Inventions

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The first compasses were invented by the Chinese around the 4th century BC. The earliest compasses, however, were not used exclusively for navigation. They were used primarily as figurative symbols to help people find order and harmony in their surrounding environments and lives.

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  • When was hair dye invented?

    Q: When was hair dye invented?

    A: Hair dye dates back to the Egyptians in 3400 B.C., when henna was used to cover up gray hair. A Roman doctor named Galen came up with a recipe for black hair dye in 100 A.D., which was tested and proved to be effective in 2006.
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  • Who invented the refrigerator?

    Q: Who invented the refrigerator?

    A: The first artificial refrigerator was invented by renowned Scottish physician William Cullen in 1755. After the cumbersome device produced a small amount of ice through delicate, manual labor, refrigeration technology was deemed impractical and was not further advanced for decades.
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  • When was the Polaroid camera invented?

    Q: When was the Polaroid camera invented?

    A: The polaroid camera was first invented by Edwin H. Land in 1943. He got the idea when his young daughter wanted to know why she couldn't instantly see the picture he had just taken of her.
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  • How do a wheel and axle work?

    Q: How do a wheel and axle work?

    A: The combination of a wheel and axle is a simple machine that consists of a large wheel attached to a smaller wheel called an axle that turns on the same axis. When the large wheel is turned, the axle also turns.
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  • Who discovered popcorn?

    Q: Who discovered popcorn?

    A: While the exact discoverer of popcorn isn't known, Michigan State University says that this snack likely originated in the Americas, with Mexico being the likely site of its first growth. The university also says that China and India used popcorn prior to Columbus' voyage to the New World in 1492.
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  • Who invented the binoculars?

    Q: Who invented the binoculars?

    A: J.P. Lemiere invented the first "binocular telescope" in 1825. A binocular is an instrument that provides a magnified view of far-away objects and consists of two similar telescopes, one for each eye, mounted in a single frame.
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  • Who invented electricity?

    Q: Who invented electricity?

    A: Electricity was not invented because it exists as a natural form of energy. However, many scientists and inventors have contributed to its modern use.
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  • When did Nikola Tesla discover free energy?

    Q: When did Nikola Tesla discover free energy?

    A: Nikola Tesla designed his "Power Tower" in the early 20th century as a way to create and provide free energy for the entire planet. Although his idea never came to fruition, he began construction of the tower in 1901.
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  • Who made the first robot?

    Q: Who made the first robot?

    A: While the concept of the robot is of ancient origin, the first humanoid robot was likely built by the Muslim inventor Al-Jazari around 1200 AD. His robot was an automated serving girl that, every seven minutes, would come out of a door and serve a cup of water.
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  • Why did Levi Strauss invent blue jeans?

    Q: Why did Levi Strauss invent blue jeans?

    A: Levi Strauss invented blue jeans in response to the need for durable pants for miners participating in the California gold rush of the 1800s. The original pants were made of tent canvas rather than denim.
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  • What was said before "Hello" became the telephone greeting?

    Q: What was said before "Hello" became the telephone greeting?

    A: Thomas Edison was an early proponent of "hello" being used to answer telephones, but the man who invented the phone, Alexander Graham Bell, preferred the use of "ahoy" as a receptive greeting. Though Bell favored "ahoy," "hello" was the first widely used greeting for answering a telephone, meaning that technically, nothing was said before "hello" became the telephone greeting.
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  • Who was the first person to invent medicine?

    Q: Who was the first person to invent medicine?

    A: No single person invented medicine. The science of art and healing developed over centuries, across many cultures, and it derived from many different influences. Prehistoric medical records discovered in ancient Egypt, Babylon, China, Greece and Rome share similarities, such as the use of herbs.
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  • When was the compass invented?

    Q: When was the compass invented?

    A: Evidence suggests that the magnetic compass was invented in China between 221 and 206 B.C. The earliest compasses were not used for navigation, but for fortune-telling. Chinese compasses became navigational orienteering devices between 1040 and 1044 A.D. and were used as maritime navigational devices by 1117 A.D.
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  • When was the rocking horse invented?

    Q: When was the rocking horse invented?

    A: While the actual date of its invention is unknown, the rocking horse is known to have been present at around 4000 B.C. in ancient Greece and Persia. Rocking horses with half-moon bases are thought to have originated from cradles. The oldest known rocking horse still in existence as of 2014 is from around 1610 and is thought to have belonged to King Charles I.
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  • Who invented the rifle?

    Q: Who invented the rifle?

    A: Marin le Bourgeois developed the first flintlock gun, which is the predecessor to the rifle. Captain Patrick Ferguson of Pitfours, Scotland is known for inventing the first breech-loading rifle, which was used by the British Army in the American Revolutionary War in 1777.
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  • Where was the light bulb invented?

    Q: Where was the light bulb invented?

    A: The first light bulbs and its predecessors were invented in England. John Wilson Swan created the first light that can be considered a light bulb in 1850.
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  • Who invented the second?

    Q: Who invented the second?

    A: The international unit of the second was first described by the Greco-Egyptian mathematician Claudius Ptolemy in his work "Almagest" around 150 C.E. He defined the second, or second-minute, as one-sixtieth of a minute.
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  • Who invented solar panels?

    Q: Who invented solar panels?

    A: Alexandre Edmond Becquerel is considered the father of solar panels, having discovered how electricity is generated from sunlight in 1839. His research paved the way for the construction of solar energy plants that heated water to create steam to power machinery during the Industrial Revolution.
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  • When was electricity invented?

    Q: When was electricity invented?

    A: According to USHistory.org, electricity was not really "invented" by anyone, as it is a force of nature that has presumably been around since the beginning of the universe. The first person to publish a study of electricity and magnetism was William Gilbert in the year 1600.
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  • Who invented the ballpoint pen?

    Q: Who invented the ballpoint pen?

    A: The ballpoint pen was invented by Laszlo Biro in the 1930s, who was a Jewish-Hungarian journalist. During his time editing newspapers, he became very frustrated with the amount of smudging that the fountain pen caused. This made Biro determined to design a more practical pen.
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  • When was the first map invented?

    Q: When was the first map invented?

    A: Maps developed simultaneously in several parts of the world, so it is not clear who invented them. Though other examples of early maps exist, a 14,000-year-old carved stone tablet found in northern Spain in 1993 is the oldest depiction of geographic and other features.
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