Advertisement.

EnchantedLearning.com is a user-supported site.
As a bonus, site members have access to a banner-ad-free version of the site, with print-friendly pages.
Click here to learn more.

ad
(Already a member? Click here.)

Our subscribers' grade-level estimate for this page: 6th - 7th

lightbulb
EnchantedLearning.com
Zoom Inventors and Inventions
radio
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
1300's and Earlier 1400's 1500's 1600's 1700's 1801-1850 1851-1900 1901-1950 1951-2000
Clothing Communication Food Fun Medicine Science/Industry Transportation Undersea
African-Americans Women British Isles China France Germany Greece Italy Scandinavia USA/Canada

Toys, Games, and Entertainment:
Inventors and Inventions

AQUALUNG
The aqualung is a breathing apparatus that supplied oxygen to divers and allowed them to stay underwater for several hours. It was invented in 1943 by Jacques-Yves Cousteau (1910 -1997) and the French industrial gas control systems engineer Emile Gagnan. Among the innovations in their device was a mechanism that provided inhalation and exhaust valves at the same level. That summer, the new device was tested in the Mediterranean Sea down to 210 ft (68 m) by Cousteau, Philippe Tailliez, and Frédérik Dumas. This safe, easy-to-use, and reliable device was the first modern scuba system.
John Logie BairdBAIRD, JOHN LOGIE
John Logie Baird (1888-1946) was a Scottish inventor and engineer who was a pioneer in the development of mechanical television. In 1924, Baird televised objects in outline. In 1925, he televised human faces. In 1926, Baird was the first person to televise pictures of objects in motion. In 1930, Baird made the first public broadcast of a TV show, from his studio to the London Coliseum Cinema; the screen consisted of a 6-ft by 3-ft array of 2,100 tiny flashlamp bulbs. Baird developed a color television in 1928, and a stereo television in 1946. Baird's mechanical television was usurped by electronic television, which he also worked on.
basketballBASKETBALL
The game of basketball was invented by James Naismith (1861-1939). Naismith was a Canadian physical education instructor who invented the game in 1891 so that his students could participate in sports during the winter. In his original game, which he developed while at the Springfield, Massachusetts YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association), Naismith used a soccer ball which were thrown into peach baskets (with their bottoms intact). The first public basketball game was in Springfield, MA, USA, on March 11, 1892. Basketball was first played at the Olympics in Berlin Germany in 1936 (America won the gold medal, and Naismith was there).
BUBBLE GUM
Bubblegum was invented by Frank Henry Fleer in 1906, but was not successful; the formulation of Fleer's "Blibber-Blubber," was too sticky. In 1928, Walter E. Diemer invented a superior formulation for bubble gum, which he called " Double Bubble."
crayonsCRAYONS
Crayons were invented by Edwin Binney and Harold Smith, who owned a paint company in New York City, NY, USA. Binney and Smith invented the modern-day crayon by combining paraffin wax with pigments (colorants). These inexpensive art supplies were an instant success since they were first marketed as Crayola crayons in 1903.
CROSSWORD PUZZLE
The crossword puzzle, a word game, was invented by Arthur Wynne in 1913. Arthur Wynne was a journalist born in Liverpool, England. Wynne wrote weekly puzzle for the US newspaper called the New York World. The first crossword puzzle by Wynne was a diamond-shaped puzzle that was published in the Sunday New York World on December 21, 1913. The first British crossword puzzle appeared on February 1922; it wass published in Pearson's Magazine.
FARNSWORTH, PHILO T.
Philo Taylor Farnsworth (1906-1971) was an American inventor. Farnsworth invented many important components of the television, including power, focusing systems, synchronizing the signal, contrast, controls, and scanning. He also invented a radar system, a cold cathode ray tube, a new type of baby incubator, and the first electronic microscope. Farnsworth held over 300 patents.
FERRIS WHEEL
The Ferris Wheel is a large amusement-park ride that is made of a giant, vertical, metal wheel that slowly turns around. The wheel is equipped with hanging compartments for people, who ride around in a circle, going far above the ground. The Ferris Wheel was invented by the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania bridge-builder George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. (1859-1896). The first Ferris wheel was opened on June 21, 1893 at the Chicago World's Fair. This Ferris wheel was 250 feet tall (the diameter of the wheel) - this is about the height of a 25 story building! It had 36 wooden cars that could each seat 40 people, and hold another 20 standing people plus a conductor. Each car was 27 feet long, 13 feet wide, and 9 feet tall. A total of 2,000 people could ride the wheel at one time. The wheel was powered by two 1,000 horsepower engines and weighed over 4,000 tons. It cost 50 cents per ride. This same Ferris wheel was later used at the St. Louis exposition in 1904, but was scrapped in 1906. Ferris wheels are now common at amusement parks around the world - most are much smaller than the original.
FIREWORKS
Gunpowder was invented in China, probably during the 1000's. Gunpowder is composed of about 75 percent saltpeter (potassium nitrate), 15 percent powdered charcoal, and 10 percent sulphur. The Chinese used gunpower to make fireworks and signals, and later to make weapons of war.

