Stock Ticker / Ticker Tape

Both the ticker and ticker tape lowered the cost of transmitting stock prices by eliminating the need for a person to translate them to and from Morse Code. Subsequently, this innovation served as a bridge from specialists required to send and receive telegraph messages to plain-text transmissions. Edward Calahan saw people rushing from the floor […]


Typewriters vastly lower the cost of producing readable text. Before the typewriter people would have to either write carefully (slowly) or hire a calligrapher. Mill patented the first typewriter in 1714. Nothing more is known about him; he has disappeared into history. Christopher Sholes invented the QWERTY keyboard and typewriter ー the first commercially successful […]

Transatlantic Cables

Transatlantic cables shrunk the world, vastly increasing the speed and lowering the cost of intercontinental communications. The first cable functioned only a few weeks. Transmissions, in Morse Code, were especially slow. Field, as a young businessman, joined a paper company that failed six months later. Despite his status as a young employee, with no responsibility […]

Rotary Printing Press (Web Offset)

Rotary web printing presses revolutionized newspaper publishing. The technology enabled larger, faster newspaper printing at a far lower cost. However, digital distribution of news via the world wide web has dramatically decreased demand for paper newspapers. Hoe’s web press printed in a continuous sheet, a roll, then machines cut the paper into sheets. When connected […]

Facsimile (FAX) Machine

Alexander Bain created a telegraph that transmitted light and dark dots that were reproduced on the other side, the fax machine, long before the telephone. Early faxes were popular with newspapers due to their ability to quickly transmit crude images. Countless modifications and improvements followed over the years. Despite the obvious differences in the innovation, […]

Braille Writing

1829 Louis BrailleCharles Barbier Most of the innovations on Innowiki are for-profit inventions. While it could be argued that Braille’s writing technique opened new markets, the size of that market was limited to blind people. However, the impact of the innovation — a process enabling the disabled to regain one of the most important human […]


Lithography allows highly detailed drawings to be inexpensively reproduced at high volumes. Before lithography, printing remained similar from Gutenberg until Senefelder’s lithographic process. Senefelder worked as an actor and playwright. Unable to earn a living, he turned to printing as a trade but could not afford the typographic fonts and materials. Frustrated, he started experimenting […]

Postal System

1497 Franz von TaxisHenry BishopRowland HillWilliam Dockwra Franz von Taxis created the postal system, with regular routes between far-flung cities throughout Europe. Eventually, von Taxis mail routes included mail delivery between Brussels and: Innsbruck, 5.5 days (6.5 days winter) Paris, 44 hours (54 hours winter) Blois, 2.5 days (3 days winter) Lyon, 4 days (5 […]