Who Invented the Compass?

Who Invented the Compass?...

Accounts of the history of the compass often points to 2nd century BC China as its place of origin. However there are researchers who say the Olmecs were using a compass around 1000 BC. However, the authenticity of this finding has yet to be fully verified. The Compass in Ancient China It is not possible to state with certainly who actually invented the first compass. But it may have been in use by the time of the Qin dynasty (221-206 BC). The earliest compasses were lodestones. This mineral is made of iron oxide which orients itself to a north and south axis. In 1117 Zhu Yu’s book Pingzhou Table Talks came out. It was the first time in the history of the compass that the device was mentioned as a tool for navigation. From the 800s to the 1040s, the Chinese referred to magnetism and magnetic needles in many of their books. Their exact use prior to the 1100s was for building edifices. During earlier times it was also probably used for fortune telling. The Magnetic Needles By the 8th century AD, magnetic needles had replaced the loadstones as navigational devices. From the 8th century to the 1050s the compass was reportedly being used by ships. Records show that Zheng He of Yunnan (1371-1435) used the device during his voyages. Based on the history of the compass, these voyages took place between 1405 to 1433. From China to Europe There is no consensus on how knowledge of the compass spread to Europe and other parts of the world. One theory is that Chinese traders made their way to the Middle East and then to Europe. Others think that the compass was developed in Europe without any Chinese influence. Another...
Who Invented the Airplane?

Who Invented the Airplane?...

The history of the airplane shows it was invented by Orville (1871-1948) and Wilbur (1867-1912) Wright. They got the patent 9 months prior to their flight in December 1903. The Early History of Flight There are pictures showing Orville Wright on the plane flying. The craft flew to a height of 10 ft. It traversed a total of 120 feet and lasted 12 seconds in the air. The story of airplanes is connected with man’s dream of flying. Man’s desire to fly goes back to ancient times. The ancient Greeks and Hindu tales feature stories of men flying around on animals or chariots. There are some reports that in 400 BC, the Greek philosopher and mathematician Archytas invented a flying device. The apparatus was powered by steam. According to some reports it flew a distance of 600 feet. This would rewrite the history of the airplane if true, but it has not been fully verified. Other Early Designs The records show that in the 11trh century the monk Eilmer of Malmesbery had experimented with gliders in an attempt to fly. Another one was the poet Abbas. Leonardo Da Vinci left behind aircraft designs on the Codex of the Flight of Birds. The 18th century saw Francoise Pilatre de Rozier soar on a balloon. In 1803, George Cayley (discoverer of the laws of aerodynamics) began experimenting with various gliders. An American scientist named John Montgomery was able to create a controlled glider in 1883. The history of the airplane shows that a lot of other scientists who designed gliders. But it was not until the Wright brothers in 1903 that engine powered aircraft came into being. After the Wright Brothers’ Flight The Wright brothers’ flight in 1903 was the first...
Who Invented the Helicopter?

Who Invented the Helicopter?...

Aside from the plane, the helicopter is the only other vehicle capable of heavier than air flight. Until recently, it was also the only vehicle that is capable of vertical lift-off. These characteristics make it interesting to know who invented the helicopter as it is an undeniably unique vehicle. If the question ‘who invented the helicopter’ pertains to the individual who first designed a vehicle resembling the modern helicopter, then the inventor of the helicopter is undeniably Leonardo da Vinci. The quintessential Renaissance Man, da Vinci did not limit himself to the arts. He also dabbled into engineering. In fact, da Vinci indicated that his occupation is a military engineer, as he designed numerous machines and contraptions of war for Italian warlords during his time. This is in stark contrast with his popular image as an artist, an image that owes to the popularity of his Mona Lisa. Leonardo da Vinci can very well be considered as the man who invented the helicopter, if the only criterion for being the inventor of the helicopter is to become the first to create a design plan of a helicopter. This is because he is the first individual to come up with the concept of a vehicle that flies vertically. In his notes, he called this helicopter prototype a ‘flying screw’ due to its distinct flying pattern. Many helicopter designs have been created centuries after da Vinci’s. Such designs include that of Lomonosov and d’Amecourt both of which, like da Vinci’s, remained on the drawing board and did not actually lift off the ground. They may not be candidates for being the ones who invented the helicopter but they nevertheless advanced the principles that will help the future pioneers perfect the technology...
Who Invented the Segway?

