Watt and Matthew Boulton throughout among others inthe proliferation of
under high-pressure conditions, cars, weapons and appliances.

' Poweringthe Industrial Revolution, the steam engine
enabled extensive mechanisationandautomation '



From celluloidand
Bakelite to nylonand PVC,
plastics have manyuses

A lexander Parkes (1813-1890) of
Birmingham, UK, unveiled the first
man-made plastic, Parkesine, at
the Great International Exhibition, London,
in 1862. Amixture ofchloroform and castor
oil, itwas mouldable but retained its sturdy
shape when cooled, giving an advantage
over more brittle storage materials. His
invention led to the creation of more plastics
that wouldn't find widespread commercial
success until the 2oth century. Parkes's
attempts to reduce costs and mass-produce
the plastic resulted in his company going
under due to poorproduct quality.

Afew years later, American inventorjohn
Wesley Hyatt set about making the first
synthetic man-made plastic. By 1870 he and
his brother acquired a patent for their
plastic, which had more applications than
Parkesine. Created by mixing pressurised
alcohol, camphorand solid nitrocellulose, it
could be reheated repeatedly to mould into
different shapes, but was solid enough at
room temperature to be sawed and drilled.
They named it celluloid, and used it for
everyday items like piano keys and combs.
Today, it has largely been replaced by more
versatile plastics like Bakelite and cellulose
acetate due to its flammable nature.

What is a plastic? Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) Polystyrene

Aplastic is a material that can be moulded into Uses: lial den hos.,; shower wrhuus Uses: lnsuJatmJ: food
a lmost a ny shape w ithout springing back to its ...:onlautt.ots
original shape or break ing easily, like rubber Fact: Pure I'Vl' "\JSefui!<J! lls IIJ(Idity Fact: Fna merl
or clay respectively. Plastics a re polymers, a and low tt:~mmabliily: dnmesor use• poly,lyrene minnrt
u1c!u<.!~ ptpe~ .md wmctow frame,. padutgm~ 13 usehol
collectionof chemical li nks know n as l<'r II; I!Ourt water·
monomers (with 'poly' meaning 'many'}. va.pm1r1ransm1ss10n ,

They created it by mixing pressurised Polyaceral
alcohol, camphorandsolidnitrocellulose '
Usea: Shuw~r h~ads. ~i;>:;
Fact: Polvareta! is <rrong. hils Jnw to irlion
.md IS tughly res~stant to otis and solvent5.
mal<ino! tla usetul replacement tor metai.


GREAT INVENTORS AND THEIR CREATIONS - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The invention that changed
communication forever

I n the 187os, inventors Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha
Gray both developed devices that could transmit voice
electronically, the telephone. Amazingly, both men
finished their designs within hours of one another, and both
rushed to the patent office to have their invention verified as
the original. Ultimately, it was Bell who arrived first, and is
now credited with the invention, although Gray challenged
this assertion for quite some time.

By 1876 Bell had devised a method to talk via electricity,
which he marketed as the telephone. His invention was much
more successful than attempts by other people to create
something similar, and he ultimately wound up victorious as
the true inventor of the telephone. This was partly due to his
previous experience with the telegraph, which was a
wire-based electrical system much like the telephone. Bell's
prototype 'harmonic telegraph' showed thatsounds of
different pitch could be sent across a telegraph, providing the
basis for his work on the telephone. He uttered the first words
by telephone on 10 March 1876 to his assistant Thomas A
Watson: "MrWatson, come here, Iwant you."



Howthe Wright brothers designed and
flew the first heavier-than-airvehicle

0 n 18September1901, 33-year-old soon changed their mind when would prove pivotal. By the early1900s
businessman Wilbur Wright it became apparent that wing the engines were much lighter and more
addressed a group ofChicago design had not been perfected, powerful, and by1903 the Wright
engineers, outlining the difficulties he and in 1902 they constructed the brothers had the engine they required.
and his brother Orville had encountered Wright glider to test out their
when trying to achieve heavier-than-air- biplane wing design. The Wright glider On 17 December 1903, aftera failed
flight. While hot air balloons and gliders flew at the Kill Devil Hills, near Kitty attempt three days earlier, the Wright
had takento the air in the preceding Hawk on the Outer Banks ofNorth Flyer took to the skies, the first powered
century, no one had yet built a working Carolina. By 24 October 1902 they had airplane controlled fully by a pilot to
plane that could power its own flight. completed up to 1,ooo flights with the become airborne. Its first flight, piloted
Wilbur's speech provided the basis of glider, with some flights covering almost by Orville, travelled 36.6 metres (12o
the Wright brothers' work over the next 190 metres (623 feet) in 26 seconds. feet), and lasted just a few seconds. Kitty
decade to build what had previously Hawk is a notoriouslysandy area, so to
seemed impossible: an airplane. The problem with achieving powered achieve flight the plane travelled down a
flight in the 19th century and before had monorail track 18 metres (6o feet) in
The Wright brothers were heavily been the lack ofa suitable source of length, consisting of four two-by-fours.
influenced by the work ofpredecessors power. Various experimental craft had One year later, Wilburflew an improved
like George Cayleyand Otto Lilienthal, toyed withsteam power and even Flyer llfor five minutes.
but initially focused their efforts where gunpowder, but most either didn't have
others had not, specificallyavoiding the power to lift the aircraft offthe
further development ofwings. "Men ground or resulted in it breaking apart
already know how to construct wings," under pressure. The emergence of the
explained Wilbur in 1901. However, they internal-combustion engine in 186o

Weight: 274kg ---. ,....---Length: 6.4ffi

, . . . -'- -r - W i n g s p a n :

12.3m (40.4 feet)

Modern wingscan
support much
more weight.


