English inventions and discoveries are objects, processes or techniques invented or discovered, partially or entirely, by a person from England. (That is, someone born in England - including to non-English parents - or born abroad with at least one English parent and who had the majority of their education or career in England.) Often, things discovered for the first time are also called " inventions", and in many cases, there is no clear line between the two.
Following is a list of inventions or discoveries generally believed to be English.
Agriculture [ edit ]
Banking [ edit ]
Clock making [ edit ]
Clothing manufacturing [ edit ]
Communications [ edit ]
postmark (called the "Bishop Mark"), introduced by English Postmaster General Henry Bishop in 1661 and showed only the day and month of mailing in order to prevent the delay of the mail by carriers. [17 ]
Uniform Penny Post, and postage stamp – [18 ] Sir Rowland Hill
Christmas card – [19 ] Sir Henry Cole
Valentines card – Modern card 18th century England [20 ]
Pencil – Cumbria
Mechanical pencil – Sampson Mordan and John Isaac Hawkins in 1822. [21 ]
Clockwork radio – [22 ] Trevor Baylis The first
Radio transmission using a Spark Transmitter, achieving a range of approximately 500 metres. – David E. Hughes
Radar was pioneered at Bawdsey Manor by Scotsman Robert Watson-Watt and Englishman Henry Tizard in the 1930s.
Electromagnetic induction & Faraday's law of induction Began as a series of experiments by Faraday that later became some of the first ever experiments in the discovery of radio waves and the development of radio – Michael Faraday [23 ] Pioneer in the development of
radio communication – William Eccles
Tin can telephone a device that conveyed sounds over an extended wire by mechanical vibrations – Robert Hooke 1667 [24 ] The world's first radio station on the
Isle of Wight On 2 December 1922, in
Sorbonne, France, Edwin Belin, an Englishman demonstrated a mechanical scanning device that was an early precursor to modern television The
Baird Televisor receiver - was made by Plessey in England from 1930 through the early 30s. It was the first television receiver sold to the public. The first pocket sized
handheld television, the MTV-1 – Sir Clive Sinclair Pioneering work on the development of the long-lasting materials that made today's
liquid crystal displays possible – Team headed by Sir Brynmor Jones and Developed by Scotsman George Gray and Englishman Ken Harrison In conjunction with the Royal Radar Establishment and the University of Hull [25 ]
405-line television system was the first fully electronic television system used in regular broadcasting – Alan Blumlein The world's first public broadcasts of high-definition
television were made from Alexandra Palace, North London in 1936 – BBC Television Service The first
commercially successful electric telegraph – Sir Charles Wheatstone and Sir William Fothergill Cooke in 1837 [26 ] [27 ] [28 ] Pioneer of
stereo – Alan Blumlein [29 ]
Shorthand – Timothy Bright (1550/1-1615). Invented first modern shorthand
Pitman Shorthand – Isaac Pitman Discovered the
photoconductivity of the element selenium. This discovery led to the invention of photoelectric cells ( solar panels), including those used in the earliest television systems – Willoughby Smith in 1873 Proposed the existence of the
Kennelly–Heaviside layer, a layer of ionised gas that reflects radio waves around the Earth's curvature – Oliver Heaviside The first
SMS message was sent over the Vodafone GSM network in 1992 – Neil Papworth
Typewriter – First patent for a device similar to a typewriter granted to Henry Mill in 1714. [30 ] the world's first automatic
totalisator – George Julius the world's first
Color motion picture film – Edward Raymond Turner in 1899 pioneer in the use of
fibre optics in telecommunications – Charles K. Kao and George Hockham The originator of the concept of
geostationary satellites for the use of telecommunications relays – Arthur C Clarke
Teletext Information Service – The British Broadcasting Corporation ( BBC)
Computing [ edit ]
Analytical engine – Sir [31 ] Charles Babbage
ACE and Pilot ACE – [32 ] Alan Turing
ARM architecture The ARM CPU design is the microprocessor architecture of 98% of mobile phones and every smartphone. [33 ]
Bombe – Alan Turing [32 ]
Colossus computer Colossus computers were the first electronic digital programmable computers. They used [34 ] vacuum tubes and binary representation of numbers – Tommy Flowers
Difference engine – Sir Charles Babbage [31 ] First
programmer – Ada Lovelace First Programming Language
Analytical Engine ordercode – Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace
