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Types of inventions in the 1815-1880

  • dental floss

    dental floss
    Dental floss is either a bundle of thin nylon filaments or a plastic ribbon used to remove food and dental plaque from teeth. Levi Spear Parmly, a dentist from New Orleans, is credited with inventing the first form of dental floss. He had been recommending that people should clean their teeth with silk floss since 1815.
  • Period: to

    Inventions 1815-1880

  • milling machine

    milling machine
    A milling machine is a machine tool used for the shaping of metal and other solid materials. In contrast to drilling, where the drill is moved exclusively along its axis, the milling operation uses movement of the rotating cutter sideways as well as 'in and out'. Simeon North is generally credited for inventing and building the earliest, though primitive, milling machine to replace filing operations by about 1816 or even earlier.
  • profile lathe

    profile lathe
    A lathe is an adjustable horizontal metal rail and a tool rest, between the material and the operator which accommodates the positioning of shaping tools. With wood, it is common practice to press and slide sandpaper against the still-spinning object after shaping it to smooth the surface. As the first of its kind, Thomas Blanchard of Middlebury, Connecticut, invented the profile lathe in 1818, intended for the mass duplication of woodworking.
  • detachable collar

    detachable collar
    A detachable collar is a collar separate from the shirt, fastened to the shirt by studs. Hannah Lord Montague invented the detachable collar in Troy, New York in 1827, after she snapped the collar off one of her husband's shirts to wash it, and then sewed it back on.
  • Graham cracker

    Graham cracker
    A graham cracker is cookie or digestive biscuit made with graham flour, a combination of fine-ground white flour and coarse-ground wheat bran and germ. Graham crackers are often used for making s'mores and pie crusts. Graham bread was invented by a Presbyterian minister, Reverend Sylvester Graham in 1829, for his vegetarian diet. The Graham bread was high in fiber, made with non-sifted whole wheat flour and cut into little squares now known as graham crackers.
  • Platform scale

    Platform scale
    Also known as the Fairbanks Scale, the platform scale is a benched scale for measuring the counterbalance weight of loaded objects at ground level, thus eliminating the use of a hoist. After a series of trial and error in his designs, Thaddeus Fairbanks patented his invention in 1830.
  • Flanged T rail

    Flanged T rail
    The flanged T rail is an all-iron railway rail that has a flat bottom and requires no chair to hold the rails upright. The flanged "tee" rail was invented in May 1831 by an American named Robert L. Stevens of the Camden & Amboy Railroad and Transportation Company, which he conceived while crossing the Atlantic en route to buy an English locomotive. The first 500 T-rails were installed in Philadelphia. They would go on to be employed by railroads across the United States and are still seen today.
  • Sewing machine

    Most modern sewing machines use the lockstitch technique of sewing invented by Walter Hunt, which consists of two threads, an upper and a lower. The upper thread runs from a spool kept on a spindle on top of or next to the machine, through a tension mechanism, a take-up arm, and finally through the hole in the needle. The lower thread is wound onto a bobbin, which is inserted into a case in the lower section of the machine.
  • Combine harvester

    The combine harvester, or combine, or thresher, is a machine that combines the tasks of harvesting, threshing, and cleaning grain crops. The objective is to complete these three processes, which used to be distinct, in one pass of the machine over a particular part of the field. The waste straw left behind on the field is the remaining dried stems and leaves of the crop with limited nutrients which is either chopped or spread on the field, or baled for livestock feed.
  • Solar compass

    A solar compass is a railroad compass with a solar attachment that allows surveyors to determine the north direction by reference to the sun rather than by reference to the magnetic needle. It consists of three arcs: one for setting the latitude of the land to be surveyed; one for setting the declination of the sun; and one for setting the hour of the day. In 1835, the solar compass was invented by William Austin Burt, a U.S.
  • Morse code

    Morse code is a type of character encoding that transmits telegraphic information using rhythm. Morse code uses a standardized sequence of short and long elements to represent the letters, numerals, punctuation, and special characters of a given message.
  • Self-polishing cast steel plow

    The plow is a tool used in farming for initial cultivation of soil in preparation for sowing seed or planting. It has been a basic instrument for most of recorded history, and represents one of the major advances in agriculture. In modern use, a plowed field is typically left to dry out, and is harrowed before planting. An American agricultural pioneer named John Deere modernized the plow by shaping steel from an old sawmill blade and joining it to a wrought iron moldboard.
  • Corn sheller