GREAT I NVENTORS AND THEIR CREATIONS - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


e ev1s1on (1926)

From humble origins to the mostpopular entertainment appliance on Earth,
the television has connected societies and disseminated information

' Television?Thewordis halfGreek
andhalfLatin. No goodwill come ofit ' '

D escribed in function as early as Charles Francis jenkins successfully revolving disc fitted with coloured
188o by French engineer sent a still picture by radio waves and filters. The system worked by filtering
Maurice LeBlanc in the journal then later, in 1925, Scottish inventor the disc's hues at the transmitting
La Lumiere electrique, and later named John Logie Baird successfully camera and then applying them over
by fellow Frenchman Constantin transmitted a live human face on his the cathode ray tube at the receiver
Perskyi in 1900, the television was seen custom-built system. For this, Baird is end, generating a primitive colour
by many during its early development now considered as the inventor ofthe picture to the viewer. Later, fully
as a total waste of time, money and modern television and, furthermore, electronicsystems eradicated the need
resources. Indeed, the editor ofthe also the inventor ofcolour television, for a spinning coloured disc by using
Manchester Guardian, England, with him releasing a colour variant cathode ray tubes to 'paint' images on a
famously said, "Television? The word is in 1928. glass screen that had been coated in
halfGreek and half Latin. No good will phosphorescent materials.
come of it." Baird's colour television was a hybrid
ofthe earlier mechanical prototypes- Based on these principles, the
Despite this scepticism from some, based on the scanning ofan image line television was iterated upon feverishly
the vision ofbeing able to transmit by line by light source, a process that during following decades, introducing
pictures live over large distances, caused transmitted images to flicker increased image resolution, greater
continued to drive development into badly- that had been developed and image refresh rate and more natural
the Twenties. This was the decade the later fully electronic systems. The and diverse colour palettes. Today the
when two major breakthroughs were television generated images by using a manufacture of televisions is a
achieved. In 1922American inventor cathode ray tube in conjunction witha multibillion-dollar industry.



Touch screens have
revolutionised the waywe

screens (1965)

Alteringhowwe interactwith the world, they

allow direct control ofinformation appliances

T ouch screens, invented by conductive layer touches the
English engineer EA resistive layer at that point, causing
johnson in 1965, are a key an alteration in the current. This is
feature of the majority of cutting- detected by a controller unit, which
edge electrical appliances; an logs the touch event's vertical/
integral part of people's day-to-day horizontal co-ordinates and action.
lives, streamlining their
relationship with computer Capacitive touch screens work by
software and hardware and coatingan insulator with a
banishing clunky peripheral transparent conductor. When the
control devices. screen is touched by another
electrical conductor, like a human,
There are two types oftouch its electrostatic field is distorted at
screen: resistive and capacitive. the point of contact. This is
Resistive touch screens work by registered bya control unit via
registering pressure from the user's oscillator circuits at the four corners
finger or stylus by the conjoining of ofthe screen, which vary in
a conductive and resistive layer frequency depending onwhere the
within the screen.When the screen touch took place. This data is then
is pushed, the electrically charged translated into X/Y co-ordinates.


GREAT I NVENTORS A ND THEIR CREATION S - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

(1973) -

Without it we'd be lost

I n the Seventies, the US military asked Americans
Ivan Getting and Professor Bradford Parkinson to
devise the first GPS system so that they could fire
missiles accurately and avoid risk ofattack. Their
proposal was a network ofradio transmitters, with
each having an in-built clock. These would be atomic
clocks, allowing each satellite to have a precise
measure of time. Each missile had a radio emitter and
receiver, and by firing signals at the satellites they
were able to measure how long it took the signal to
returnand pinpoint their location. This is the basis of
GPS today.

The first GPS satellites were launched by the US
military in1978, but publicaccess was denied until the
early-Nineties. GPS satellites orbit at a height of20,2oo
kilometres (12,500 miles) above the surface, allowing
themto provide cover at all times. Originally there
were 18 satellites in 1979 and then 24 in 1988, with
three of those as replacements on standby, but that
number is now closer to 30.

Aton1ic clocl<s

Amajor contribution to GPS invention was advancement of
atomic clocks. Providing accuracy to within a billionth of a
second, they allowed the satellites to be accurately tracked
a nd relay in formation above Earth and back again,
providing pinpoint locations for various devices.



hile some firms had local networks in the early-
Sixties, there was no host-to-host connection until
1969, when the Advanced Research Projects Agency
(ARPAI of the US Department of Defense createdARPANET. The
first data exchange over this network resulted in the computers
crashing when researchers tried to simplysend the letter 'g'.
However, it was soon up and running at four computers across
the US.
While the Internet was working by the Seventies and Eighties,
and spreading, it was nothing like we know it today. It focused on
the backbone ofcomputer operations, data the user wouldn't see.
In the late-Eighties, a researcher at CERN called Tim Berners-Lee
and his colleagues developed a system through which users of
the Internet would be able to access text-based 'pages', which
would later becomewebsites (the world wide web). Their system
involved the use of HyperTextTransfer Protocol (HTTP), allowing
communication between network servers and computers. They
developed an early web browser that allowed users to navigate
these text pages, which was released to the public in 1992. The
first 'pointand click' graphical interface browser arrived a year
later from Marc Andreessen (co-founder of Netscape) at the
University of Illinois, and was called Mosaic.



{c.287 BCE-c.212 BCE)

T he greatestand best-knowninventor of
the ancientworld was also one ofits
greatest mathematicians, and this was
Archimedes ofSyracuse. Fortunately, a great
deal is known about his mathematical
achievements from his own writings, however,
any knowledge ofhis remarkable inventions
exists only because his contemporaries
documented them.

