10 British inventions that changed the world

The world has a lot to thank Great Britain for. We brought you warm beer, stiff upper lips and colonialism for a start! For such a tiny island, Britain and British inventions have had an amazingly big impact on the world. So, in honour of all things British, here ten British inventions that changed the world.

1. Television
The first man to transmit a moving image was the British inventor, John Logie Baird. Whether or not he invented the modern TV is disputed, but he was certainly the first to pioneer the concept. His original ‘television’ was a semi-mechanical mechanism that used a spinning disk with holes in to capture a moving image.

2. The telephone
It was the British inventor, Graham Alexander bell who is credited with the invention the telephone; another electronic device we can’t live without today. Actually, there were other people who claimed to be the first with the telephone, but Bell was the first to file a patent, so it goes on our list great British inventions!

3. The electronic computer
The first ever programmable electronic computer was called Colossus and it was invented by a man called Tommy Flowers, who was an engineer for the British Post Office. Colossus was built during the Second World War and was used to crack the German Lorenz cipher.

4. The World Wide Web
It was Tim Berners-Lee, a British computer scientist, who was responsible for the invention of the World Wide Web. He published an article in 1990 which detailed his proposal for a hypertext project, which was the forerunner of the web that we know today. He was also the first person to ever publish a webpage.

5. The smallpox vaccination
English Physician, Dr. Edward Jenner, discovered the powers of vaccinations when he noticed that a maid, who had contracted cowpox, never caught smallpox. He tested his theory by injecting a young boy with cowpox pus. The boy then became immune to smallpox and vaccinations had been invented.

6. Many of the world’s most popular sports
The standard forms of many of today’s sports were also invented in Britain. The rules of tennis, cricket, soccer and rugby all have their origins in Britain. No one can really say who first found that whacking a ball with a stick was fun, but it was the British who formalised all these sports.

7. The electric motor
Michael Faraday, known as the father of electricity, was an English physicist who was the first person to work who to create motion with electricity. His work also lead to the discovery of electrical generators and transformers too.

8. Photography
The first ever photograph was created in 1802 by Thomas Wedgwood. His early images of insects, created on leather with silver nitrate, were only shadow images, but they paved the way for modern photography and British inventor Wedgwood is now known   as the “first photographer”.

9. The jet engine
The jet engine was invented by British inventor and a member of the Royal Air force, Frank Whittle. His ideas were initially rejected by the British Air Ministry but later taken on board when World War Two broke out. 

10. The English Language
Probably the most influential thing to have come out of Britain, is the English language itself. English is the official language of more countries around the world the world than any other language and it is the favoured intermediary language at international events and summits.