    A corn sheller or maize sheller, is a machine used to shell or shuck ears of sweet corn of their silk. By feeding ears of sweet corn into a concentric cylindrical rest, they are parallel to the axis of the shelling cylinder in a hopper fixed on one side of the machine. As the cylindrical rest revolves, an ear falls into each space between staves, and is kept in contact with the shelling cylinder by the pressure of the segment concave.
  • Sleeping car

    The sleeping car or sleeper is a railroad passenger car that can accommodate passengers in beds, primarily to make nighttime travel more restful. The first such cars saw sporadic use on American railroads in the 1830s and could be configured for coach seating during the day. The pioneer of this new mode of traveling transcontinental was the Cumberland Valley Railroad which introduced service of the first sleeping car in the spring of 19.
  • Howe truss

    A Howe truss is a specialized design of a trussed bridge whereby the vertical trusses are in tension and the diagonal trusses are compressed. Howe trusses slope upwards and towards the center of the bridge. The Howe truss was patented in 1840 by William Howe.
  • Inhalational anaesthetic

    Crawford Long, of Jefferson, Georgia, performed the first operation using his development of ether-based anesthesia, when he removed a tumor from the neck of Mr. James Venable. Long did not reveal the practicality of using ether anesthesia until 1849.
  • Ice cream maker (hand-cranked)

    An ice cream maker is a machine used to make small quantities of ice cream at home. The machine may stir the mixture by hand-cranking or with an electric motor, and may chill the ice cream by using a freezing mixture, by pre-cooling the machine in a freezer, or by the machine itself refrigerating the mixture.
  • Multiple-effect evaporator

    A multiple-effect evaporator, as defined in chemical engineering, is an apparatus for efficiently using the heat from steam to evaporate water. In 1843, Norbert Rillieux invented and patented the multiple-effect evaporator where its first installation and use was in a Louisiana sugar factory.
  • Pratt truss

    A Pratt truss is a specialized design of a trussed bridge whereby the vertical trusses are compressed and the diagonal trusses are in tension. Sloping downwards and towards the center of the bridge, Pratt trusses therefore create Y and K-shaped patterns. As the exact opposite of the Howe truss design, the Pratt truss was co-invented and co-patented in 1844 by Thomas and Caleb Pratt.
  • Pressure-sensitive tape

    Pressure-sensitive tape, PSA tape, adhesive tape, self-stick tape, or sticky tape consists of a pressure-sensitive adhesive coated onto a backing material such as paper, plastic film, cloth, or metal foil. The first pressure-sensitive tape took the form of surgical tape, invented by Dr. Horace Day in 1845.
  • Gas mask

    A gas mask is a mask worn over the face to protect the wearer from inhaling "airborne pollutants" and toxic gasses. The mask forms a sealed cover over the nose and mouth, but may also cover the eyes and other vulnerable soft tissues of the face. The gas mask was invented in 1847 by Lewis Haslett, a device that contained elements that allowed breathing through a nose and mouthpiece, inhalation of air through a bulb-shaped filter, and a vent to exhale air back into the atmosphere.
  • Pin tumbler lock

    The pin tumbler lock is a lock mechanism that uses pins of varying lengths to prevent the lock from opening without the correct key. Pin tumblers are most commonly employed in cylinder locks, but may also be found in tubular or radial locks. The earliest pin-tumble locks were made over 4,000 years ago by the Egyptians.
  • Jackhammer

    A jackhammer, also known as a pneumatic hammer, is a portable percussive drill powered by compressed air. It is used to drill rock and break up concrete pavement, among other applications. It jabs with its bit not rotating it. A jackhammer operates by driving an internal hammer up and down. The hammer is first driven down to strike the back of the bit and then back up to return the hammer to the original position to repeat the cycle. The bit usually recovers from the stroke by means of a spring.
  • Dishwasher

    The dishwasher cleans dishes, glassware, and eating utensils. The first dishwasher was a wooden one whereby a person would turn a handle to splash water on the dishware. It was invented in 1850 by Joel Houghton of Ogden, New York. The device was a failure.[110] Houghton received U.S. patent #7,365 on May 14, 1850.
  • Rotary hook

    A rotary hook is a bobbin driver design used in lockstitch sewing machines of the 19th and 20th century and beyond. It triumphed over competing designs because it could run at higher speeds with less vibration. Rotary hook machines hold their bobbin stationary and continuously rotate the thread hook around it. The rotary hook was co-invented by American cabinetmaker Allen B. Wilson and Nathaniel Wheeler in 1851. U.S. Patent # 8,296 was issued to Wilson on August 12, 1851.
  • Elevator brake