Boolean algebra, the basis for digital logic – George Boole
World Wide Web – Sir [35 ] Tim Berners-Lee Developed
HTTP and HTML – Tim Berners-Lee
Argo system the world's first electrically powered mechanical analogue computer (also called at the Argo Clock) – Arthur Pollen
Sumlock ANITA calculator the world's first all-electronic desktop calculator – Bell Punch Co
Sinclair Executive, the world's first small electronic pocket calculator – Sir Clive Sinclair
Osborne 1 The first commercially successful portable computer, the precursor to the Laptop computer – Adam Osborne Designed what was the first
laptop computer, the GRiD Compass in 1979 – Bill Moggridge Heavily involved in the development of the
Linux kernel – Andrew Morton & Alan Cox
Sinclair ZX80, ZX81 and ZX Spectrum – Sir Clive Sinclair
Flip-flop circuit, which became the basis of electronic memory ( Random-access memory) in computers – William Eccles and F. W. Jordan
Universal Turing machine – The UTM model is considered to be the origin of the "stored program computer" used by John von Neumann in 1946 for his "Electronic Computing Instrument" that now bears von Neumann's name: the von Neumann architecture, also UTM is considered the first operating system – Alan Turing The development of
packet switching co-invented by British engineer Donald Davies and American Paul Baran – National Physical Laboratory, London England The first person to conceptualise the
Integrated Circuit – Geoffrey W.A. Dummer The first modern computer
Manchester Small-Scale Experimental Machine – (SSEM), nicknamed Baby. Was the world's first stored-program computer. Developed by Frederic Calland Williams & Tom Kilburn [36 ]
Williams tube – a cathode ray tube used to electronically store binary data (Can store roughly 500 to 1,000 bits of data) – Freddie Williams & Tom Kilburn
Manchester Mark 1 Historically significant computer because of its pioneering inclusion of index registers – Freddie Williams and Tom Kilburn
Autocode regarded as the first ever computer compiler in 1952 for the Manchester Mark 1 computer – Alick Glennie Developed the concept of
microprogramming from the realisation that the Central Processing Unit (CPU) of a computer could be controlled by a miniature, highly specialised computer program in high-speed ROM – Maurice Wilkes in 1951
Ferranti Mark 1 – Also known as the Manchester Electronic Computer was the first computer to use the principles of early CPU design (Central processing unit) – Freddie Williams and Tom Kilburn – Also the world's first successful commercially available general-purpose electronic computer. The oldest known recordings of
computer generated music were played by the Ferranti Mark 1 computer – Christopher Strachey
EDSAC was the first complete, fully functional computer to use the von Neumann architecture, the basis of every modern computer – Maurice Wilkes
EDSAC 2 the successor to the Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator or EDSAC. It was the first computer to have a microprogrammed ( Microcode) control unit and a bit slice hardware architecture – Team headed by Maurice Wilkes The first graphical computer game
OXO on the EDSAC at Cambridge University – A.S. Douglas The world's first
computer game with 3D graphics – Elite Developed by David Braben and Ian Bell in 1984
Metrovick 950 was the first commercial transistor computer built in 1959 – Metropolitan-Vickers company
LEO Made history by running the first business application (payroll system) on an electronic computer in 1951 for J. Lyons and Co – Maurice Wilkes
Atlas Computer, it was arguably the world's first supercomputer and was the fastest computer in the world until the release of the American CDC 6600 Also This machine introduced many modern architectural concepts: spooling, interrupts, pipelining, interleaved memory, virtual memory and paging – Team headed by Tom Kilburn The world's first
web browser called WorldWideWeb that ran on the NeXTSTEP platform. It was later renamed Nexus to avoid confusion with the World Wide Web – Sir Tim Berners-Lee
Digital audio player (MP3 Player) – Kane Kramer
Touchpad Pointing device – First developed for Psion PLC's Psion MC 200/400/600/WORD Series in 1989 Co-Inventor of the world's first
trackball device – developed by Tom Cranston, Fred Longstaff and Kenyon Taylor The world's first handheld computer (
Psion Organiser) – Psion PLC First PC-compatible
palmtop computer ( Atari Portfolio) – Ian Cullimore
Denotational semantics – Christopher Strachey pioneer in programming language design
Wolfram's 2-state 3-symbol Turing machine – Stephen Wolfram