Archimedes was born in Syracuse, on the
island of Sicily, then a colony of the Grecian
Empire. Little is known about his life or what
l<ind ofperson he was. The little that is known
comes from commentaries written by historians
who Iived at the time or over the next hundred or
so years. The most important source is Greek-
born Greek and Roman biographerand historian
Plutarch (q6-120 CE).

According to Plutarch, Archimedes's father
was an astronomerand the family was closely
related to the ruler ofSyracuse, King Hiero (also
spelled Hieron) II (qo6-215 BCE). The king's
reign endured almostas longasArchimedes's



\ • •• • • ' 1

• ... " •• •

. '- ~ / --/" >
,; •

GREAT I NVENTORS A ND THEIR CREATION S - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Above: An 1815 print showing entire life- and many ofArchimedes's activities and iackle
the inside ofan Archimedes were connected to Hiero.
Screw, normally housed ina quickly moved beyondit. It is his exquisite
King Hiero askedArchlmedes to design a mathematical proofs and inspired ideas that
cylinder.Turning the handle pump to drain his ship during the voyage to reveal his true genius.
clockwise drags the water Alexandria, Egypt. Archimedes devised a simple
up the screw thread, but brilliant solution. The device, today known Although none ofArchimedes's originalwork
as theArchimedes Screw (or Archimedean in his own hand exists, there are several copies
through the cylinder, sothat Screw) consists ofa helical blade - a wide screw made during the first thousand or so years after
thread - inside a cylinder. The screw lifts water his death. The most important is an nth-century
it emerges at the top. The when it turns, and was so effective that it was manuscript on vellum. Archimedes's work had
devicewas used extensively quickly adopted in many countries for irrigation. been scraped off, overwritten with Christian
for irrigation in Archimedean Screws remain commonplace prayers, and bound together as part of a book.
Archimedes's day, and today in factories and on earth-moving Since this book, now called the Archimedes
machines, where they are used to move granular Palimpsest, was bought at auction in 1998,
brought him great fame. materials such as soil and plasticpellets. They scientists have been applying the latest imaging
are also still in use for irrigation worldwide. techniques to try to 'see through' the Christian
text to enable them to read Archimedes's work
Mathematics for the first time. One of the most remarkable
findings from the analysis of this book is that
Archimedes brought together mathematics and Archimedes invented some ofthe principles of
experimentaland mechanical principles, and the mathematical technique today called
clearly realized the close and important calculus. Crucial to modern science and
technology, calculus was onlyactually
connection between them. He studied the formalized in the late 17th century, by Isaac
mathematics ofthe day- in Alexandria - and

' Archimedes brought together
mathematics and experimental

and mechanical principles '


------------------------------------------------------------- AR~ES

Left: An andent Roman mosaic
depictingthe death ofArchimedes.
the 19th centuryduring french
excavations ofPompeii,
showsArchimedesathis table with
anabacus-anda Romansoldier
apparenUytellingArchimedes to
leave the room.

mechanism. which appears to be
an ancientastronomical calcu lator
and was recovered from the wreck
ofa Romanship dating tothe first
century BCE.Archimedes is know n
to have built devices for this
pu rpose a nd manyacadem ics
believe th is cou ld be one ofthem.

Newton (1643-1727) and Gottfried Leibniz Above: TheArchimedes Palimpsest - a bookofChristian prayers lhorizontaiJwritten in the 12th
(1646-1716). century overa tenth-centurycopy ofsome ofArchimedes's most important works(vertical).
Scientists at theWalters Art Museum In Baltimore. USA, have useda vartetyoftechniques to
Archimedes used applied mathematics, make theArchimedes text more visible.
calculating the centres of gravity of objects and
working out the mathematics behind 'simple
machines' like levers, pulleys and gears.

He used his knowledge ofgears to invent a
small, wheeled cart that could measure long
distances (an odometer), a clock that struck the
hours, and devices to predict the positions of the
sun, the moon and the five planets that were
then known. In1900, divers discovered what
scholars deduced was an ancient astronomical
computer in a wreck off the coast ofthe Greek
island Antikythera. Some historians believe that
this computer may be closely descended from
the work ofArchimedes.

Ofall Archimedes's inventions, the ones most
celebrated in his lifetime were the weapons he
designed to defend Syracuse during the siege of
the city by the Romans, which began in 214 BCE.
The weapons included the Claw- a crane fixed to
the city wall that could lift Roman ships out of
the water and drop or capsize them.


GREAT I NVENTORS AND THEIR CREATIONS - - - - - - - - - -----7- -_:__ _ _ _ _ __

- .....:,)-··--··~~.~-_·_:_...., ~.- ~"-
, ,:,.. ·· .~h
ost people are aware ofthe --~~---:::·~-·-- ­
tremendous scientificand
technological advances ofthe great ~~ ...
ancient civilizations in Egypt, China, India,
Greece and Rome. However, during the Middle jJ)l~,
Ages, the Islamic Empire kept the spirit of
learning andinnovationalive. One ofits greatest ~\~'-~/ bl
technical geniuses was a mechanical engineer
named al-jazan. r· .
Badi' al-Zaman Abu al-'Izz Isma'il ibn al-Razzaz
al-jazariwas born in an area ofMesopotamia ••
calledal-jazira, in what is now part ofmodern-
daysouthern Turkey. al-jazan lived at the height
ofthe Islamic Golden Age, also sometimes called
the Islamic Renaissance. Thespread of Islam in
the seventh century had encouraged a rich
culture anda stable political system- the
Caliphate. By 750 CE, the Caliphate covereda huge
area, from northern Spain in the west, through
the Middle Eastand North Africa, to the fringes of
China in the east. Throughoutthis Islamic


• •

• •

• •

• •

• • • •

• -v:1 •
• ~
1--!~UR~~ ,•
:.:.,)_;~~~~'"' •

; •• •


• C1 ..., ~-¥

... • 'l



• Selected pages from al-jazari's Book

o fKnow/edge o fMechanical

Devices, completed in1206,showing

hIs lngen ious devices. The bookwas

Illustrated -andseveral copies

made- by members ofa school of

palntingsponsored by the rulers of

the Artuqid dynasty.

