Short Origin Stories Of Some Great Inventions

Some Great Inventions

Necessity is said to be the mother of all inventions, this can be said to be true concerning a majority if not all the inventions that have been made all over the world. It has been documented that before the first condom was invented the Europeans used animal parts in the place of a condom. The Catholics on the other hand believed that the tampon would damage the hymen. The inspiration for the band aid is said to have come from a housewife that injured herself in the kitchen. After the brief introduction on the short origin stories of some great inventions here are short stories of some spectacular inventions.

Air Bag

Amongst the world’s grand inventions is certainly the air bag. The origins of the airbag can be traced back to the year 1952, when John Hetrick a retired industrial engineer that was able to avoid an accident with his Chrysler in the last minute. During the rest of the journey after the accident, John Hetrick wondered how he could soften the effects of a car accident. One year after his experience Hetrick registered a patent for an assortment of pillows, which were built in such a way that they would inflate in case of a sudden stop or slow down.

Air-BagAs is the case with many individuals who have registered patents, Hetrick was to make an unfortunate discovery that it was easier to register a patent than to actually build it. Several years later what Hetrick had started was now built in an accurate way and with the right speed of inflation.  The crucial improvement on Hetrick’s invention was done by Alan Breed, when he invented a cheap sensor a magnet that holds some metal ball which is freed through certain precise forces, makes an electric circuit and makes the pillows to inflate. Thus the great and spectacular airbag invention started by John Hetrick was successfully completed by Alan Breed.


Next on line on the list of the other great invention whose story is worth being narrated in this article is the ATM or the automated teller machine. History notes for the sake of generations that would come later, that the first teller machine was installed in the year 1939 in the city of New York. The machine was invented by a gentleman who was known as Luther George Simian.  In the great mind of Luther George Simian, he envisioned a machine out of a hole in the wall that would permit customers to withdraw money without the need to go inside the banking hall. In its initial stages the service was used by two groups of people namely the gamblers and the prostitutes, a fact that led to the complete disappearance of the service after just 6 months.

ATM Machines

The real breakthrough in as far as the ATM machines are concerned came in the year 1969, when Donald Wetzel developed on behalf of a company that was known as Docotel an automatic money machine. The machine was first installed in the Chemical bank in New York. To keep off the thieves the machine was covered with thick iron that took around 8 hours to make. In the span of 4 years there were 2000 ATM machines around the United States. The cost of building and installing one ATM machine was $30,000. Presently, there are more than 400,000 machines around the United States.

The Band-Aid

The Band-Aid

The Band-Aid was another great invention that can be traced back to a couple in New Jersey. Josephine Dickinson was a housewife who ultimately became an inspiration for her husband Earl, who was then in the process of looking for an effective way of protecting her from house accidents. He began his invention by taking a piece of gauze and putting it on the sticky side of surgery plaster and on everything he put some crinoline so that it could be rolled without sticking to itself. Afterwards on every occasion when his wife would get a cut she would make use of readymade band aid instead of using a thread to tie the gauze on herself at that time. By the time the band aid invention was slowly evolving Dickinson was working for Johnson and Johnson, a company that was already selling hygiene products.  He eventually did present his invention to the executives that almost right away recognized the significance of the invention.


Mintsmints perhaps could be said to be the unlikely candidates, in the long list of great inventions but somehow they make the list. Mints have got everything to do with oral health which dates back to the Victorian age. History records that the Egyptians used to put boiled honey and cinnamon on their tongues,  whereas the Romans chewed dill and finally in the Victorian age the men Preferred to chew licorice that were marketed as ‘’perfume for breathe.’’ Mints when compared to candy were most often considered as a treatment and remedy. Clarence Crane from Ohio who was a candy maker, is the man credited with the invention of the real mint in the year 1912.

Clarence Crane made a candy for the hot summer days; he then proceeded to make a hole in the center and called it a life saver because of its looks. The success story of the mint invention can never be complete without the mention of Edward Noble, a travelling book seller and his friend G Roy Allen. These two men purchased Crane’s business the original inventor of mint and went ahead to aggressively market the mint. It is said that during the prohibition in the United States both of these men managed to sell the mints to hide the alcohol smell out of people’s mouths.


Although  bullets should may be not be included in the list of great inventions, perhaps because of the many innocent people that have been destroyed by bullets in the wrong hands, they are still ranked amongst man’s greatest inventions. A little canon was the first hot weapon, where the gun powder and the bullets were kept separately and an outer source was needed in order to light it up like a flammable string of rope. For more than 200 years new mechanisms were developed to make the spark needed and the present day cannon were fashioned. Unlike the previous great inventions the bullets do not seem to have a particular person who invented them.

Digital Camera

The present day digital camera as an entrant in the roll of great inventions can trace back its origin to man who was known as Steve Sasson who was a new employee at Kodak. New as he was, Sasson was given the assignment by his boss of investigating a new censor that was known as CCD (Charged Coupled Device.) This happened in the year 1974. Sasson is quoted as saying that the project was the least important one at Kodak at the time. As the story goes, one year later and equipped with a prototype for “Filmless camera” the size of a small toaster, Sasson was able to successfully take a photo of Joy who worked across the hallway. The technology that gave birth to the invention of the digital camera is not credited to Sasson, although he was the one that found a way to decode and permanently store the data from CCD and use a program to convert this information into a recognizable photo that can be displayed on the Sony’s Trinitron television.


The last short story of the great inventions but certainly not the least is the key.  History has is it that during the medieval times and also in the period of the European reawakening the locks were used as form of artistic expression just like it was in sculpturing painting or drawing.  However it is important to note that in terms of security there was not much use of them, thus it was possible to break into locks using a skeleton key. The credit for the invention of the key is bestowed on no one in particular.

Image source:


Leave a Comment