Who invented Pizza?

Who invented Pizza?

The other day, I ate a frozen pizza. It was edible. I don’t know where to buy a good pizza in my city, but I know there must be one place, somewhere, because pizza is everywhere! Even Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles like them, so it’s clearly a universal meal. But…

Who created the pizza?

To answer a simple question like this, we’ll have to determine what is a pizza. For some, it’s flatbreads with toppings. In that case, we have to go back far away in time. But how far?

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Who invented Comic Books?

Who invented Comic Books?

Being from France, comic books have always present in my life—it’s called “bande dessinée” here (it means drawn strips). It’s part of our culture. American comic books were and still are (but less) however not really well represented. It didn’t stop me from becoming an avid reader and collector (I also wrote for a comic book website).

I mostly read Marvel Comics at first, the easiest to find, but I gradually broadened my horizons. I started to read about the history of American Comics, becoming curious about its origins. You know me, I asked myself…

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Who Invented Concrete?

Who Invented Concrete?

As I was watching some YouTube videos about the architect Frank Lloyd Wright, his experiments with concrete were explored, and I asked myself the question: Who Invented Concrete? Obviously. After writing a few articles for this blog, I noticed that the answer is not just one person. It’s not that easy. So, I invite you to join me in the past to discover the history of concrete.

What is concrete?

First, for those of us who are not in the know, what exactly is concrete? The Cambridge Dictionary described it as a very hard-building material made by mixing together cement, sand, small stones, and water. In short, it’s a really resistant composite material we are using to build houses and other structures.

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Who Invented the Internet?

Who Invented the Internet?

Of all the technology I’m using constantly, the Internet has become the more useful to me. I’m using it to make a living (but not with cryptocurrency yet). When I discovered its existence in the ’90s, I was quite young and I dreamed of all the possibilities the computer magazines were presenting.

After I got my first 14k modem, I realized that it was quite slow, but it was another world, so who cared? I soon got a 28k modem after all! At that time, I was more interested in using it than in its origin. I never asked:

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Who invented the canned laughter for television?

Who invented the canned laughter for television?

During its first years, American Television was live from New York—or at least from a studio located on the East Coast. The first famous golden age was about live drama anthologies, but they disappeared quickly when Hollywood took over and everything was put on film.

There were exceptions, of course, I Love Lucy and The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, for example, comedies with laughs to make you laugh. The shows were filmed before a Live Studio audience or filmed and projected to a laughing audience that was then recorded.

“Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience”

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Who invented teleportation?

Who invented teleportation?

Did you know the phrase “Beam me up, Scotty” was never said in a Star Trek Episode? The first time it was used was in the audio adaptation of the novel, “Star Trek: The Ashes of Eden” by William “Captain Kirk” Shatner. Nevertheless, when you say it, everybody knows you’re talking about being teleported.

Teleportation is a popular science-fiction concept. Star Trek used it, but it was not invented for the most famous sci-fi TV show of all time. In the real world, as I write this article, teleportation is still a dream, per se. There are innovations, not the kind we think of in the domain of quantum teleportation, but I simply don’t understand them. Oh, but I forgot…

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Who invented the Cyberpunk genre?

Who invented the Cyberpunk genre?

With new sciences come new kinds of science-fiction stories. Because with new possibilities come new ideas about the present and the future, and new types of stories. In the second half of the 20th century, the idea of High Tech led to the emergence of cyberpunk literature.

The Origin of the Word Cyberpunk

Cyberpunk is a science-fiction subgenre. The name was coined by the American writer Bruce Bethke who used it as the title for a short story he wrote in 1980 (published in November 1983 in Amazing Stories magazine). In it, the character uses his talent with computers to cause trouble. He was a “hacker,” even if the term was not used in the story.

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Who invented the wheel?

Who invented the wheel?

We all know the famous idiomatic metaphor “Reinventing the wheel,” and none of us did reinvent the wheel. But who did invent it? The wheel is viewed as the archetype of human ingenuity, and we cannot imagine a world without it. But there was a time when the wheel didn’t exist and it needed to be invented. So, we are here to answer this simple question:

Who created the wheel?

The short answer is: that nobody knows the name of the person who got the idea to create “a circular object that revolves on an axle and is fixed below a vehicle or other object to enable it to move easily over the ground.” Why? Because it was a long, long time ago.

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Who invented electricity? or, more precisely, who discovered electricity?

