As today is Thanksgiving, we felt we should be magnanimous and grateful and say thank you to America for some of the many creature comforts and lifestyle products we enjoy and take for granted today. All of the inventions below were invented by enterprising Americans to make life easier, more pleasurable and a lot less frustrating. Let’s also not forget that America gave us the enduring pleasure of the devil’s music, Rock ‘n’ Roll. And while the following items have undoubtedly transformed the world, it’s really only a tiny fraction of the way America has shaped the way we live.
The Electric Lightbulb
The world’s greatest lightbulb moment was quite literally the development of the lightbulb by Thomas Edison. In 1879 he made the incandescent lightbulb safe to use, first across America, and then across the world. What would we do without it.
The Microwave Oven
Created by Percy Spencer in 1945, it’s made mealtimes a breeze for bachelors the world over, because as a direct result of the microwave, some years later along came the microwaveable TV dinner which today takes up miles of shelf space in supermarkets throughout the Western world.
The QWERTY keyboard
It was Christopher Sholes who worked out the smartest way to arrange letters on a keyboard so that they did not become jammed. Sholes also invented the worlds’ first useable typewriter and the QWERTY keyboard has remained the typing method of choice even in the digital era.
The three light traffic signal
Garret Morgan introduced the three signal stop light in 1923. Before then it was either stop or go, and it created endless confusion and collisions when the stop light suddenly switched to stop, the cautionary amber light gave drivers time to adjust and slow down. As far as cars go, it was the pause that refreshes.
Kellogg’s Corn Flakes
The world’s most popular breakfast cereal happened by accident. Brothers W K and Dr. John Harvey Kellogg discovered that rolled wheat dough left overnight created thin flakes. They introduced them to their sanitarium and Corn Flakes became an immediate hit.
Philips Screw Head Screws
Henry Philips has unwittingly come to the rescue of thousands of thoroughly fed up modern day flat pack assemblers when he invented the screw head screw that perfectly fits the Philips screwdriver. After a lot of persuading, General Motors introduced them to their assembly line for the 1936 Cadillac, and they soon realized the screws sped up construction. Now they speed up all sorts of DIY jobs around the world.
Elvis singlehandedly but inadvertently invented rock n’ roll with his own unique interpretation of black rhythm and blues, and has remained the King ever since. He has influenced singers and bands too numerous to mention and even now in 2015, his latest album topped the charts.
A recent survey has confirmed that British consumers believe Apple products to be the greatest reason for gratitude to America. Steve Jobs and Apple brought the world the iMac, the iPhone and the iPod, ultimately revolutionizing the way we do just about everything from talking to friends, listening to music and paying bills. That’s a lot to say thank you for.
So thank you America, and Happy Thanksgiving!