Victorian times ushered in a period of a vital era within modern history’s development. A timeline of roughly 1837-1901 is widely recognised as the period, as Victorian inventions coupled with progressions from the Industrial Revolution, signified a time of new ideologies, concepts, and inventions that would undoubtedly change the world forever. A large number of these concepts and ensuing inventions are those which are still currently used to this day.
Many famous Victorian inventors made their name during this prime period of innovation. Ranging from communication to transport, most areas of practical importance to society were revolutionised by the period’s insatiable desire to better understand the world around them and create ways to improve it. This included not only products, but also ways of accomplishing particular tasks required from mankind at the time.
Speed and efficiency were paramount in these notable efforts. As not only scientific principles continued to rapidly evolve, progressing engineering methodologies and practices were employed in doing so, played a significant leading role within the period’s development. With an uprise in communication capabilities amongst fellow man, the Victorian Era was followed by a pronounced spread of this knowledge and accompanied ideologies. This lead to a rapid revolution and evolution of innovations across the globe, as new concepts could be shared at speeds previously only dreamt of by society to this point.
Often regarded (perhaps from name) as an era within British history, today it is recognised as a time of global change. Certainly many of these inventors and innovations did indeed hail from Britain; however several notable inventors hailed from across Europe and the newly formed Americas. This in mind: the term “Victorian” is now often regarded as peoples from all over that hailed during the time period, itself.
So what did the Victorians invent? Here are 6 key inventions below:
A sound starting point may be with Englishman George Stephenson (1781-1848). The civil and mechanical engineer became noted as the “Father of Railways,” helping to create the first steam powered, inner-city railway and train system in London in 1825. From here forward, the way in which things were transported forever changed. The successful invention’s implementation gravely affected commerce – from the ways different goods were transported to the individual. The aftereffects were pronounced and helped usher in this new era of innovation in products that were soon to follow.
The first telephone was also created in the Victorian times by Scottish born scientist and inventor Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922) in March of 1876. Living in America at the particular time, his innovative efforts in the telephone undoubtedly altered the world forever moving forward. Along with its use, the rate at which people and critical information could be transmitted ultimately gave the society the ability to progress at exponential speeds previously not realisable.
The camera and photography transformed during this period via William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877). Talbot’s profession as a photographer helped him create light-sensitive photographic paper. Up to this point, photography and cameras were only used in large spaces by professionals with expensive, un-portable equipment. Talbot’s invention was noticed in 1939 and patented the following year.
That same year, an English school teacher named Rowland Hill (1795-1879) revolutionised the stamp and postal process, one that would soon be carried out by most postal administrations worldwide. He created the “Penny Post” – a method of prepaying a penny for stamping postage to be carried for transport. Hill later became a postal administrator, himself, due to his efforts.
Also during this period, British pottery manufacturer Thomas Twyford (1849-1921) provided the first public single-piece, flushing sanitation device. The loo had many evolution’s beforehand; however, Twyford’s use of porcelain via China was utilized versus previously used metal and wood.
Hubert Booth (1971-1955), an English engineer, created was it now recognised as the first powered vacuum cleaner. Initially, models were built on a horse carriage (with the hose inserted through a window). Booth was also a noted designer of suspension bridges and Ferris wheels abroad.
Nevertheless, the Victorian era admittedly achieved great heights given its contributions of creations and innovations. Countless well-noted and recognised inventors’ thirst for progression, coupled with expanding populated areas abroad, led to the era’s later recognition as perhaps one of the most critical movements in all mankind’s storied history. The aftereffects of the Victorian times continue to be felt by society in most aspects of modern-day life today.