Raspberry Pi, a modern single-board computer for education [37 ]
Criminology [ edit ]
Cryptography [ edit ]
Engineering [ edit ]
caterpillar track first conceived by Richard Lovell Edgeworth. Sir George Cayley patented a continuous track, which he called a "universal railway" by 1826 (The Mechanics' Magazine, 28 January 1826). He described it as a "cart that carries its own road". [43 ]
Adjustable spanner – Edwin Beard Budding
Cavity magnetron – John Randall and Harry Boot critical component for Microwave generation in Microwave ovens and high powered Radios ( Radar) [44 ]
Carey Foster bridge – Carey Foster [45 ] Electric
transformer – Michael Faraday [46 ]
Electrical generator (dynamo) – Michael Faraday [46 ] First coke-consuming
blast furnace – Abraham Darby I [47 ] First working
universal joint – Robert Hooke Produced the first commercial steel
alloy in 1868 – Robert Forester Mushet
Crookes tube the first cathode ray tubes – William Crookes [47 ] First
compression ignition engine aka the Diesel Engine – Herbert Akroyd Stuart First working
steam pump – Thomas Savery in 1698 [47 ]
Atmospheric steam engine – Thomas Newcomen in 1712 [47 ] [48 ] Modified version of the Newcomen steam engine (Pickard engine) –
Steam turbine – Charles Algernon Parsons [47 ] High strength
carbon fibre – Royal Aircraft Establishment in 1963. In January 1969, Carr Reinforcements ( Stockport, England) wove the first carbon fibre fabric in the world
RepRap Project - The first self replicating 3D Printer, developed at the University of Bath Contributed to the development of
Radar – Scotsman Robert Watson-Watt and Englishman Arnold Frederic Wilkins
Disc brakes – Frederick W. Lanchester [47 ]
Internal combustion engine – Samuel Brown
Fourdrinier machine – Henry Fourdrinier Microchip –
Geoffrey W.A. Dummer
light-emitting diode (did not invent the first visible light, only theorised) - H. J. Round
Francis turbine – James B. Francis
Gas turbine – John Barber (engineer)
Two-stroke engine – Joseph Day Pioneer of radio guidance systems –
Screw-cutting lathe – Henry Hindley The first industrially practical screw-cutting lathe –
Henry Maudslay The first electrical
measuring instrument, the electroscope – William Gilbert Devised a standard for
screw threads which achieved widespread acceptance – Joseph Whitworth The
Wimshurst machine, an Electrostatic generator for producing high voltages – James Wimshurst
Hot bulb engine or heavy oil engine – Herbert Akroyd Stuart Hydraulic
crane – William Armstrong. He also built the first house in the world powered by hydroelectricity, at Cragside, Northumberland Vacuum diode or
vacuum tube – John Ambrose Fleming
Linear motor, a multi-phase alternating current (AC) electric motor – Charles Wheatstone then improved by Eric Laithwaite [28 ] Designed
water and sewerage systems for over 30 cities across Europe – William Lindley
The Iron Bridge (1791), the first metal bridge – Abraham Darby III [47 ] The first iron-framed building (and therefore forerunner of the skyscraper) -
Ditherington Flax Mill, built by Charles Bage in Shrewsbury, Shropshire The first fireproof warehousing complex -
Albert Dock, Liverpool, designed by Jesse Hartley
Forth Bridge - this monumental cantilever railway bridge, opened in 1890 and icon of Scotland, was designed and engineered by Benjamin Baker and John Fowler
Wind tunnel – Francis Herbert Wenham [13 ]
Bangers and mash
Balti – British-style type of curry, served in many restaurants in the United Kingdom. The origins of the Balti style of cooking are uncertain; some believe it to have been invented in Birmingham, England while others believe it originated in the northern Pakistani region of Baltistan in Kashmir from where it spread to Britain.
Brown Sauce (HP Sauce)
Bubble and squeak
Cheddar cheese – modern cheddar cheese manufacture [49 ] Joseph Harding
Fish and chips
Full English breakfast
Haggis – Normally assumed to be of Scottish origin, but the first known written recipe for a dish of the name (as 'hagese'), made with offal and herbs, is in the verse cookbook Liber Cure Cocorum dating from around 1430 in Lancashire, North-West England. [50 ]
Ice cream – Modern Ice cream 1718 England [51 ]
Kendal mint cake
Lasagne – Contrary to popular belief, the first recipes for a lasagne-styled dish were found in an English 14th Century cookbook called , it was a popular dish during the reign of King Richard II. Forme of Cury
Pancake – Modern pancake, English culinary manuscript 1430 [52 ]
Sandwich – John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich
Scotch egg – Invented by the famous London department store, Fortnum & Mason, in 1738.
