Fiberglass

Fiberglass has multiple uses. It acts as an insulator, building material, and even boat hulls. First, in 1870, John Player developed a process to mass-produce glass strands with seam jets used for insulation. By and large, this is arguably the first fiberglass. Eventually, in 1880, Herman Hammesfahr patented weaving glass fibers to silk, making it […]

Aerosol

Aerosols are essentially fog. They’re water-based micro-drops suspended in a gas, which is usually air. In 1926, Norwegian Erik Rotheim developed the first aerosol sprayer. Eventually, he applied for Norwegian and US patents and worked towards commercialization. First, he worked towards aerosolizing paints and varnishes but customers showed no interest. Subsequently, he continued looking for […]

Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS)

MEMS are literally microscopic-machines. The best-known MEMS are the accelerometers that have become ubiquitous in smartphones, allowing precise tracking of movement on the X, Y, and Z-axis. Significantly, MEMS are the reason your phone can sense movement. Additionally, other MEMS devices include miniature microphones, projectors, cameras, and countless others. MEMS were first proposed in 1959 […]

Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET Plastic bottles)

PET plastic reduced the cost and weight of beverage containers. Originally, only glass and metal containers were suitable for storing carbonated drinks. