100 most important inventions in history

May 19, 2010

What are the most important inventions from the whole of human history? The wheel, obviously, and then…

Tesco Mobile recently surveyed 4,000 Brits to compile a list of the 100 most important inventions in history. And the results are an eclectic mix to say the least.

Some – the wheel, the light bulb, the telephone, the combustion engine – were always going to be there. But others – the iPhone, the iPod, eBay, the push-up bra – are a little more surprising.

100 Most Important Inventions In History

1. Wheel
2. Aeroplane
3. Light bulb
4. Internet
5. PCs
6. Telephone
7. Penicillin
8. iPhone
9. Flushing toilet
10. Combustion engine
11. Contraceptive pill
12. Washing machine
13. Central heating
14. Fridge
15. Pain killers
16. Steam engine
17. Freezer
18. Camera
19. Cars
20. Spectacles
21. Mobile phones
22. Toilet paper
23. Hoover
24. Trains
25. Google
26. Microwave
27. Email
28. The pen
29. Hot water
30. Shoe
31. Compass
32. Ibuprofen
33. Toothbrush
34. Hair straighteners
35. Laptops
36. Knife and fork
37. Scissors
38. Paper
39. Space travel
40. Kettle
41. Calculator
42. Bed
43. Remote control
44. Roof
45. Air conditioning
46. Sat Nav
47. Wi-Fi
48. Cats eyes
49. Matches
50. Power steering
51. Tumble dryer
52. Bicycle
53. Sky+ (or TiVo)
54. Tea bags
55. Umbrella
56. iPod
57. Taps
58. Crash helmet
59. Wristwatch
60. eBay
61. DVD player
62. Nappies
63. Ladder
64. Sun tan lotion
65. Lawnmower
66. Make-up
67. Chairs
68. Sunglasses
69. The game of football
70. Sliced bread
71. Sofa
72. Razor blades
73. Screwdriver
74. Motorways
75. Head/ear phones
76. Towels
77. Push-up bra
78. Binoculars
79. WD40
80. Mascara
81. Hair dryer
82. Facebook
83. Escalator
84. Hair dye
85. Wellington boots
86. Spell check
87. Calendars
88. Cheese grater
89. Buses
90. Post-it notes
91. Gloves
92. Satellite dishes
93. Pedestrian crossing
94. Baby’s dummy
95. Curtains
96. Bottle opener
97. Food blender
98. Dustpan and brush
99. Desks
100. Clothes peg

The biggest surprise has to be the Apple iPhone snatching ninth place. Which means it is ranked higher than painkillers, hot water, and a toilet which flushes. Sheer madness.

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27 Responses to “100 most important inventions in history”

  1. EK:

    Interesting list. Fire making, food cooking and other means of food conservation and preparation are not on the list. These are the most important inventions in human history. It allowed us to survive in harsh environments and allowed our brains to grow.

    The invention of gardening, animals/pet keeping, making tools for tool making, building buildings, road paving and sewage were quite important as well. The invention of writing, politics, science, the scientific method and institutionalized education should even be on that list. Google is not an invention. Neither is the IPhone.

    Nevertheless it’s funny to see what common people think of. Did you know that the light bulb boosted electronic technology? When experimenting with early light bulbs to figure out laws of physics manufacturers and scientists discovered phenomena and properties that i.e. led to the invention of resistors and the transistor. If you look at a modern schematic blueprint of a device like your sound card you’ll still see symbols that are actually simplified drawings of old fashioned light bulbs and other simple stuff. It’s no coincidence that the first transistors were tubes.

    If you turn on the light you are actually programming a very simple one bit computer. If you are clever with wires and switches and multiple light bulbs you can make calculations on a display, make a Tic Tac Toe game, communicate, start an Internet and start a multi-billion company selling technology that is basically over one hundred years old.

  2. Vish A K:

    Telephone is a fundamental invention in #6. Wireless
    communication of all sorts, especially radio,
    established basis for mobile phone. Hence, mobile
    phone itself is an innovation & NOT an invention!
    Hence, iPhone is a SMART INNOVATION and NOT

    Looks like the survey questionaire was
    ill-framed/formed without clearly defining
    demarkations between ivention, innovation &

    Was it meant to re-write history and distort facts
    with some shortsighted questionaire? Lets face it,
    without telecom industry, iPhone wouldn’t have
    existed! When did adding features become invention/s?

  3. Guy:

    Umm, you totally forgot ELECTRICITY, without which we would not have most of the things on your list.

    You have iPhone above the flushing toilet. Pretty stupid. Which is more important to daily life?

    You have the iPhone preceding the mobile phone.

    You have the internet preceding the computer.

    Crucial things you left off:

    Written language
    Irrigation and Agriculture
    The Plough
    The forge
    The pulley
    The saw
    The screw
    The spear
    The bow and arrow
    The cutting blade
    The fish hook
    Gun powder
    The battery
    The sewing machine
    Plumbing (which accounts for toilets and running water)

    The list goes on…

    It might have helped to do five minutes of research before writing this.


  4. Marcus:

    It’s very strange that the printing press isn’t on here. It was responsible for distributing literature (e.g. the bible and the entire canon of historical classics) around the world. And the English language would not have gone global without it. The whole of the media industry rests on its shoulders. In fact, I’d probably place it at number 1!

  5. wef:

    electricity isnt an invention. it was always there, someone just decided to play around with it.

  6. alexi:

    they should have some inventions from back in the day instead of now this is so not wat i was looking for

  7. 123:

    further proof of how stupid nation British are:)i suprise then Fish&Chips is not on this list;)

  8. blarg:


  9. blarg:

    meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee cool yea ok bye

  10. chatmansam:

    if when we get to place when there are no more new ideas to ohhh or awww at then we can have a more perfect and subtile life in simplistic forms of life.

  11. dennis:


  12. adam:

    fucking idiots putting iphone for number 8 i hope you fucking die

  13. Valannin:

    Apparently all this survey does is show that 4,000 Brits are daft.

  14. Kaitlyn:

    You should have included Insulin!

  15. Dagmar Anreozzi:

    Amen, Pastor Steve! Thank you for giving the truth that is found in the Word of God. We don’t need to get confused or deceived, if we would just know the word of God. God’s word is truth and Jesus said the truth will set us free!

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  19. Volta Rocks:

    Battery powers the Iphone you idi*ts

  20. Samir aboulmagd:

    Competitive sports

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    more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is important and everything.
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  22. JOHN:

    thats alot of inventions I’ve ever saw.

  23. john:

    that is just retorted

  24. JOHN:


  25. humera:

    This is the worst thing I have ever heard you b****.

  26. Chris:

    The Ipod, The game of football, mascara, cheese grater, seriously the cheese grater. Wtf? Yet absent on this list are the printing press, gunpowder, the plough, the toilet, electricity, Nuclear weapons, pottery, steel, petroleum, the bow and arrow, I could go on. This is why I hate people, I’m sure the list would be just as stupid here in America, if not worse. In fact there are some places over here were Truck Nutz would be somewhere near the top of that list.

  27. Ellis Mirabella:

    How’s things, beautiful page however there is a problem whereby on occassion I get sent back to the root page whenever I look at other posts in your web page.

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