For an explanation, see the main splats page
SPLATS about the principles of invention
The principles of invention
- The credit for an invention does not always go to the first person to invent it, but to the first person to patent it or associate their name with it.
- In 1813, a methane explosion in a mine at Gateshead-on-Tyne killed 92 miners, making the British public very aware of the problems of coal mine explosions.
- George Stephenson invented a safety lamp for miners at the same time as Sir Humphry Davy, who called Stephenson "a thief, and not a clever thief".
- Humphry Davy is remembered today for his miners' safety lamp, which let the coal-miners see what they were doing without making methane explode in the mines.
- Stephenson was given a reward of one thousand pounds, and a House of Commons select committee found in his favour, but the lamp is still the Davy safety lamp.
- In 1836, Edward Davy invented the electrical relay in London, so as to make a telegraph work over distances, but he later sold the patent and went to Australia.
- The Bunsen burner was probably invented by Peter Desaga, a technician in Robert Bunsen's laboratory, but neither of them applied for a patent on it.
- Later, Carl Desaga, Peter Desaga's son, founded a company, C. Desaga, Factory for Scientific Apparatus, to make and sell the burners, all over the world.
- André Ampère was an inventor of things, but also a great coiner of names: his invented words include 'electrodynamic', 'electrostatic' and 'solenoid'.
- Alexander Graham Bell only just managed to lodge his patent claim for the invention of the telephone before Elisha Gray lodged a lesser caveat claim.
- Thomas Edison invented many things, mainly by seeing a need and then trying large numbers of solutions, improving as he went, until he had something to sell.
- Thomas Edison and Joseph Swan both invented electric light globes at almost exactly the same time, and coming up with similar solutions to the problem.
- Thomas Edison observed the thermionic effect, but failed to realise that it had potential in electronics, even though he took out a patent on the effect.
This file is http://members.ozemail.com.au/~macinnis/scifun/splatsinvent.htm, first created on February 19, 2008. Last recorded revision (well I get lazy and forget sometimes!) was on February 19, 2008.
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