Carbonated water, major and defining component of soft drinks – [53 ] Joseph Priestley
Sparkling wine – Christopher Merrett
Steak and kidney pie
Toad in the hole
Worcestershire sauce [54 ]
Household appliances [ edit ]
Industrial processes [ edit ]
Medicine [ edit ]
Military [ edit ]
Musical instruments [ edit ]
Photography [ edit ]
Publishing firsts [ edit ]
Oldest publisher and printer in the world (having been operating continuously since 1584):
Cambridge University Press first book printed in English: "The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye" by Englishman
William Caxton in 1475 First journal in the world exclusively devoted to science and world's longest-running scientific journal: The
( Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society Phil. Trans.) is a scientific journal published by the Royal Society of London. It was established in 1665, [90 ] First
journal club is found in a book of memoirs and letters by the late Sir James Paget, an English surgeon, who describes a group at St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London in the mid-19th century as "a kind of club ... a small room over a baker's shop near the Hospital-gate where we could sit and read the journals." [91 ]
Science [ edit ]
Physical Sciences [ edit ]
In 1600, recognition that the earth was a giant magnet -
William Gilbert. His book, De Magnete, was known all over Europe, and was almost certainly an influence on Galileo. Theories of universal gravitation and optics – Sir
Newton's laws of motion – Sir Isaac Newton Evidence for a wave theory of light; physiological basis of colour vision -
Thomas Young Major contributions to the development of
quantum mechanics; predicted the existence of antimatter - Paul Dirac
Electromagnet – William Sturgeon in 1823. [92 ] Discovery that electric current could be generated by altering magnetic fields (the principle underlying modern power generation) –
Michael Faraday [46 ] Proposition that light and electromagnetism are related –
Michael Faraday [46 ]
Bragg's law and the field of X-ray crystallography, an important tool for elucidating the crystal structure of substances – William Henry Bragg and William Lawrence Bragg [93 ]
Higgs boson - an elementary particle implied by the Higgs Field, proposed in 1964 by Peter Higgs (and others) to explain why fundamental particles (which are theoretically weightless) might have acquired mass after their formation in the Big Bang
Arnold Frederic Wilkins – pioneer in the development of Radar
Hooke's Law (equation describing elasticity) – Robert Hooke [13 ]
Infrared radiation – discovery commonly attributed to William Herschel.
Holography – First developed by Dennis Gabor in Rugby, England. Improved by Nicholas J. Phillips who made it possible to record multi-colour reflection holograms Discovery of the
pion (pi- meson) – Cecil Frank Powell
Hawking radiation – Stephen Hawking Demonstrated that
electric circuits obey the law of the conservation of energy and that electricity is a form of energy First Law of Thermodynamics. The unit of energy, the Joule, is named after him – James Joule
Splitting the atom – John Cockcroft and Irish physicist Ernest Walton Discovery of the
Atom (nuclear model of) – Ernest Rutherford Discovery of the
Proton – Ernest Rutherford Discovery of the
Electron, isotopes and the inventor of the Mass spectrometer – J. J. Thomson Discovery of the
Neutron – James Chadwick
Rayleigh scattering to explain why the sky is blue, and also predicted the existence of surface waves – John Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh [94 ]
Biological Sciences [ edit ]
Geology and Meteorology [ edit ]
Mathematics and Statistics [ edit ]
Astronomy [ edit ]
Discovery of the planet
Uranus and the moons [101 ] Titania, Oberon, Enceladus, Mimas - Sir [102 ] William Herschel Discovery of
Triton and the moons [103 ] Hyperion, Ariel and Umbriel – William Lassell [104 ]
Planetarium – John Theophilus Desaguliers Predicted the existence and location of
Neptune from irregularities in the orbit of Uranus – John Couch Adams [105 ] Important contributions to the development of
radio astronomy – Bernard Lovell [106 ]
Newtonian telescope – Sir Isaac Newton [107 ]
Achromatic doublet lens – John Dollond [108 ] Pioneering theories of
Nucleosynthesis (the formation of chemical elements in stars and supernova); also coined the phrase ' Big Bang' – Fred Hoyle [109 ] First theorised existence of