Who Invented the Segway?...

The history of the Segway attests to Dean Kamen (USA) as its inventor. The two wheeled machine was created by Kamen in 2001 and marketed a year later. Background The Segway was also known as Ginger and IT during its development stage. Ginger was in fact a product of the IBOT wheelchair technology that Kamen was working on. The Ginger was developed while Kamen was at the University of Plymouth. The name was taken from Fred Astaire’s dancing partner, Ginger Rogers. The device was also called Fred Upstairs because it had the ability to move upstairs. A book called Code Named Ginger led to all sorts of speculation as to what the product actually was. The speculation would run rampant until the Segway was opened to the public in 2001. A look at the history of the Segway shows that from 2001 to 2006, over 23,000 units had been sold. An official from the company states that as of 2009, over 50,000 units had been sold. Uses The use of the Segway has been restricted to specialized groups and niches. The vehicle has found acceptance among the police and military which use it to carry various types of equipment. The vehicle has also been used to transport equipment and items to warehouses. It is also used in various industries, factories and other similar areas. The vehicle has not found acceptance from the general populace. There are two reasons for it. One is that the price is similar to other vehicles which they are more familiar with. A review of the history of the Segway will show that some people are still uncomfortable about riding a two wheeled self balancing vehicle. The second is that states have different rules concerning...
Who Invented the Car?

Who Invented the Car?

There is no straightforward and definite answer to who invented the car. In fact, the history of this modern day invention is quite rich with various inventors and innovators in between who made great strides in its development. The idea of developing or inventing a car dates way back during the renaissance era. Even then the thought of a horseless carriage wasn’t even thought possible by many. Early Origin of the Idea Though we can not say who invented the car we can give credit to the many inventors who put their ideas forward and contributed to the development of this modern invention. The idea of creating a car or automobile dates back to the 15th century. Leonardo da Vinci, other than painting the Mona Lisa, made many designs that were way too early for his day. One of the pioneer ideas of this renaissance icon is the design of a transport vehicle. The Idea Takes Form From this single design comes many types and further designs of our modern day automobile. There are countless types and styles to be found as the years rolled by and innovators came into the scene. Some of the types of cars you’ll find during the different stages of development include those that run on electricity, steam, or gasoline. Giving a definite answer to who invented the car will largely depend on the opinion of the person giving such a credit. Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot In the year 1769 Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot came in and made a self propelled vehicle for the French army. The vehicle ran on steam and was three-wheeled with a velocity of 2.5 mph. Robert Anderson In the years from 1832 to 1839 we find Robert Anderson of Scotland as having developed...
Who Invented the Traffic Signal?

Who Invented the Traffic Signal?...

Early Traffic Signals Traffic lights had been in use even before cars were invented. In those days, people used horses, wagons and other means of transport. But the traffic was still horrible. So in 1868 in London, England, traffic enforcers came up with a basic device: A lantern with two lights – red and green. Green stood for “caution” and red for “stop.” A policeman would turn the lights regularly with a lever. Unfortunately this early traffic light proved unsafe. One model exploded a year later and hurt the operator. Automobiles and the Invention of the Modern Traffic Signals Things made a turn for the worse when cars were invented. In the early 20th century, transportation was in transition. Some people were using the new automobiles, others were still riding horses, wagons or bicycles. They all shared the same roads and streets with pedestrians. A lot of accidents took place as a result. A traffic police officer named William L. Potts, from Detroit, Michigan knew something had to be done. He saw as automated railroad signals as a model for street traffic signals. But the difference was railroads went on a straight path; streets were at right angles. So Potts designed a traffic signal device that could service four-way streets. He used three colors red, yellow (or amber) and green. He put the signal together with electric controls and wires. In 1920, he had it installed on the Michigan Avenue – Woodward corner street. These were the first automatic traffic signals. Detroit police went on to add fourteen more of these in twelve months. Patent for the Invention of the Traffic Signal As useful as Police Officer Potts’ invention was, he was not the first nor the last to...
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