,• ~-~ · •

• •

• ~J-VJI · · ;:Jbub.,>...:~>~f '•

-f t •

• •


GREAT I NVENTORS A ND THEIR CREATION S - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Above: Glassalembic, approximately nth century.An alembic
isan essential tool indistillation, a procedure forpurifying
mixtures. Distillation was pioneered by lslamicchemists, who
developed many processes that would later be important in
thedevelopment ofthe science of chemistry.

Above: Reconstruction of Empire, there was a great emphasis on learning; Knowledge ofMechanical Devices) is a
al-jazarrs elephant clockat scholars collected and translated all the compendium ofthe engineering designs he
the Ibn Battuta Mall in knowledge they could from around the world and created through his career. According to the
Dubai, United Arab added their own. from the ninthto the 12th book's introduction, Nasiral-Oin Mahmud ibn
Emirates. Every hall-hour, century, the Caliphate was the foremost Muhammad, the dynasty's ruler between 1200
thescribe on the elephant's intellectual centre ofthe world. and1222, commissioned al-jazanto write the
back rotates full circle, and book in1198. al-jazarrsbook contains details of50
Out ofthe stability and the learning came great ingenious devices, including intricate clocks,
at the endof each hall-hour, wealth, and powerful dynasties ruled over each fountains that regularly change their flow
region. al-jazari became chiefengineer to the patterns, machines for raising water and toys for
the figure ofthe mahout Artuqid dynasty inthe town of Diyar Bakir, after entertainment. The description of each device is
jelephant driver) beatsa his father retired from the same position in 1174. accompanied by clear drawings that help explain
Most ofwhat we know aboutal-jazan comes from how itwas constructed and how it worked.
drum and a cymbalsounds. a book he completed shortly before his death. The
Kitab fl ma'rifatal-hiyalal-handasiyya !Bookof
The spread ofIslam brought huge advances in
science, mathematics, medicine and philosophy.
Engineering, on the other hand- although held in
great esteem and practised competently - was
mostly just a continuation ofexisting technologies
establishedbythe Greeks and the Romans. There
were certainlynotable exceptions, and some of
those innovations are to be found in al-jazarrs
wonderful book. for example, al-Jazarrs water- or
donkey-powered devices made use ofpower-
transmission elements that had been used for
centuries: gears, levers and pulleys. Butin one of
his inventions, a double-acting piston pump, he
gives the first known reference to a crankshaft-a
device for changing rotary motion to back-and-


---------------------------------------------------- ~1AZtlif

1'- --

4 ....

Above: Wa ter-raisingpump !rom the Book of Knowledgeof
MechanicalDevices. Pistons driven bya waterwheel openand

closevalves,draw lngwater!rom theriver (blue)andpushingit
up through the two pipes, which join to form a singlepipe (top~

forth motion (orvice versa). He also makes Above: Model ofa blood-letting device Above: Model ofpump builtfora 1'}76
extensive use of the camshaft, a rotating cylinder exhibition called 'Science and Technology in
with pegs protruding from it; his is the first described inal-jazarrs Bookof Knowledge of Isla m' at the Science Museum, London, part of
mention of that, too. al-jazarialso invented the MechanicalDevices.It measured the volume the countrywide Festival oflslam.
first known combination lock and the earliest
known mechanical water-supplysystem, ofblood lostduring blood-letting sessions.
which was installed in Damascus in the 13th
century, to supply hospitalsand mosques
across the city.

Several ofal-jazarrs contraptions featured
automata: animal or human figures that made
precise, programmed movements. For example,
he describes a boat containing four automated
musicians that entertained at parties and an
automated girl figure that refilleda wash basin.
Automatons also feature in most ofal-jazarls
clocks, which were more elaborate and ingenious
than any that had come before. Most impressive
was his 'castle clock'. More than 3metres (1o feet)
high, it displayed the constellations ofthe zodiac,
with the orbits of the Sun and the Moon, and
doors that opened every hourto reveal papier-
mache figures. This extraordinary device could
also be programmed to take account ofthe
varying day lengths.



j;= "::. ::::: :: '" .;_.,. .:; li:~:~~ ~.;. ; ~ ~"'1I .: I~

::::: ~;;;:;; ;;

(c.J4oo-3 February1468)

..-- tis rather difficult to overestimate the
importance ofthe printing press in the

--.3 history of the world. The mass-production of
books made them cheaper and far more
accessible, which promoted literacy and the
spread ofideas. The creator ofthis influential new
technology was a German goldsmith who was
called johannes Gutenberg.

Very little is known ofthe earlylife ofjohannes
(orjohann) Gutenberg. It is known that he was
born in Mainz in Germanyaround1400, and that
he came from the privileged, governing elite. He
attended university, where hewould certainly
have come into contact wUh books, and he
trained asa goldsmith.

Around 1420, several families were exiled from
Mainz after a rebellion by the tax-paying middle
class. Gutenberg's wasamong them, and he
travelled to Strasbourg, where hewas involved in
several ventures. One ofthem, he told his
financial backers, was 'a secret'. It is very likely


c::: ·:: :"::"' : :~:: ::.. :

16th century

copper engraving.

