What is an Invention?

Content (Click to view)
  1. Invention
  2. Patent
  3. Meeting needs
  4. Characteristics
  5. Examples of Inventions
  6. Difference between invention and discovery
  7. The difference between invention and innovation
  8. Examples of Ancient Inventions
  9. Examples of Inventions of the Past Century
  10. Examples of Modern Inventions
  11. It may interest you :


The word Invento comes from the Latin "Inventus", and this, in turn, is composed of the prefix (In, which means inward) and (Ventus, which means to come) but the meaning given to this word was interpreted as something new that comes or is found within a person.


I mean, that thought a guy might get for the first time.

Likewise, it refers to the invented thing or to the action and effect of inventing (finding or discovering something new or unknown). The person who devotes his or her time to these discoveries is known as the inventor.

Inventions can be based on previous ideas or existing objects. However, the invention process may include modifications or innovations that lead to something new.

When creation arises from the inventiveness of the person and without concrete antecedents, the invention supposes a great contribution to human knowledge.

In addition, this process implies the birth of a new tool, advance or resource and is a transformative proposal that will try to optimize daily activities.


Inventions can be protected through a patent. This legal remedy implies that the exploitation of the invention is only allowed to the owner of the patent.

Usually, the inventor himself is responsible for processing and obtaining the patent, although in some cases the inventor sells the rights to a company.

Once the patent is in place, the company is able to commercially exploit the invention and produce it on a large scale.

Meeting needs

Throughout history, the invention was essentially linked to the various needs that humanity had and needed to satisfy in some way.

Meanwhile, man and his natural reasoning capacity allowed him to advance in this aspect and to find effective solutions to his demands.

The prehistoric human being invented tools from elements and materials around him in nature and used them to solve his needs.

Many of them needed his inventiveness and so he transformed and improved them to make them useful.


An invention has as particular characteristics the fact that it is unique and innovative; inventing consists of discovering and manufacturing something that no one else has ever known.

In most cases the invention comes from the creativity of the person, that is to say, he imagines it without having anything as a basis or particular inspiration, he simply thought about it and materialized it.

There are also other cases where inventions are based on existing objects, but something is added or modified that makes them something new.

Man has always had and will always have needs to satisfy, and the way he has sought to do so is through the creation of new instruments.

These were achieved thanks to his reasoning capacity, and as an immediate consequence of this, the limits of human knowledge have been extended, since it is revealing something that was unknown until then.

When these new tools are created, the main aim is to facilitate all those tasks that we carry out in our daily lives.

Examples of Inventions

The man has been dedicated to the invention since its origins. The development of language (a system of signs) is often considered the first great invention in history.

Most of the physical inventions (with concrete and real objects) dating back to prehistoric times were made in stone, like the first wheels.

We could also highlight, for example, the automobile as one of the most significant inventions.

It was in 1885 that the German engineer Karl Friedrich Benz invented what is considered to be the first car. And so a means of transport was born that revolutionized not only society but also communication and the economy.

Another of the most important inventions that have been considered throughout history is the light bulb.

The American Thomas Alva Edison is the father of the same one that was developed in the 19th century and that was also a major event that changed our lives.

However, it should not be forgotten that this figure also developed other significant inventions such as the phonograph or the dictaphone.

Penicillin, the contraceptive pill, the radio or television, the telephone, the computer or the Internet are other inventions that have most marked us and have served us well since their appearance.

Difference between invention and discovery

One thing we must make clear because they are often confused is that an invention is not the same as a discovery.

The first is something that existed and that arises thanks to the ingenuity of the human being, while the second is the discovery of something that already existed but remained hidden for x reason from the knowledge of man and he suddenly finds it.

Although it is not the only use of the term, it is also recurrent that it is used to give an account of what was invented, that is, the result of the aforementioned action of inventing.
Meanwhile, the individual responsible for the action of inventing is popularly known as the inventor.

The difference between invention and innovation

The invention solves a particular problem and does not necessarily relate to the context.
Innovation appears to solve a problem and connects with context and needs.

It is common that the invention does not end up in the market, remaining in the hands of its"inventor" and depends on a key factor such as timing.

For there to be Innovation, it is a condition that a considerable number of people need it and adopts it as a new way of doing things.