black holes, binary stars; invented torsion balance – John Michell [110 ]
Stephen Hawking – World-renowned theoretical physicist made many important contributions to the fields of cosmology and quantum gravity, especially in the context of black holes
Spiral galaxies – William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse [111 ] Discovery of
Halley's Comet – Edmond Halley [112 ] Discovery of
pulsars – Antony Hewish [113 ] Discovery of
Sunspots and was the first person to make a drawing of the Moon through a telescope – Thomas Harriot [114 ] The
Eddington limit, the natural limit to the luminosity of stars, or the radiation generated by accretion onto a compact object – Arthur Stanley Eddington [115 ]
Aperture synthesis, used for accurate location and imaging of weak radio sources in the field of Radio astronomy – Martin Ryle and Antony Hewish [116 ]
Chemistry [ edit ]
atomic theory – Considered the father of modern chemistry, John Dalton's experiments with gases led to the development of what is called the modern atomic theory. [47 ] See also [92 ] Dalton's law and Law of multiple proportions – John Dalton [117 ]
Periodic Table – John Newlands. His contribution was to propose the law of octaves, a precursor to the Periodic Law [118 ] Introduced concept of
atomic number to fix inadequacies of Mendeleev's periodic table, which had been based on atomic weight – Henry Moseley [119 ] Proposes the concept of
isotopes, elements with the same chemical properties may have differing atomic weights – Frederick Soddy [47 ] Correct theory of
combustion – Robert Hooke Discovery of
oxygen – Joseph Priestley Discovery of
hydrogen – Henry Cavendish. Described it as a colorless, odourless gas that burns and can form an explosive mixture with air – Henry Cavendish [120 ] Discovery of
argon – John Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh with Scotsman William Ramsay Identification of
helium in the sun (via spectroscopy), ten years before it was found on earth – Norman Lockyer Partition
chromatography – Richard Laurence Millington Synge and Archer J.P. Martin [121 ] Discovery of
Buckminsterfullerene – Sir Harry Kroto [122 ] Discovery of
thallium – William Crookes [47 ] Discovered the structure of
ferrocene – Geoffrey Wilkinson & others [123 ] First isolation of
sodium – Humphry Davy [124 ] First isolation of
potassium – Humphry Davy [47 ] First isolation of
boron – Humphry Davy [47 ] First isolation of
benzene, the first known aromatic hydrocarbon – Michael Faraday [125 ] The first discovery of
aluminium – Sir Humphry Davy Synthesis of
coumarin, one of the first synthetic perfumes, and cinnamic acid via the Perkin reaction - William Henry Perkin The synthesising of
xenon hexafluoroplatinate, the first demonstration that noble gases can form chemical compounds – Neil Bartlett Pioneer of the
fuel cell – Francis Thomas Bacon [126 ] Pioneer in early Solar Power –
Weston cell – Edward Weston (chemist)
Philosophy of Science [ edit ]
Scientific Instruments [ edit ]
Transport [ edit ]
Aviation [ edit ]
Railways [ edit ]
Locomotives [ edit ]
Other railway developments [ edit ]
Bowden cable – Frank Bowden
Cat's eye – Percy Shaw [151 ]
Hansom cab – Joseph Hansom
Seat belt – George Cayley [152 ]
Sinclair C5 – Sir Clive Sinclair Inventor of
tarmac – E. Purnell Hooley Tension-spoke
Wire wheels – George Cayley [145 ]
Belisha beacon – Leslie Hore-Belisha
ThrustSSC jet-propelled car holds the World Land Speed Record, it achieved a speed of 1,228 km/h (763 mph). The car was designed and built in England – ThrustSSC Project director Richard Noble, Designed by Ron Ayers, Glynne Bowsher, Jeremy Bliss and piloted by Andy Green
Lotus 25 Considered the first modern F1 race car designed for the 1962 Formula One season. It was a revolutionary design the first fully stressed monocoque chassis to appear in Formula One – Colin Chapman, Team Lotus
Horstmann suspension, tracked armoured fighting vehicle suspension – Sidney Horstmann Steam
fire engine – John Braithwaite
Safety bicycle – John Kemp Starley & Dan Albone
Penny-farthing – James Starley First
traffic lights installed (gas lamp) – Outside Houses of Parliament, London. 10 December 1868 First automatic
traffic lights installed – Wolverhampton England. 1927 The oldest existing driving school and first formal driving tuition is the British School of Motoring, founded in 1910 in
Peckham, London [153 ]
Miscellaneous [ edit ]
See also [ edit ]
References [ edit ]
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