posted on 15th July 2018 by Rebecca Sander
Tampons - The nurses in the first world war were stuffing bullet holes with cotton wool, and thought of another great place to stuff them… voila, the tampon! Yes Florence Nightingale.
Plasters - It seems insane now that people were using honey to bind wounds together when there was cotton and binding right there but we’ve only had the traditional Band-Aid style plaster for one hundred years.
Greenhouses - In the 1800’s sailors were bringing plants back from overseas and finding medicinal uses for them, but they were failing and dying in the european weather. Enter Charles Lucien Bonaporte, botanist extraordinaire, who discovered that creating glass enclosures to control climates meant his pineapples survived the bitter French winter. So not only can you now have a pina colada in Croydon but the beginnings of modern medicine started in a greenhouse.
Avocado Ripeness sticker - Okay it’s not saved the world but for real that’s some tidy shit.
Stethoscope - Before the stethoscopes doctors would just use their fingers to get clues about a patients symptoms, until one man who was pretty woke for the 18th Century decided he didn’t get all handsy with his female patients and used a rolled up tube of paper, and found out this in fact amplified the noise of a persons heartbeat.
The Bra - Mary Phelps couldn’t be dealing with nonsense corsets weighing her down and stopping her from achieving her dreams, so the “backless brassiere” was the solution. During the first world war these exploded in popularity because all of that metal and boning in corsets became more diverted towards the army needs - never mind all those poor ladies with scoliosis.
Ice cream cones - Can you imagine if Ernest Hamwi hadn’t rolled up his waffles in 1904 Worlds Fair in St Louis? Would life be worth living? No.
Tipp-ex - Nesmith Graham was an amazing lady problem-solver who invented liquid paper at home in her kitchen and took it to work as a typist.
London Underground - There’s no space for train tracks, lets put them underground! The story of the Tube is such a Victorian nightmare but we’re still using parts of the original tunnels today!
Tuned Mass Dampers - Don’t know what those are? They’re mind blowing. Basically they’re giant hunks of metal on a long pendulum that they put inside the top of skyscrapers to stop them wobbling apart. Pretty insane, but they allow basically the entire London skyline to exist.