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.
©The author of this work is Peter Macinnis, who asserts his sole right to the product as it is packaged here, recognising that many of the ideas are common. You are free to use this as a model to do your own version. Copies of this whole file or site may be made and stored or printed for personal or educational use. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, but only if you add my first name to the front of that email address -- this is a low-tech way of making it harder to harvest the e-mail address I actually read.
This site had 219,000 hits on the index page from 1999 to January 2007 and an unknown number on other pages. In January 2007, a combined counter was placed on all of the pages, counting page hits which now total