G REAT I NVENTORS A ND THEIR CREATIO N S - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Above: The frontispiece ofthe oldest dated printed book. Bought from the monk ina cave in

Dunhuang, China in 1907, this copy ofthe Buddhist text DiamondSutra is on a scrol15 metres (16
feet}long.ltwasprinted using woodblocks in 868CE.

that this secretwas the development ofthe number ofcharacters that are used in written Above: Coloured19th-
printing press. Chinese and Korean. century artist's impression
ofa scene in Gutenberg's
At the time, nearly all books were painstakingly Gutenberg invented moveable type
written out by scribes. Books, therefore, were rare independently, and his approach was simple and workshop (artist unknownt.
and extremely expensive, and literacy was efficient. First, he made punches ofhardened Gutenberg. bearded, is
confined to religious and political leaders. steel. each with the raised shape ofa letter. With shown in the foreground,
Woodblock printing produced a few books-but these, he punched impressions ofthe letters into
each block, representinga whole page, had to be copper. Next, he fitted the 'negative' copper pieces checkinga printed page.
carved in its entirety. Gutenberg's important into a hand-held mould ofhis own invention, and
innovation, 'moveable type', changed all that. poured in molten metal to castas many perfect There would actually have
copies ofthe letters as he needed. The metal been about20 people
Moveable type Gutenbergwasan alloy of lead, tinand antimony working in the workshop at
that has a low melting point and solidified quickly any onetime.
Moveable type is a system ofprinting inwhich a inside the mould. His alloy is still used wherever
page oftext is arrangedin a frame, or matrix, by 'founder's type' or 'hot metal' letterpress printing
slotting in individual raisedletters. The letters are methods survive today.
then inked and pressed onto was
invented in Korea and in China in the nth century, While still in Strasbourg in the 1440s, Gutenberg
but never caught on, mostly because ofthe large experimented with another crucial element ofhis


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - j OHANNES GUTENBERG

Right: Portrait ofGerman
the inventor of lithography.
His process enabled printing
of illustrations from a flat
surface; artists could draw
directlyonto it, usingspecial
water-repellent inks.

Below: Atype case filled
with large, decorative
moveable type in the
Gutenberg Museum.A
printer would slot these
individual pieces oftype
into a frame, to represent!he
text ofone page ofa book.


printing system: the press. Gutenberg's press was technology, which then spread quicklyacross the Above: Ahighly decorated
adapted from winemakers' screw presses. The restofEurope. By1500, millions of books had page from a Gutenberg Bible.
inked, typeset text was slotted face-up on a flat been printed. Gutenberg had created thefirst Gutenberg produced 180
bed, covered with paper, then slid undera heavy media revolution. copies ofhis bible. Some
stone; turning the screw then pressed the paper were on vellum, others on
onto the type. Repeating the process gave exact Unfortunately for Gutenberg,Johann Fust paper; some were decorated
copies timeaftertime. Gutenberg also formulated demanded his money back, and accused (by hand), otherswere left
oil-based ink, which was more durable than the Gutenberg of embezzlement. Ajudge ordered plain. The books caused a
water-based inks in use at the time. He knew that Gutenberg to hand overhis printing equipmentas sensation when theywere
by putting all these technologies together he was payment. Fust went on to become a successful first displayedata trade fair
onto somethingvery important. printer, and Gutenberg set up a smaller printing in Frankfurt in1454·
shop in the nearby city of Bamberg. Gutenberg
By1448, Gutenberg was back in Mainz. He later moved to a small village where, in1465, he
borrowed money from a wealthy investor, johann was finally recognized for his invention and given
Fust{C.1400-1466), to set up a printingshop there. an annual pension. He died threeyears later in
Knowing that the church would be the main relative poverty.
source ofbusiness, Gutenberg decided to print
bibles. Work on the Gutenberg Bible began around ' The lowprice ofthe bibles, and
1452, after several test prints ofotherworks, their quality, secured the success
including books on Latin grammar. The relatively of Gutenberg's newtechnology
low price of the bibles, and their exquisite quality,
secured the success ofGutenberg's new



(15April1452-2 May1519)

he name Leonardo da Vinci is
synonymouswith genius, yet arguably
the Italian polymath does not belong in
this book. He was undoubtedly a genius, and he
certainly changed the world, but his influence on
history was restricted todevelopments in art. His
scient! fie researches were notwell known in his
Iifetime, and most orhis inventions never built.
Leonardo da Vinci was thearchetypal
Renaissance man. He had an enormous influence
on the development of painting, drawing and
sculpture. He was a pioneer ofperspective and of
using anatomical studies to improve life drawing;
he was an innovator in how to paint lightand
shade, in using new materials and in
composition. That Leonardo wasalso a great
scientist, engineerand inventor onlybecame
common knowledgewhen his journals were
published longafter his death.
Leonardo was born in Vinci, a town inTuscany,
Italy. His father was a local notary, and his mother


GREAT I NVENTORS AND THEIR CREATIONS - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Left: Modelofa revolving
crane. Leonardo's twin cranes
were designed for quarrying.
Stones cut froma rock face
would be loaded into one
bucket; the whole crane would
then rotate, and the bucket
would be emptied while
another was loaded.

Below: Modelbased on a peasant. At the age ofsixteen, he became an There were an estimated 13,000 pages in all,
Leonardo's design fora apprentice at the workshop ofartist Andrea del containing his observations, thoughts, sketches
Verrocchio (C.1435-1488) in Florence, where his and inventions. Around 5,ooo ofthese pages
screw-cutting machine. talents shone through. He qualified as a master at survive today.
the age of20, and workedin Florence, then in
Turning thecrank handle Milan, where he created such iconic paintings as The notebooks reveal how Leonardo followed
causes the dowel in the the scientific method- based on careful
centre to turn. It turns the TheAdoration ofthe Magi, The Virgin ofthe Rocks observation, scepticism and experiment- well
two sidescrews, advancing before the likes ofGalileo Galilei (1564-1642) and
and The LastSupper. Isaac Newton (1643-1727). Leonardo's grasp of
the cutting tool along the Throughout his life, and particularly during his optics, geology, hydrodynamics (the behaviour of
length ofthe wooden dowel water), astronomyand the principlesbehind
in the centre. time in Milan, Leonardo kept detailed notebooks. gears, levers, cantilevers and force and motion
was far ahead ofhis time.

