From the magnificence of a Christmas tree to nanotechnology and beer, the world owes much of its comfort and progress to German inventions. What would the world be like without the contributions of Albert Einstein — the greatest mind of all times?
While his theory of relativity set the world buzzing in all directions, Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, the physicist discovered X-ray. Nuclear fission was achieved by splitting an atom by chemist Otto Hahn, his assistant Fritz Strassman, and the physicist Lise Meitner in 1938.
German inventions literally rule the medical field starting from the humble Aspirin tablet invented by Felix Hoffman in 1897. He figured out how to cut back the side effects of nausea and other ills of salicylic acid while retaining its pain killer powers and came up with the perfect headache pill. Today it’s credited with more beneficial powers that even helps protect against heart attacks and strokes.
Another wonder pill that came from Germany was the contraceptive pill that gave women a tangible freedom to do what they pleased when they pleased. It would seem only right to mention now that the first scientific pregnancy test was also a German invention created by Selmar Aschheim.
For more German inventions of the medical kind, go back in time to 1714 when Daniel Fahrenheit invented the mercury thermometer. Robert Koch, in 1870, peered through a microscope and discovered the little critters that caused infection. The mystery of bacteria was out in the open and his discovery of the tuberculosis bacillus in 1882 ensured his place in history.
Starting with the invention of the gramophone by Emil Berliner in 1887, Germany has re-enforced her reputation in this field with the invention of the tape recorder in 1928 by Fritz Pfleumer and, the crowning glory, the MP3 by Karl Heinz Brandenburg and Bernhard Grill of the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits in 1987.
The television that we so take for granted was invented by Manfred von Ardenne in 1930. The incredible chip card now seen in its common avatar as the credit card was invented by Jürgen Dethloff in 1969.
The credit for the invention of the automobile goes to Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler. What was deemed “too loud, too fast, too dangerous,” is now the king of the road. Mercedes Benz should also be credited with the invention of the thoughtful addition to automobile safety in the form of the air bag. This was fitted for the first time in their S-Class in 1981.
In 1894, Otto Lilienthal invented the glider drawing inspiration from the flight of birds. Another spectacular German invention came about in the form of a helicopter inspired by the rising of a maple seed turning on its own axis. The genius behind it belonged to Henrich Focke and the year was 1936. Even more amazing would have to be Hans von Ohain and his invention which is none other than the jet engine which changed the face of aviation.
German inventions stretch from high tech to the mundane such as the tooth paste invented by Ottomar Heinsius in 1907 and the Gummy Bear by Hans Riegel in 1922.
Other everyday stuff that we can’t seem to do without such as Adidas, Nivea, Levi Strauss, Heinz ketchup, Hellmann’s mayonnaise, Gutenberg and many more are all Germany’s gift to mankind. ;-)