    An elevator or lift is a vertical transport vehicle that efficiently moves people or goods between floors of a building. In 1852, Elisha Graves Otis invented the first safety brake for elevators which prevents an elevator from spiralling into a free fall between numerous floors inside a building.
  • Burglar alarm

    A burglar alarm contains sensors which are connected to a control unit via a low-voltage hardwire or narrowband RF signal which is used to interact with a response device. The alarm was patented (U.S. patent #9,802) on June 21, 1853, by the Reverend Augustus Russell Pope of Somerville, Massachusetts. As the first person to commercialize Pope's invention, Edwin Holmes acquired Pope's patent rights in 1857 for US$1,500.
  • Breast pump

    A breast pump is a mechanical device that extracts milk from the breasts of a lactating woman. Breast pumps may be manual devices powered by hand or foot movements or electrical devices powered by mains electricity or batteries. The first breast pump was patented by O.H. Needham on June 20, 1854.
  • Calliope

    Also known as a steam organ or steam piano, a calliope is a musical instrument that produces sound by sending a gas, originally steam or more recently compressed air, through large whistles, originally locomotive whistles. It was often played on riverboats and in circuses, where it was sometimes mounted on a carved, painted and gilded horse-drawn wagon in a circus parade.
  • Egg beater

    An egg beater is a hand-cranked mixing device for whipping, beating, and folding food ingredients. It typically consists of a handle mounted over a piston, which drives one or two beaters. The beaters are immersed in the food to be mixed. In 1856, American tinner Ralph Collier of Baltimore, Maryland, invented and patented the first rotary egg beater with rotating parts. Collier was issued U.S. patent #16,267 on December 23, 1856.
  • Toilet paper (mass-produced and rolled)

    Toilet paper is a soft paper product (tissue paper) used to maintain personal hygiene after human defecation or urination. However, it can also be used for other purposes such as absorbing spillages or craft projects. Toilet paper in different forms has been used for centuries, namely in China. The ancient Greeks used clay and stone; the Romans, sponges and salt water.
  • Pepper shaker

    Salt and pepper shakers are typically placed on tabletops in restaurants and in home kitchens. Used as condiment holders in Western culture, salt and pepper shakers are designed to store and dispense edible salt and ground peppercorns. The first pepper shaker with screw-on cap was invented by John Landis Mason who received a patent on November 30, 1858.
  • Electric stove

    An electric stove is a large kitchen appliance that converts electricity into heat in order to cook and bake food. In addition to heated coils atop a stovetop range, glass-ceramic cooktops and induction stoves using electromagnetic induction have proven to be popular in commercial kitchens as well as for domestic use in homes.
  • Repeating rifle (lever action)

    A repeating rifle is a single barreled rifle containing multiple rounds of ammunition. Benjamin Tyler Henry, chief designer for Oliver Fisher Winchester's arms company, adapted a breech-loading rifle built by Walter Hunt and invented the first practical lever action repeating rifle in 1860. First known as the Henry rifle, it became famously known as the Winchester by Union soldiers in the American Civil War.
  • Jelly bean

    Jelly beans are a small bean-shaped type of confectionery with a hard candy shell and a gummy interior which come in a wide variety of flavors. The confection is primarily made of sugar.
  • Breakfast cereal

    Breakfast cereal is a packaged food product intended to be consumed as part of a breakfast. The first breakfast cereal, Granula was invented in the United States in 1863 by James Caleb Jackson, operator of the Jackson Sanitorium in Dansville, New York. The cereal never became popular since it was inconvenient, as the heavy bran nuggets needed soaking overnight before they were tender enough to eat.
  • Spar torpedo

    The spar torpedo consists of a bomb placed at the end of a long pole, or spar, and attached to a boat. The weapon is used by running the end of the spar into the enemy ship. Spar torpedoes were often equipped with a barbed spear at the end, so it would stick to wooden hulls. A fuse could then be used to detonate it.
  • Cowboy hat

    The cowboy hat is a high-crowned, wide-brimmed hat best known as the defining piece of attire for the North American cowboy. Today it is worn by many people, and is particularly associated with ranch workers in the western and southern United States, western Canada and northern Mexico, with country-western singers, and for participants in the North American rodeo circuit. It is recognized around the world as part of Old West cowboy lore.
  • Urinal (restroom version)