For more information on this invention, click here.

KALEIDOSCOPE
A kaleidoscope is a tube you look into that makes beautiful, colorful patterns using mirrors. The kaleidoscope was invented by the Scottish physicist Sir David Brewster (1781-1868); he patented the kaleidoscope in 1817.
KEVLAR
Kevlar (poly[p-phenyleneterephtalamide]) is a polymer fiber that is five times stronger than the same weight of steel. Kevlar is used in bullet-proof vests, helmets, trampolines, tennis rackets, and many other commonly-used objects. Kevlar was invented by Stephanie Louise Kwolek and was first marketed by DuPont in 1971.
KITE
The kite was invented roughly 2,500 to 3,000 years ago. It originated in China, Malaysia or Indonesia (there are many claims to having invented the kite). Some people say that the earliest kites consisted of a huge leaf attached to a long string (there is a type of Indonesian leaf that is wonderful as a kite).
K'NEX
The toy construction set called K'NEX was invented in 1990 by Joel Glickman. Joel had been playing with straws while at a wedding and realized that with some simple connectors, they would make a great building set. His plastic rod and connector construction set soon became popular worldwide. K'NEX are made by K'NEX Industries, Inc., a privately held company, and are distributed by the toy company Hasbro.
LEGO
Legos (TM) are a very popular interlocking plastic toy. The LEGO toy company was founded by Ole Kirk Christiansen of Denmark in 1932, but the company then sold mostly wooden toys. The word LEGO was formed from two Danish words, "LEg GOdt," which mean "play well." Christiansen was a carpenter from the Danish village of Billund. The interlocking plastic blocks (the stud and tube coupling system) were invented by Godtfred Christiansen (Ole's son), and patented in 1958. Lego toys were first sold in the USA in 1961. LEGO people were introduced in 1974.
LINCOLN LOGS
Lincoln Logs are a popular children's toy building set that consists of interlocking notched logs. Children can easily make log cabins and other structures from the tiny wooden logs.

Lincoln Logs were invented in 1916 by John Lloyd Wright (1892-1972), an architect and one of the five children of the world-famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. John patented his toy in 1920, and sold the logs through his toy company, the Red Square Toy Company. Playskool bought the rights to Lincoln Logs in 1943.

radioMARCONI, GUGLIELMO
Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937) was an Italian inventor and physicist. In 1895, Marconi promoted and popularized the radio (wireless telegraphy), building machinery to transmit and receive radio waves. His first transmission across an ocean (the Atlantic Ocean) was on December 12, 1901. Marconi won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1909.
MOBILE
calder fakeMobiles are airy, hanging sculptures that move with the wind. Alexander Calder (1898-1976), an American sculptor, invented the mobile in the early 20th century. His mobiles eventually became famous worldwide.

For more information on Calder and his art, click here.

basket ballNAISMITH, JAMES
James Naismith (1861-1939) was a Canadian physical education instructor who invented the game of basketball in 1891. He developed this indoor game so that his students could participate in sports during the winter. In his original game, which he invented while at the Springfield, Massachusetts YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association), Naismith used a soccer ball which were thrown into peach baskets (with their bottoms intact). The first public basketball game was in Springfield, MA, USA, on March 11, 1892. Basketball was first played at the Olympics in Berlin Germany in 1936 (America won the gold medal, and Naismith was there). Naismith was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1978.
PLAY-DOH
Play-Doh, a popular children's modeling clay, was invented by Noah W. McVicker and Joseph S. McVicker. They patented Play-Doh in 1956 (patent # 3,167,440). The original Play-Doh was sold in only one color, off- white. Eventually, many colors were marketed. Over 700 million pounds of Play-Doh have been sold, but the formula is still a secret.
POLAROID CAMERA
The Polaroid camera is a camera that develops the photograph while you wait (one-step photography ). It was invented by Edwin Herbert Land (1909-1991), an American physicist and inventor who also investigated the mechanisms of color perception, developed the first modern light polarizers (which eliminate glare), and other optical devices. Land established the Polaroid Corp. in 1937.
PIANO
The modern piano (the pianoforte) was developed from the harpsichord around 1720, by Bartolomeo Cristofori of Padua, Italy. His new instrument had a delicate pianissimo (very soft sound), a strong fortissimo (a very loud, forceful sound), and every level in between.

The first upright piano was made around 1780 by Johann Schmidt of Salzburg, Austria. Thomas Loud of London developed an upright piano whose strings ran diagonally (in 1802), saving even more space.

