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13 J. Pat. Off. Soc'y 547 (1931)
The Ten Greatest Inventions of Our Time

handle is hein.journals/jpatos13 and id is 567 raw text is: November, 1931, Vol. XIII, No. 11

The Ten Greatest Inventions of Our Time
From the Scientific American, November 1, 1913
Editorial Note: The accompanying essay, reprint-
ed by permission, and in connection with the article
which follows, received the first prize in the contest
for an essay on the subject What Are the Ten
Greatest Inventions of Our Time, and Why?
The contest was open to the whole world and con-
testants from Belgium, England and Malta received
honorable mention. The inventions to be listed
were limited to those of commercial importance and
introduced or patented in the 25 years preceding
the contest date.
Five-and-twenty years ago is a hundred years off-so much has
our social life changed in those five lusters.-Thackeray In The
N O single invention of the last twenty-five years initiated an
industrial epoch in the sense that the locomotive or Bes-
semer converter did, yet no former period has been so rich in
developments of striking importance or so productive of im-
provements whose aggregate so vitally affected our economic and
social life. In this short space of time the dreams of ages have
come true-man has been able to fly, opaque bodies rendered
transparent, and intelligence transmitted between distant points
without material communicating means.
This short quarter century has seen the world-wide acceptance
of electrical transportation, the introduction of high-power gen-
eration and transmission of electricity, the radical changes in
construction due to the use of steel and re-enforced concrete,
and innumerable valuable improvements in chemical and allied
arts. Perfected during this period were such epoch-making in-
ventions as smokeless powder, high-speed steel, contact method
of making sulphuric acid, electrolytic refining of copper, the
quick-acting brake, automatic telephone exchange, centrifugal
cream-separator, tungsten lamp, Diesel oil-motor, and Harvey-
ized armor-plate, which changed existing practices so radically
or induced economics of such vast degree as to make it difficult
to exclude them from any list except by the adoption of a stand-
ard so high as to be unthought of at any other time.
In making a selection from the bewilderingly opulent array of
creative activities of the period, only such inventions were in-

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