    Not to be confused with the urinal in bottle form that is used in healthcare, a urinal is a specialized toilet for urinating only, generally by men and boys. It is wall-mounted, with drainage and automatic or manual flushing. The urinal was patented by Andrew Rankin on March 27, 1866.
  • Motorcycle (steam-powered)

    The motorcycle is a single-track, two-wheeled motor vehicle powered by an engine. Although the first gasoline/petrol motorcycle powered by an internal combustion engine was built in 1885 by a German named Gottlieb Daimler, his may not have been the first motorcycle.
  • Paper bag

    A bag is a non-rigid or semi-rigid container usually made of paper which is used to hold items or packages. In 1868, Margaret E. Knight while living in Springfield, Massachusetts invented a machine that folded and glued paper to form the brown paper bags familiar to what shoppers know and use today.
  • American football

    American football, known in the United States simply as football, is a spectator sport known for combining strategy with competitive physical play. The objective of the game is to score points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. The ball can be advanced by carrying it (a running play) or by throwing it to a teammate (a passing play).
  • Bee smoker

    A bee smoker, usually called simply a smoker, is a device used in beekeeping to calm honey bees. It is designed to generate smoke from the smouldering of various fuels, hence the name. The first bee smoker, which incorporated a bellows with a fire pot, was invented in 1870 by the renowned American beekeeper, Moses Quinby.
  • Rowing machine

    A rowing machine or indoor rower is a machine used to simulate the action of watercraft rowing for the purpose of exercise or training for rowing. Indoor rowing has become established as a sport in its own right. The term also refers to a participant in this sport. Rowing machines have been in use for bout 140 years. The earliest patent for such a machine was filed in the United States by William B. Curtis. Curtis was issued U.S. patent #116,417 on June 27, 1871.
  • Railway air brake

    A railway air brake is a conveyance braking system which applies the means of compressed air which modern locomotives use to this day. George Westinghouse, a pioneer of the electrical industry, invented the railroad air brake in 1872.
  • Earmuffs

    Earmuffs cover a person's ears for thermal protection. Earmuffs consist of a thermoplastic or metal head-band, that fits over the top of the head, and a pad at each end, to cover the external ears. Earmuffs were invented by Chester Greenwood in 1873.
  • Fire sprinkler (automated)

    A fire sprinkler is the part of a fire sprinkler system that discharges water when the effects of a fire have been detected, such as when a pre-determined temperature has been reached. Henry S. Parmelee of New Haven, Connecticut invented and installed the first closed-head or automated fire sprinkler in 1874.
  • Biscuit cutter

    A biscuit cutter a tool to cut out a biscuit from bread dough in a particular shape before they are put into an oven to bake. On May 11, 1875, Alexander P. Ashbourne filed the first patent for the biscuit cutter that consisted of a board to roll the biscuits out on and hinged to a metal plate with various biscuit cutter shapes mounted to it. It was later issued on November 30, 1875.
  • Synthesizer

    A synthesizer is an electronic instrument capable of producing sounds by generating electrical signals of different frequencies. These electrical signals are played through a loudspeaker or set of headphones.
  • Phonograph

    The phonograph, record player or gramophone is an instrument for recording, reproducing and playing back sounds. The earliest phonographs used cylinders containing an audio recording engraved on the outside surface which could be reproduced when the cylinder was played. Later, the gramophone record with modulated spiral grooves set atop a rotating turntable. The phonograph was invented in 1877 by Thomas Alva Edison at his laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey.
  • Carbon microphone

    The carbon microphone is a sound-to-electrical signal transducer consisting of two metal plates separated by granules of carbon. When sound waves strike this plate, the pressure on the granules changes, which in turn changes the electrical resistance between the plates. A direct current is passed from one plate to the other, and the changing resistance results in a changing current, which can be passed through a telephone system.
  • Photographic plate

    Photographic plates preceded photographic film as a means of photography. A light-sensitive emulsion of silver salts was applied to a glass plate. This form of photographic material largely faded from the consumer market in the early years of the 20th century, as more convenient and less fragile films were introduced. The wet collodion process was replaced by dry plates at the start of the 1870s.
  • Oil burner

    An oil burner is a heating device which burns fuel oil. The oil is directed under pressure through a nozzle to produce a fine spray, which is usually ignited by an electric spark with the air being forced through by an electric fan. In 1880, Amanda Jones invented the oil burner in the oil fields of northern Pennsylvania where Jones completed her trial and error efforts of heating furnaces.