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Best Inventions of the 1800s


Here at Flex Technologies, we consider ourselves on the cutting edge of innovation in silicone tube and hose manufacturing. That is why our silicone products see use in every industry from agriculture to aerospace. Being at the forefront of a technology really makes you appreciate all the people who came before you. We didn't invent the machines that we use, but we do try to improve on them and their processes. Here, we would like to tip our hat to the inventors of the past with a list of some of the best inventions in the 1800s.


  • This is the year that J.M. Jacquard invented the Jacquard Loom. This greatly increased the design capabilities of weaving, allowing for much more complex patterns. The invention used cards with patterns of holes in them to guide the design.
  • Also this year, a huge invention came to fruition from Count Alessandro Volta, who invented the electric battery. It used a voltaic pile, the first of its kind, to generate electricity through alternating discs of zing and copper.


  • Gas lighting was patented for the first time in 1804 by Freidrich Winzer. Gas lighting is exactly what it sounds, producing light through the combustion of gas.
  • Also in 1804, the first steam powered locomotive was developed by Richard Trevithick. Although, take this invention with a grain of salt, because it was so heavy it broke the rails it rode on. However, the design was essentially the same as later, working steam powered locomotives.


  • The arc lamp was invented in this year by Humphry Davy. It was the first electric light to ever be produced. It uses an electric arc (electricity passing through air between two conductors), or voltaic arc, to produce light. 


  • Few inventions had as much of an impact on modern society as the printing press, invented in East Asia some time before 1234. It was the German born Frederick Koenig, however, that improved its efficacy, and greatly increased the production capacity of the printing press.
  • A less impressive maybe, but still just as important invention from 1810 is the tin can. Invented by Peter Durand, the tin can revolutionized our ability to preserve food.


  • While Richard Trevithick may be credited with inventing the first steam powered locomotive, George Stephenson is credited making steam locomotion feasible. His rail gauge (5 feet and 8 1/2 inches) is known as the Stephenson Gauge, and is still the standard gauge for more railway systems around the world.
  • Plastic surgery was also invented in this year. London anatomist and surgeon Joseph Constantine Carpue performed this surgery on a British military officer at the Duke of York hospital, located in Chelsea, England.
  • For the more scientifically minded people out there, in 1814 Joseph von Fraunhofer invented the first spectroscope. A spectroscope is a tool for obtaining a chemical analysis of glowing objects.


  • 1834 was the year that Henry Blair patented his corn planter. Henry Blair was an African American, and the second black person in history to ever receive a United States Patent.


  • The wonderful leisure activity of biking owes a great debt to Kirkpatrick Macmillan, who first invented the bicycle in the year 1839.
  • On another level of complexity, but during the same year, a Welshman named Sir William Robert Grove first conceived of the concept for the hydrogen fuel cell.


  • This is the year that Elias Howe invented the first sewing machine. This was an integral invention for expanding the availability of life saving clothing around the world.


  • Patients around the world can rejoice that the first ever use of anesthesia took place all the way back in 1846, when Dr. William Morton used it for a tooth extraction. He used inhaled ether to put his patient under.


  • In 1850, the precursor to the modern dishwasher was patented by one Joel Houghton. It was a simple machine made of wood. The user would hand turn a wheel, which constantly splashed water onto dishes. It barely worked, however, and wasn't improved upon until 1886 by Josephine Cochran.


  • This was the year that Alfred Nobel invented dynamite. You may recognize the name; it is the same Alfred Nobel who created the Nobel Prize. 
  • This same year, an Englishman named Robert Whitehead invented the first torpedo.


  • 1867 was the year that Christopher Scholes first invented the typewriter. While there were other typewriters before, Scholes' was the first that was both practical and functional. Obviously, the typewriter greatly increased the ability of people to churn out writing.


  • 1876 was a great year for inventors. It was the year that Alexander Graham Bell first patented the telephone.
  • It was also the year the Nicolaus August Otto invented the first internal combustion engine. This was a four-stroke engine that actually functioned.
  • Not quite as impressive, but still a great invention, Melville Bissel invented the carpet sweeper this year as well.


  • This was the year that Thomas Edison invented the cylinder phonograph, also known as the tin foil phonograph. A phonograph is a device that records and transmits sounds mechanically.
  • Moving pictures (movies) were also invented this year by Eadweard Muybridge.

Hopefully these facts proved interesting. We are always trying to improve on inventions of the past, at least the ones pertinent to silicone product manufacturing. If you are looking for silicone hoses or tubes online, Flex Technologies is the company to call. We can do custom hose and tube designs as well, just reach out to our engineering department. Wholesale and distributor options are also available. If you would like to know more about any of this, please do not hesitate to give us a call at your earliest convenience. One of our friendly and knowledgeable representatives will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.