For the Invention, there is no evolution over time. It may be improved or optimized, but as it has no specific demand or use, it is difficult to evolve (unless the inventor wants to improve it).

Innovation is being perfected. It can be used for other innovations or inventions. The main difference is that by having a specific market or demand, you get feedback that can be used to improve the user experience (or sell more!).

Examples of Ancient Inventions

  1. XXXV century BC (before Christ). The Mesopotamian civilization invented the wheel, probably one of the most important inventions in history, although its invention is believed to have been a progressive evolution of the roller with the sled.
  2. The 3rd century BC Archimedes invented the Archimedes Screw to lift water and wheat grains.
  3. The 5th century B.C. Democritus states his theory about the atom.
  4. 1300 B.C. The Chinese invented the first counting device, the Abacus.
  5. 121 B.C. The Chinese create the compass.

Examples of Inventions of the Past Century

- 1440. Gutenberg invented the mobile metal characters for the printing press.
- 1608. Hans Lippershey invents the first telescope.
- 1665. Newton enunciates the theory of universal gravitation.
- 1753. Franklin formulates the theory about the existence of electricity in the atmosphere. Invent the lightning rod.
- 1782. James Watt builds the double-acting steam engine. Several steam engines had been invented before, but this was the one used to make objects in the industrial revolution.

- 1783. The Montgolfier brothers raise their first aerostat, what is now known as a hot air balloon.
- 1788. Fulton applies steam to navigation, to move ships.
- 1800. Alessandro Volta invents the electric battery that bears his name.
- 1838. Morse patents the telegraph. He also invented the famous Morse code to transmit messages.
- 1839 The Scottish blacksmith Kirkpatrick Macmillan built the first bicycle, but it was not his compatriot Gavin Dalzell who patented it, to whom I attribute his creation for half a century.
- 1860. Jean Joseph Etienne Lenoir invented the first internal combustion engine, burning gas inside a cylinder.
- 1875. Alexander Graham Bell makes the first telephone conversation. I'm inventing the Phone. See mobile phone.
- 1876. Nikolaus August Otto invents the first petrol engine. Today's gasoline engines are called Otto Engines.

- 1877. Thomas Alva Edison patented more than 1,000 inventions during his lifetime. He invented the phonograph, a device that reproduced sounds, the ancestor of the record player.
-1895. Guillermo Marconi makes his first radio transmission. Roentgen gets the X-ray of a hand from his wife.
- 1896. Becquerel discovers the radioactivity.
- 1897. Felix Hoffmann invented aspirin at Bayer Laboratories. Medicine with multiple therapeutic applications against pain.
- 1898. The Curie couple discovers polonium.

Examples of Modern Inventions

- 1903. Wilbur and Orville Wright ("Wright brothers") fly the first powered airplane.
- 1905. Albert Einstein publishes his theory of relativity.
- 1924. John Baird makes the first television broadcast. Goddard launches the first rocket powered by liquid fuel.
- 1826. William Talbot, the inventor of one of the first cameras. Joseph Nicephore Niépce had produced the first known photograph on a pewter plate.
- 1831. Michael Faraday invented the first Dynamo and the electric motor that produced and generated electric current.
- 1895 The Lumiére Brothers (Louis and Augusté Lumière) invented the first cinematographic video camera. I could create moving images.
- 1923 The Spaniard Juan de la Cierva invents the gyroplane, the predecessor of the helicopter.

- 1928. Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin. Penicillin was one of the first antibiotics invented and also one of the most widely used worldwide.
- 1942. Enrico Fermi successfully tests the first atomic battery, which is considered the first nuclear reaction.
- 1946. American Dr. Percy Spencer who realized that the effect of microwaves could cook food without the heat being noticeable around him.
- 1950. American Ralph Scheider invents the credit card called Diner's Club.
- 1957. Sputnik I, in orbit, inaugurates the space age.

- 1958. Engineer Jack St. Clair Kilby, just months after being hired by Texas Instruments, creates the first microchip or integrated circuit.
- 1973. Martin Cooper developed the first mobile phone called the Dyna-Trac while working at Motorola.
- 1975. Art Fry, who worked at 3M, invented the famous post it.
- 1980 Tim Berners-Lee is known as the father of the Internet, inventor of the web as we know it today. See How the Internet Works.

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