Influential Inventions: 6 Inventions That Changed the World

Influential Inventions: 6 Inventions That Changed the World

There are many inventions that have shaped the world we live in today that are difficult to imagine life without. Take a look at our list of 6 of the most influential inventions and find out more about their origins.

The Wheel – 3500 BC

The wheel is something we take completely for granted today, but without it the way we transport goods and travel around the world would be completely different. For example, without the wheel we wouldn’t have carts, carriages, bicycles or cars. The wheel is thought to have been invented by the Mesopotamian civilisations in West Asia. The first wheels were made of solid pieces of wood and were used for horse drawn carts and pottery wheels. More advanced spoked wheels were created later in 1500 BC, and tyres were invented in 1846.

The Printing Press - 1436

The printing press was invented by Johannes Gutenberg in around 1436. The printing press revolutionised the way that reading materials were created and improved communications around the world. Before the printing press, texts had to be written by hand; a time-consuming process that could only be completed by literate scribes. The printing press sped up this process and impacted all areas of society on a huge scale. For example, it impacted religion as it allowed for easier production and distribution of religious texts. It also resulted in increased literacy around the world as books were more widely available. Industrial printing presses were invented in 1800 and went on to revolutionise journalism and media as newspapers were able to be mass produced and distributed.

Cameras - 1839

The original concept behind the camera originates from the camera obscura – an image projector that came into use in around 1550. However, the images created by the camera obscura could not be preserved and were simply used to help produce more accurate drawings. The first ever photograph was taken in 1825 by Nicéphore Niépce, capturing the view from his window. 14 years later in 1839, the first ever commercial camera was produced. Since then, cameras have become increasingly more advanced - from film cameras to digital cameras to carrying cameras around in our mobile phones.

The Telephone - 1876

The telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876. Before the telephone was invented, long distance communication was made through telegrams or letters. Letters took days and sometimes weeks to be delivered, and telegrams could take hours to reach the recipient. The telephone allowed people to communicate instantly and in real time, something that had not been achieved before. Like the printing press, the telephone contributed to the rise of globalisation by allowing information to be quickly and easily transmitted from one location to another.

Computers – 1822

Computers were invented in 1822 by Charles Babbage. However, they were not actually built due to a lack of funding. The first mechanical computer was built over 100 years later by Konrad Zuse. Alan Turing went on to design the Colossus computer in 1943, which became the first fully programmable computer.

The first commercially available PC (Personal Computer) was released in 1975: The IBM 500. Since then, computers have become increasingly important in our everyday lives - helping us to solve problems quickly and access information.                

The Internet – 1983

The Internet as we know it today was created by Vinton Cerf and Bob Kahn in 1983. However, there is no single group or individual that can be credited with creating the internet, as there are many different layers to its creation. For example, the World Wide Web, which is used to navigate websites (and is what you’re using right now!) was created by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989. If you’d like to learn more about the creation of the internet, check out our History of the Internet blog post here.


The inventions listed above have each had an impact on the way that the world works today. They have changed the way we communicate with each other, distribute goods around the world and share information on a large scale. Which invention do you think is the most influential - and what do you think will be the next big invention that changes the world