Who invented electricity? or, more precisely, who discovered electricity?

It seems that more people ask “who invented electricity?” than “who discovered electricity?” There’s a difference between inventing and discovering, but there’s also a difference between discovering the existence of electricity and the invention of technic to produce it.

What is electricity?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines electricity this way:

  1. a fundamental form of energy observable in positive and negative forms that occurs naturally (as in lightning) or is produced (as in a generator) and that is expressed in terms of the movement and interaction of electrons.
  2. a science that deals with the phenomena and laws of electricity

Who discovered electricity?

The best way is to begin with the natural occurrence of electricity. In that domain, the Greeks seem to take the first place (not Benjamin Franklin, he’ll come way later in history). In fact, the word “electricity” comes from the Greek elektron which means “amber,” because they rubbed amber with fur and observed the attraction of feathers and other objects. That was the discovery of static electricity—this phenomenon was not perceived as connected to the electric current until the 19th century.

It was in about 600 BC. With time, researchers and archeologists discovered what they believe may have been ancient batteries meant to produce light at ancient Roman sites, but also in archeological digs leading to Persians artefacts.

Who invented electricity?

The famous Ben Franklin’s kite experiment—with a kite, a key, and a storm—occurred in 1752. It proved that lightning and electric sparks were connected. But it didn’t lead to the use of the word “electricity.’ That came even before. English physician William Gilbert used the Latin word ‘electricus’ in the year 1600 to describe the product of that first Greek experiment. And a few years later, another English scientist, Thomas Browne, used the word ‘electricity’ in a paper in which he talked about his research based on William Gilbert’s work. That said, Franklin’s work inspired a lot of Europeans.

Benjamin Franklin Drawing Electricity from the Sky (1816)

English scientists were really dedicated to exploring the possibilities of electricity. In the early 1700s, Francis Hauksbee invented the first electrostatic generator based on German scientist Otto von Guericke’s invention—it was a primitive form of the frictional electrical machine. But it’s another discussion, one about lamps.

Francis Hauksbee was a member of The Royal Society—formally The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge—as was William Nicholson who, with surgeon Anthony Carlisle, discovered electrolysis in May 1800, the decomposition of water into hydrogen and oxygen by voltaic current. This led Italian physicist and chemist Alessandro Volta to the discovery of the voltaic pile, a battery. That’s why batteries are rated in volts.

Englishman Michael Faraday is also famous for the construction of a voltaic pile, one with seven British halfpenny coins stacked together with seven disks of sheet zinc, and six pieces of paper moistened with salt water—as it was learned in 1812. A few years later, in 1821, after the Danish physicist and chemist Hans Christian Ørsted discovered the phenomenon of electromagnetism, Faraday built devices to produce what he called ‘electromagnetic rotation’—one of these is known as the homopolar motor, and helped build the foundation of modern electromagnetic technology. These discoveries can’t all be credited to Faraday though. He based his work on the failed experiments of William Hyde Wollaston and Humphry Davy, fellow members of the Royal Society.

Michael Faraday English Scientist is a drawing by Mary Evans

But Faraday didn’t stop there. He explored the electromagnetic properties of materials, worked with light and magnets, and more. In 1831, he discovered electromagnetic induction—the production of an electromotive force across an electrical conductor in a changing magnetic field. What he established was then modeled mathematically by James Clerk Maxwell as Faraday’s law. This discovery leads Faraday to construct the electric dynamo, the ancestor of modern power generators and the electric motor. Finally, Faraday established that only a single ‘electricity’ exists—at that time, it was thought that there was more than one.

Faraday was not the only one influenced by Hans Christian Ørsted’s discovery. Another one was André-Marie Ampère, a French physicist and mathematician who was one of the founders of the science of classical electromagnetism, which he referred to as ‘electrodynamics.’ For him, it really started when his friend François Arago showed the members of the French Academy of Sciences the discovery made by Ørsted. After that, Ampère began developing a mathematical and physical theory to understand the relationship between electricity and magnetism. He showed that two parallel wires carrying electric currents attract or repel each other, depending on whether the currents flow in the same or opposite directions, respectively. This is what laid the foundation of electrodynamics and, of course, Ampère’s law, which states that the mutual action of two lengths of current-carrying wire is proportional to their lengths and the intensities of their currents. The base unit of electric current in the International System of Units (SI) was subsequently named after him—the ‘ampere’ or ‘amp.’

