The best invention ever…

Posted By | August 26, 2005 12:00 am

Jody Sliger
What is the first thing that comes to mind when someone thinks about all the amazing inventions created by man? Which one is best and why?
Several White County residents were asked this question. With the variety of responses, it was determined there are numerous inventions it would be hard to live without.
Many people agree with Mary Barker.
“The best thing ever invented is the washing machine,” Mary Baker. “Think about it. In the good old days people used a tub and scrub board, went down to the creek and washed the clothes.”
Remember the old saying ‘necessity is the mother of invention?’ Well, that may be true, but who is the father? Even if something needs to be created to make a job easier, it takes skill, effort and a lot of imagination to invent a workable item to make life easier. Face it, most inventions were devised to make life easier, and they have.
Before a fellow decided to make his wife happy by making a washing machine for her birthday, here is what she may have had to do. She would go to town for flour. The horse had to be hitched to the wagon. Then, over the dusty trail, spend two hours traveling to a town. She would gather what was needed from the general store, order fabric for new clothes and have the blacksmith repair the horses’ shoes. Then, she would travel another two hours back home.
Once back home, she would go rabbit hunting or fishing for dinner, grind the corn into meal, gather a few eggs, milk the cow, then build a fire and finish the meal. Finally, she would wash everything up by boiling a pan of water over an open fire and fall into bed. How dirty did those clothes get? Remember, they had to be washed with a scrub board and elbow grease.
Oh yes, the good old days.
Now, back home to the 21st century, where the new washing machines will not only wash the clothes, but pretty soon they may dry them, fold then and separate them into piles.
And, with the advancement of detergents, clothes don’t just get clean, they have less wrinkles and stay looking new longer with colors staying brighter [advertising claims, gotta love ‘em.]
Whew, and that is just for getting the clothes clean that will get dirty again the next time they are worn.
Okay, who invented the washing machine and when? According to an inventor’s website, James King patented the first washing machine, with a drum, in 1851. Although it was still hand- powered, it saved quite a bit of effort.
Hamilton Smith and William Blackstone patented other washing machine designs. Blackstone built the first washing machine designed to be used in the home. He built it as a birthday present for his wife. The machine removed and washed away dirt from clothes.
Now, a whole lot of inventions had to be designed before this man could give the ultimate birthday gift. Progress is great.
That was just one answer. Other inventions included the dishwasher, microwave, toilet paper and the car. Imagine life without these items, it would take longer to get anywhere, longer to cook and clean up dinner and Sears and Roebucks would probably still be in the catalog business.
Air conditioning was a very popular answer, and one extremely intelligent individual pointed out that without the ultimate invention of man mastering fire and energy sources, very few other advances could have been made.
Inventions for the kitchen seemed to be a top response for hard working moms. After listing a few home appliances, including the dishwasher, one thankful woman expressed her gratefulness
“They save time and energy, very valuable assets,” said Marla Neal.
A young farmer noted the tractor as being the best invention ever, while several students answered, “A four-wheeler, a pencil, and a bicycle.”
“Doing more with less,” said Luke Teeple, “like more fields can be worked in less time, more crops can be grown with less labor and more animals can be cared for by fewer people.”
Eyeglasses were another item people could not imagine having to do without. How did someone invent them? Imagine one nearsighted individual who picked up a piece of glass or quartz, looked through its magnifying character and said, “Eureka.” Of course, that really is ‘spec-u-lation,’ even with intense research no clear-cut person was credited with this invention. Eyeglasses radically changed existence of humans.
One White County mom wants someone to come up with a suntan lotion for children that contains a dye so she can see any missed spots on her child. There is an idea! Creative people get busy! Let The Expositor know when the patent is issued.
Inventions are constantly being created, tweaked, and improved until they meet each demand by scientists, everyday people or over-worked individuals with an eye to the future and sometimes just the desire to save a little time and effort.

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