There are so many items we live with today that were unknown years before. We're not simply talking about your mobile phone or laptop, but the more simple things that we take for granted.
When was the last time you checked your email? Phoned somebody from your cell phone? How about used your microwave? Life is buzzing with inventions and new concepts, all of them designed to make our lives faster and easier. Yet, sometimes we forget that these simple things that we take for granted weren’t always there. Some of them even entered our lives quite recently.
New inventions is a never-ending process (what we don’t know is missing today will become invaluable tomorrow); therefore, we thought we’d stop and reflect on some concepts that have entered our lives and have changed them for the better.
And as you read through our list of life-altering inventions, try to imagine what life was like (or would be like) without them…
Also called a flatiron (or simply an iron), this invention has definitely changed the way we live – and dress. Although not a favourite pastime for the majority of us, some people claim that ironing clothes produces a calming and relaxing effect.
Nobody can be sure exactly when people started trying to smooth cloth by pressing it, but we know that the Chinese were using hot metal for ironing before anyone else. Pans filled with hot coals were pressed over stretched cloth, a method that was already well established 1,000 years ago.
homify hint: The metal part of an iron that is used for pressing is called the sole plate and is generally heated to 180ºC-220°C when ironing.
Nothing announces a new day quite as effectively (or frantically) as a non-stop beeping. Being scared into consciousness is not a treat for anybody, although the alarm clock does deserve its place on our list of ingenious inventions.
The first alarm clock was created in ancient Greece, by Ctesibus, a Hellenistic engineer and inventor. His design involved an elaborate system of dropping pebbles onto a gong to produce a sound. This sound was set to happen at specific time intervals.
Thankfully, this system has evolved and matured quite effectively over the years…
… to become the more personalised (and friendly) alarms we know today. Red numerals gave way to a more sleek way of showing time – and later on dates. Irritating beeping was replaced by a choice of selecting your awakening method, such as having your radio switched on, or choosing your favourite music (from Beethoven to Rammstein) to calmly (or loudly) welcome you back into the real world.
Nowadays, most of us use our cellular phones for alarm clocks, but there is no denying the important role the alarm clock has played in our past.
Ah! The washing machine, that brainwave that completely revolutionised the 20th century – domestically, anyway. No more endless rinsing of clothing in a shared sink/water body and scrubbing them against a washboard.
However, the first washing machines sold were quite expensive, meaning that not every household could afford one. But thanks to technological advances, more and more families began to acquire this wondrous creation – and today, we have a wide selection of choices (front-loaders, top-loaders, public laundry centres, compact washers, etc.) to help us obtain the whitest whites possible.
Likewise, the inventor of the dishwasher (Josephine Cochrane in 1887) is truly a hero to all of us, saving millions of people time and effort every single day. Sinks stocked to full capacity with dirty dishes, cutlery and mugs are not yet quite a thing of the past (not until they invent a cure for laziness), but this invention definitely made a significant impact on household history.
Need something heated quickly? Get away from the stove – it’s microwave time. From frozen soup and coffee to last night’s leftovers, the microwave is our trusted friend to warm up most elements, including beverage and food.
But how does this clever invention heat up your glass of milk before bedtime? Microwave ovens use radio waves at a specifically set frequency to agitate water molecules in food. As these water molecules get increasingly agitated, they begin to vibrate at the atomic level and generate heat.
Hard to imagine life without it, but this ingenious creation is actually less than 100 years old. In 1945, an American engineer named Percy Spencer was working in a lab testing magnetrons, the high-powered vacuum tubes inside radars. While working near the magnetrons that produced microwaves, Spencer noticed a candy bar in his pocket had begun to melt — shortly after, the microwave altered our lives forever.
The kitchen is undoubtedly the one room in the house that boasts the biggest amount of clever inventions. And here is another one – the blender. Saving us a lot of time and aching arms, the blender is the ideal tool for when it comes to mixing, grinding, pureeing and chopping, resulting in delicious drinks and dishes that includes omelettes, whipped cream, tomato sauce, coffee beans, and cocktails.
The father of the blender was a man named Stephen Poplawski, who was the first person to put a spinning blade at the bottom of a container in 1922. Like all inventions, the blender has evolved throughout the years, and its clever use and function has no doubt lead to the invention of the stick blender (or immersion blender) in 1950.
A good night’s sleep involves significantly more than pretty pillows and beautiful wall art. Without a decent mattress to lie on, waking up every morning would be greeted by pain and irritability.
We are told that the first mattress and bed was invented sometime during the Neolithic period, approximately 10,000 years ago. Beds were raised off the ground to avoid drafts, dirt, and pests. The first mattress consisted of a pile of leaves, grass, or possibly straw, with animal skins over it.
How far we have come today, with a world of mattresses to choose from, as well as never-ending choices of additional factors to enhance comfort and aesthetics, such as scatter cushions, throws and headboards.
We know the importance of sweet dreams; so, Let’s help you find the perfect bed.
We humans are used to comfort – in fact, we demand it. And few things disturb comfort as quickly as being cold. We can only imagine it must have been a fantastic day the moment fire was discovered, which meant a quick and effective way of generating heat.
Fast-forward to today, where fire is still regarded as a luxury, particularly when contained in a chic fireplace. However, thanks to clever people and technology, heating takes on many forms, including furnaces, boilers, heat pumps, electric heaters, underfloor heating, etc.
homify hint: Underfloor heating is available in two forms: electric and hydronic. Electric, also called a dry system, heats the floor with a thin wire. This is a great method for renovations, as it won't raise floor levels. Hydronic, also known as a wet system, heats up a floor through a flow of warm water in pipes. This system is generally advisable for new builds.