In 1826, German physicist Georg Ohm defined the relationship between power, voltage, current, and resistance in what is now known as ‘Ohm’s Law.’ That’s why the ohm became the basic unit for resistance.

Really, the late 19th century saw the greatest progress in electrical engineering. As you may have noticed, I avoided talking about lights, and more precisely the light bulb, because it will be the subject of another article. For now, let’s go back to electricity.

James Clerk Maxwell was a Scottish scientist who specialized in the field of mathematical physics. In 1865, he published ‘A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field,’ a paper on electromagnetism in which he derived an electromagnetic wave equation with a velocity for light in close agreement with measurements made by experiment, and deduced that light is an electromagnetic wave. Basically, he demonstrated that electric and magnetic fields travel through space as waves move at the speed of light. His work made him a founder of the modern field of electrical engineering.

It certainly influenced German physicist Heinrich Hertz who, in 1886, was the first to conclusively prove the existence of the electromagnetic waves predicted by Maxwell’s equations of electromagnetism. Hertz’s proof of the existence of airborne electromagnetic waves led to an explosion of experimentation with this new form of electromagnetic radiation, which was called ‘Hertzian waves.’ That was until the 1910s when the term ‘radio waves’ became current.

Other discoveries were made after that. A lot. We will explore those subjects in subsequent articles.

The Commercial Electricity

Discoveries, theories, and experiments had to lead somewhere. We needed practical uses of electricity. Michael Faraday’s power generator set the stage for an electrical revolution—this is where the history of the light bulb became important. Having light bulbs was useless unless you had a practical source of energy to power them. Thomas Edison wanted to provide that. In order to make electricity practical and inexpensive. In 1882, he built the first electric power plant that was able to produce electricity, the Pearl Street generating station’s electrical power distribution system, which provided 110 volts of direct current (DC) to 59 customers in lower Manhattan.

Nikola Tesla

By working in Paris with the Continental Edison Company, Serbian-American inventor Nikola Tesla gained a lot of practical experience in electrical engineering. Soon, he started to design and build updated versions of generating dynamos and motors. In 1884, he moved to the United States with the help of his manager, Charles Batchelor. He ended up working on street lighting but quit after six months with the company. That didn’t stop his work and his new systems didn’t go unnoticed. Nevertheless, investors were not interested in his ideas for new types of alternating current (AC) motors and electrical transmission equipment.

Thomas Edison’s direct current had limitations that were overcome by the AC. In fact, in Europe, the AC power system was developed and adopted rapidly after 1886. In the US, Edison tried to discredit alternating currents as too dangerous in a public campaign called the ‘war of the currents.’ But progress can’t be stopped and, in 1888, alternating current systems gained further viability with the introduction of a functional AC motor—Nikola Tesla’s design for an induction motor was one of them. With Thomas Edison leaving the electric power business, direct current lost the war, and, by October 1890, Edison Machine Works began developing AC-based equipment. Mergers, patents, and other financial deals pushed AC power to the front. Well into the 20th century, some cities still used DC, but most adopted AC quickly.

A lot of people contributed to the ‘invention’ of electricity as we think of it today. Now, the difficulty is to produce more and more of it. That leads to new inventions!

You may also be interested in the invention of solar panels or the history of the LED.

Who invented Ice Cream?

Who invented Ice Cream?

Summer is here. The best time of the year to eat ice cream, don’t you think? Of course, nowadays, we eat ice cream whenever we want. It’s easy to always have some at home, but it was not always the case. In fact, the first electrical refrigerator for home use was invented in 1913, but ice cream existed long before that—even if it was mostly flavored ice.

Who First Created Ice Cream?

The legend says that Marco Polo was introduced to ice cream during his time in the court of the Chinese emperor, Kublai Khan, and took the recipe back with him to Italy. It seems that ice cream has been made in China as long ago as 3000 BC.

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Who Thought of this Blog?

Who Thought of this Blog?

Welcome to “Who Thought of It?” a blog dedicated to the inventors, discoverers, creators, and other thinkers behind all those small and big things in our world.

Being curious by nature, I’m fascinated by the way people have ideas. Some things in our lives seem so obvious today, but someone had to invent them, to discover how they work, and what to do with them. Sometimes, there is a need and a solution, but most of the time, it’s the invention that leads to change in our way of life.

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