Work experience

Leonardo hada chance to apply some ofhis
knowledge and understandingwhen he worked
as an engineerand military architect for two
dukes ofMilan from 1485 until1499, and
afterwards in the same capacity for other patrons,
including the infamous Cesare Borgia (1475-1507).

Above: Model ofLeonardo's car. He intendedit to be powered
byspring-driven clockwork. It has no driver's seat, because
this was designed to be an automaton. Like most of Leonardo's
remarkable inventions, the carwas not builtin his lifetime.


-------------------------------------------------------- LEONARDO DAVINCI

- .-.

. .• . ..'.~~.,, '''1 .:0.·- · ;- ·~·-

_,. ,

Indeed, when Leonardo was offering his services ' Leonardo was almost unknown
to these men, he madea point ofpromising them for his scientificinsight and his
wonderful engineering projects, and only
mentioned in passing that he was also a painter. remarkable inventions

Among Leonardo's notebooks were detailed Two known examples are a bobbin-winding Above: Leonardo's assault
plans for many incredible inventions, most of machine and a lens-grinding machine. Ingenious tank-a model builtbylBM
which were almost certainly never built. These thoughthey are, these devices do not do justice to a nd on display atChiiteau du
included a huge crossbow, various flying Leonardo's enormousgenius and foresight. Clos Luce, France,
machines, a parachute, an armoured vehicle, a Leonardo's final home. The
dredging machine, a helicopter, a humanoid In 1513, Leonardo metthe king of France, Frands shell ofthis hand-cranked
mechanical robot, an aqualung, a bicycle and a I(1494-1547), afterthe king's conquest ofMilan. tan!< was rein forcedwith
water-powered alarm clock. Francis commissioned Leonardo to make him an metalplatescontaining
automaton in the form ofa lion. Leonardo made holes so that the soldiers
Since the 19th century, there has been great one thatwalked and turned its head, and even could fire weapons from
interest in Leonardo among academics and the presented a bunch oforchids when stroked in a within. Behind can beseen
generalpublic alike. In recent years, several ofhis certainway. Francis was so impressed by this the sketches hemade andon
inventions that had onlyever existed on paper creation that he became Leonardo's patron, and which the modelwas based.
have at last been constructed. Leonardo's designs Leonardo lived out the lastthree years ofhis life in
have been found to workremarkably well, albeit Amboise, France. There he died peacefully,
witha bit ofadaptation in some cases. renowned for his astonishing artisticskill but
almost unknown for his scientific insightand his
Afew ofLeonardo's inventions did make it out of remarkable inventions.
his notebooks in his day, and were used by other
people, but because there was no patent system in
Italyat the time, there is little record ofexactly
which inventions passed into general use, or how.


•• • •


- ....... ... .-~· ~ • -
•\ ---.- I ,~-

.,_, • · - • t- I"


,-- •


-'--- -


(1570- September1619)

he telescope has enabled us to discover
ourplace in the Universe, and to reveal
the treasures and sheerscale ofdeep
space. Nobody is completelysure who was the
first to construct a practical telescope orwhose
genius was the first torealize the potentialfor this
device. However, Dutch lens maker Hans
Lipperheywas certainly the first to applyfor a
patent, in t6o8.
Hans Lipperhey (sometimesspelled
Lippershey) was born in Wesel, Germany, and
moved to Middelburg, in the Netherlands (then
the Dutch Republic), in1594.Inthesameyear he
married, became a Dutch citizenand openeda
spectacle shop in the city. Little is known ofhis
life, but what is clear is that hewas the first
person to apply for a patentfor the telescope,
which was called a 'kijker (Dutch for 'viewer').
In Septembert6o8, Lipperheytravelled to The
Hague, the political centre ofthe Dutch Republic,
where he filed the patentapplication for his


GREAT I NVENTORS A ND THEIR CREATION S - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Above: Early depiction ofa device. His applicationwas denied, because ofthe Above: L<?ns grinding machine, designed by Leonardo.
'Dutch telescope' from the simplidty ofthe invention- itwas reallyjust two Lipperhey used asimilarmachine to grind concave lenses for
'Emblemata ofzinne-werck' lenses held ata certain distance apart in a tube. the eyepieces ofhis telescopesanda different one to make the
tMiddelburg, 16241 ofthe However, the officials atThe Hague saw the larger, convex lens that collects the light tthe objective lens).
poet and statesmanjohan potential of Lipperhey's instrument, and
de Brune (1588-1658). The commissioned him to build threesets ofdouble- next to his and pay to have major renovation work
print was engraved by telescopes (ie binoculars). The Dutch States carried out.
Adriaenvan de Venne. General paid Lipperhey handsomely for his work:
he received more than enough to buythe house The States General was probably justified in
refusing Lipperhey a patent. Withina few weeks,
another Dutch spectacle maker, jacob Metius
{1571-1630), submitted a verysimilar application.
In the 162os, yet another retrospective claim for
primacy ofthe invention ofthe telescope came to
light. ZachariusJanssen {1580-1638), whose house
was a few doorsawayfrom Lipperhey's, may have
beaten Lipperhey to it.

The earliest drawing ofa telescope is a sketch in
a letter by Italian scholar Giambattista della Porta
{1535-1615) in 1609. Della Porta later claimed he
had invented the telescope years before
Lipperhey, but he died before he could provide
evidence ofhis is likely that long before
Lipperhey many lens makers had held two lenses
in the right configuration and seen a slightly
magnified image, but not realized its potential.