QUOITS
Quoits is an outdoor game that is played by throwing an iron or steel quoit onto a peg-like metal pin sticking up out of soft clay. Quoits may have originally been a game in which a disc was thrown at a target, emphasizing accuracy (not distance), or it may have evolved from the game of horseshoes - its origin is unsure, but it certainly is an old game.
radioRADIO
The radio was invented by Nikola Tesla. The radio was promoted and popularized by Guglielmo Marconi in 1895. The first radio transmission across an ocean (the Atlantic Ocean) occurred on December 12, 1901.
SAX, ADOLPHE
Antoine-Joseph (Adolphe) Sax (1814 - Feb. 4, 1894) was Belgian musical instrument manufacturer and musician (he played the clarinet) who invented the saxophone. Sax first exhibited his newly-invented woodwind instrument at the 1841 Brussels Exhibition, and patented it in 1846. Sax also invented the saxhorn (a family of bugles with 3 or 4 valves), which he first exhibited in 1844. For a printout on the saxophone, click here.
SAXOPHONE
Antoine-Joseph (Adolphe) Sax (1814 - Feb. 4, 1894) was Belgian musical instrument manufacturer and musician (he played the clarinet) who invented the saxophone. Sax first exhibited his newly-invented woodwind instrument at the 1841 Brussels Exhibition, and patented it in 1846. Sax also invented the saxhorn (a family of bugles with 3 or 4 valves), which he first exhibited in 1844. For a printout on the saxophone, click here.
SCRABBLE®
scrabble boardThe word game Scrabble® was developed by Alfred Mosher Butts in 1948. James Brunot did some rearranging of the squares and simplified the rules. A copyright was granted on December 1, 1948. Alfred Butts had been an architect, but lost his job in 1931 (during the depression). He then began developing games, including Lexico, Criss-Crosswords, and them Scrabble®. After about 4 years of paltry sales, Scrabble® became a hit.
SILLY PUTTY
Silly putty was invented in 1943 by the General Electric engineer James Wright, who was trying to invent a synthetic rubber during World War 2. He made it from boric acid and silicone oil, which forms a weird polymerized compound. Wright could find no uses for this bouncy, gooey substance. Peter Hodgson, who worked in marketing, realized its future as a novelty toy in 1949, and it was a success. It was even taken to the moon in 1968 by the Apollo 8 Astronauts.
SLINKY TM
The Slinky TM was invented by the engineer Richard James (1914-1974) in 1943. This spring-toy came about by accident as James was developing springs to support sensitive equipment on ships. James invented a manufacturing machine that could make a Slinky TM from 80 feet of steel wire in 10 seconds. His wife Betty James (1918- ) named the Slinky TM and runs the company that produces it.
YO-YO
The yo-yo is one of the oldest toys. Yo-yo's have been used as a toy for over 2,500 years, when the ancient Romans played with wooden and metal yo-yo's. The word "yo-yo" may come from Tagalog language (the language of the Philippines), meaning "to come back."
ZamboniZAMBONI ICE RESURFACING MACHINE
Frank J. Zamboni (1901-1988) was an inventor and mechanic who invented the Zamboni Ice Resurfacing Machine in 1949. His machine is used in ice rinks to resurface marred ice. In 1939, Zamboni and his brother Lawrence built a 20,000-square-foot enclosed ice skating rink in Paramount, California, USA. Resurfacing the ice was a major problem, and took many men and assorted equipment. In 1942, Zamboni transformed a tractor to scrape and smooth the ice in a single pass. After years, he perfected his it, releasing his "Model A Zamboni Ice Resurfacer" in 1949, (patent #2,642,679). The Olympic medal-winner Sonja Henie was one of his first customers.

lightbulb
EnchantedLearning.com
Zoom Inventors and Inventions
If the inventor or invention you're interested in isn't here, please e-mail us (if you're a site supporter).
radio
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
1300's and Earlier 1400's 1500's 1600's 1700's 1801-1850 1851-1900 1901-1950 1951-2000
Clothing Communication Food Fun Medicine Science/Industry Transportation Undersea
African-Americans Women British Isles China France Germany Greece Italy Scandinavia USA/Canada
Guidelines on Writing a Report on an Invention





Enchanted Learning®
Over 35,000 Web Pages
Sample Pages for Prospective Subscribers, or click below

Overview of Site
What's New
Enchanted Learning Home
Monthly Activity Calendar
Books to Print
Site Index

K-3
Crafts
K-3 Themes
Little Explorers
Picture dictionary
PreK/K Activities
Rebus Rhymes
Stories
Writing
Cloze Activities
Essay Topics
Newspaper
Writing Activities
Parts of Speech

Fiction
The Test of Time
iPhone app
TapQuiz Maps - free iPhone Geography Game

Biology
Animal Printouts
Biology Label Printouts
Biomes
Birds
Butterflies
Dinosaurs
Food Chain
Human Anatomy
Mammals
Plants
Rainforests
Sharks
Whales
Physical Sciences: K-12
Astronomy
The Earth
Geology
Hurricanes
Landforms
Oceans
Tsunami
Volcano
Languages
Dutch
French
German
Italian
Japanese (Romaji)
Portuguese
Spanish
Swedish
Geography/History
Explorers
Flags
Geography
Inventors
US History

Other Topics
Art and Artists
Calendars
College Finder
Crafts
Graphic Organizers
Label Me! Printouts
Math
Music
Word Wheels

Click to read our Privacy Policy

E-mail


Enchanted Learning Search

Search the Enchanted Learning website for:



Advertisement.



Advertisement.



Advertisement.






Copyright ©2000 EnchantedLearning.com ------ How to cite a web page