Match the invention to its inventor
2. What do you think are the most outstanding inventions in human history? Why are they important?
3. Read the text and put the inventions in the chronological order:
- invention of writing;
- the use of fossil fuels as sources of energy, the improvement of metallurgical processes, the development of electricity and electronics, the invention of the internal-combustion engine, and the use of metal and cement in construction work;
- inventive use of stone and metal implements;
- invention of movable type;
- inventive use of metal implements.
Invention is creation of new devices, objects, ideas, or procedures useful in accomplishing human objectives.
In most countries, certain classes of inventions are legally recognized, and their use is temporarily restricted to the control of the inventor. In the United States, any new and useful art, machine, manufacture, or material, or any new and useful improvement of these, may be protected by patent; written material, music, paintings, sculpture, and photographs may be protected by copyright.
The earliest artifacts show evidence of human inventiveness. The names of the great archaeological ages—the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age—are derived from the inventive use of stone and metal implements. The period of recorded history began with the invention of writing, and writing as a means of mass communication became important with the invention of movable type in the 15th century.
The machine age, which began with the Industrial Revolution and continues to this day, developed from a group of inventions, of which the most important include the use of fossil fuels such as coal as sources of energy, the improvement of metallurgical processes (especially of steel and aluminum), the development of electricity and electronics, the invention of the internal-combustion engine, and the use of metal and cement in construction work.
Early inventors were usually isolated and unable to support themselves through their inventions. In some cases, although two individuals working independently achieved the same innovation simultaneously, only one was recognized for the discovery. For example, the American inventors Elisha Gray and Alexander Graham Bell applied for a patent on the telephone on the same day. Credit for the discovery of the calculus was fought for bitterly by the English scientist and mathematician Sir Isaac Newton and the German philosopher and mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz.
Today most modern inventions and discoveries take place in large research organizations supported by universities, government agencies, private industries, or privately endowed foundations. Because of this, ascribing any single invention to a specific person has become difficult. An example of collective effort in producing an important invention is the development of the electronic digital computer, a device essential to storing, retrieving, and manipulating vast amounts of information.