Any uncertainty in the story ofthe telescope falls

away in 1609, when other people heard aboutthe
new instrument, made their own, and used it for a
novel and world-changing purpose: gazingat the
night sky. The first person to note that he had
gazed upwards inthis waywas English

astronomerand mathematician Thomas Harriot
{1560-1621), who made a sketch ofthe moon as



ooservalions ot the moons oi Ju Jtet were ke 111
overtunuuy the lony·'iianllutq. dogma!tc !:1e01

rtlal the eatth ts Jt the centre ot ~he Umverse

Above: Compound seen through his telescope on july 26,1609. Most Lipperhey's andJanssen's home city of
microscope designed by famously, Galileo Galilei (1564-1542) did the same, Middelburg was famous for its spectacle makers,
and much more, four months later. He published thanks to its supply offine-quality, bubble-free
English scientist Robert his monumental findings in his book Sidereus glass and to a superior lens-grinding technique
Hooi<e(t6J5-170J), whose1665 Nuncius(The Starry Messengerj in 1610. that was developed in the city. Workingwith
book Micrographia revealed high-quality glass was a novelty in Northern
them icroscopicworld to the Hans Lipperhey is often also credited with the Europe in the 17th century the secret ofits
invention ofthe microscope, orto be more precise, manufacture had been exported from Italy, which
public lorthe first time. the compound microscope (consisting oftwo or had had the monopoly on fine-quality glass since
Unfortunately, Lipperhey more lenses, rather thanone). Here again, the 13th century.
ZacchariusJanssen probably invented the device
died long before the book around the same time as, ifnot before, Lippershey. In a sense, then, alongwith the lens grinders of
was published.Theglass Again, there is no patent for the microscope, Middelburg, the Italianglassmakers ofthe 13th
because it was inevitable that, atsome point, centuryalso deserve credit for these wonderful,
ballsand lenses focused someone would arrange two lenses in the right world-changing inventions.
light onto thespecimen. way to make things look bigger.

People made their ownand used
it for a world-changing purpose:

gazing at the night sky,,




(1572-0ctober 1633) l

T he person who designedand built the first •
submarine, Dutch inventorCornelius
Drebbel, is not really a household name. -.,.
But his brilliant mind, his grasp ofchemical
processes and the forces ofnature made him one ·-: --- ----
ofthe most prolific and best-known inventors of -.
the 17th century. ,. _
. .•
Cornelius Drebbel was born inAlkmaar, in the
Netherlands (then the Dutch Republic), the son of ••
a wealthy farmer. He had little formal schooling,
but aged20 he was apprenticed to the Dutch
painter, engraverand publisher Hendrick
Goltzius (1558-1617) in Haarlem. During his
apprenticeship, Drebbel had the chance to
experiment with more than engraving. He
learned the artofalchemy, and throughout the
rest ofhis life, his work was dominated by the
elements ofthatart: earth, air, fire and water.

Drebbel moved back to Alkmaarin 1598, and
began creating ingenious inventions. In1604, he
demonstrated the one that would bringhim fame:


I ,,JJ,

GREAT I NVENTORS AND THEIR CREATIONS - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Below:Model ofTurtle, the first a fascinating astronomical clock called the
submarine used in warfare. The Perpetuum Mobile. Ln the patent for the device,
one-man craft, d riven by hand- Drebbel claimed it could run for decades without
cranked propellers, was built in a visible source ofpower.
1775 by David Bushnell (1742-
1824)and used toattach The Perpetuum Mobile displayed the hour, day
explosives to ship hulls. and date, the phases ofthe Moon and the position
ofthe Sun and planets. Itwas powered by
44 changes in air pressure and temperature, a fact
that Drebbel was aware of, although atthe time
he was happy for a bit ofmystique to surround his
invention. Later in 1604, he was called to England
to show it to Kingjames I{1566-1625), and as news
spread ofthis remarkable clock, Drebbel gained
notorietyand invitations to show his invention
across Europe.

From 1604until his death, Drebbel createdand
demonstrated manynew and improved
inventions. Among them was a process for
making an intense scarlet dye, a technology that
was to endure well beyond his lifetime. Healso
invented a thermostatically controlled furnace
(the first knownautonomous control system); a
portable bread oven for the Dutch army; a form of
air conditioning, which he reportedly
demonstratedin the auspicious Westminster Hall
in London; andan automatic chicken incubator.
He also inventeda primitive, though important,
thermometer (see box).

________________________________________________________ CoRA~llUSDREBBEL

One ot Cornelirrs Dre.hhel's most impnrtant
rnvennons was a basic lhermomeler .Hrs

Drebbel also experimented with light and
lenses: he constructedan early form ofprojector,
and one ofthe first practical microscopes. Both
these devices were made with lenses he had
ground usinga machine ofhis own design.
Drebbel's microscope wasa distinct improvement
on the few that already existed, and was
important in the development ofmicroscopy.

The first submarine carry16 people, 12ofthem oarsmen. The hull was Above: Drebbel's last
covered with greasedleather to make it submarine is shown only
His most notableachievement, however, was watertight. Someaccountssuggest that long tubes partiallysubmerged in the
designing, constructing andtrialling the allowed the oarsmen to breathe. However, there RiverThames, London, in
invention he is now best known for: the world's isalso evidence that Drebbel may have used a this1626 illustration byG.H.
first submarine. Sadly, no convincing chemical reaction- heatingsaltpetre (potassium 11Needale. Legend has it that
contemporary illustrations of Drebbel's invention nitrate)- to produce oxygen. Kingjames even had a ride
exist but there are contemporaryaccounts and in the vessel.
modern best guesses ofhow he might have built Drebbel tried to convince the English Royal
Navyto adopthis submarine for use in warfare. Top Right: Drebbel's
it. Between1620 and1624, Drebbel built three Despite his relationship with the royal family, the Perpetuum Mobile clock,
differentversions ofhisvessel, while working for Navywas not interested.It was150 years before from Dialogue
the English Royal Navy. He tested them in the submarines were used for military purposes. Philosophical/byThomas
River Thames in London. Eyewitness accounts TYmme. The centralsphere
suggest that his vessels couldstaysubmerged for (A} represents Earth; the
upper(B} lunar phases.
hours ata time, divingas deep as 4 to 5metres (13
to 16 feet) beneaththesurface.

The submarines contained large pigskin
bladders for buoyancy; these were filled withand
emptiedofwateras necessary. Each craft was a
sealed wooden double-hull craft with leather-
sealed holes along the sides through which oars
protruded. The third and largest vessel could



(17 january1706-17April1790)

hen the United States ofAmerica was
born on4]ulyt776, one of the men
who signed the Declaration of
Independence was Benjamin franklin. Afine
statesman, Franklin was also an important figure
in 18th-century scienceand invention-just the
sort ofpersona new nation needs.
Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston,
Massachusetts, USA. He was one of17 children,
and his parents could onlyafford to send him to
school for two years. He was keen to learn,
however, and wasan avid reader- andat just12
years old, he became an apprentice at his older
brother's printing firm. following a dispute with
his brother five years later, franklin ran away
from home to make a new life in Philadelphia.
Penniless to begin with, he managed to find an
apprenticeship ina printer's firm there, and soon
set up his own printing shop.
By the 1740s, Franklin was extremely successful
- he now owned a publishing companyas well as


GREAT I NVENTORS AND THEIR CREATIONS - - - - - - -- - - - - - - '

Below: Eighteenth-century a newspaper business- and he began to spend In1749, franklin retired from business, so that
Franklin-s tyle bifocals, w ith increasingamounts ofhis time on sdentific he could spend more time on his research. His
slidingadjustable arms. ln a research. franklin was a strong believerinthe work on optics famously led him to invent
letter to his friend, English idea that science and technology could be used in bifocals, although others probably invented them
merchant George Whatley, order to improve society. In 1743, he founded the independently, around the same time. Bifocals
American Pllllosophical Sodety, the nation's first are like two pairs ofglasses in one, in a split-lens
dated 1784, Franklin wrote learned society. In the sameyear, he also arrangement- ideal for people who need
that he was "happy in the invented a cleaner, more efficient way ofheating different pairs ofglasses for distance and close-up
invention ofdouble the home; this was the franklin Stove.Since he and would otherwise have to keep changingfrom
spectacles;· although it is intended it to be for the publicgood, he didn't one pairto another.
patent it.
possible someone else had fire prevention was a major concern, as most
inventedthem beforehim. buildings were made ofwood. In1736, franklin
founded one ofAmerica's first volunteer fire
departments. In 1752, he formed America's first
fire insurance company, and came up with his
most famous invention: the lightning rod, aimed
at preventing the risk offire from lightning.

Lightning rods, orlightning conductors, are
pointed metal spikes connected to the earth,
which draw off electric charge from clouds,
dramatically reducing the risk oflightning
strikes. When lightning does strike, the rods
carry the electricity to the ground, bypassingthe
building to which they are attached. They may
seem likea simple or even insignificant invention
today, but at the time, franklin's invention caused
a real buzz and helped to foster the idea that basic
insight into natural forces can produce important
practical results.



7" u

Gm.F of M!p<"TCO

The kite experiment actually helped speed travel and postal services Above: franklin's1786
across the ocean. map ofthe GulfStream.
Franklin's fascination with electricity andwith franklin did not discover
lightning led himto carry out his famous kite In addition to hisscientific work, Franklin the current, but he was
createdAmerica's first lending library; he
experiment in1752. During a storm, he flew a kite founded America's first hospital !Pennsylvania, thefirsttostudyit
into a thundercloud and drew electric charge 17511 and university IThe Library Company, 17311, systematical ly, after
down the wet kite string, provingfor the first time pushed through early environmental regulations
that lightning is an electrical phenomenon. and was a vocal advocate of the abolition of noticing that mail ships
slavery. He was also America's first Postmaster took longer crossing the
Between 1757 and1775, Franklin spent mostof General, for which he was commemorated on Atlanticfrom America to
his time travelling between Europe andAmerica, America's first postage stamp, issued in1847. Europe than from Europe
negotiatingbetween the British, the French and
the Americans during the turbulent period to America.
leading up to American independence. During
this period, he became the first person to carry ''Franklinwas a strong believer in
out detailed studies ofthe GulfStream, a warm the idea that science and
current ofseawater that originates in the Gulf of
technology could improve society
Mexico and travels across the Atlantic Ocean to
Europe. His resulting map ofthe GulfStream



ne afternoon in May1765, Scottish
engineer james Watt had an idea that
changed the world. Watt had hit upona
clever device to make steam engines more
efficient and more powerful. It was this device
and his other inventions that made steam the
driving force of the Industrial Revolution.
English engineerThomas Newcomen (1663-
17291 built the first practical steam engine
in 1712 to pump water from coal mines. By the
time of Watt's birth, there were nearly a hundred
Newcomen engines across Britain, and several
more in other countries.
Newcomen's engine relied on atmospheric
pressure to push down a piston inside a huge,
open-topped vertical cylinder. That could only
happen if there wasa vacuuminside the
cylinder, beneath the piston. Newcomen
achieved the necessary vacuum by condensing
the steam inside the cylinder back into water,
which takes up only a tiny fraction of the volume


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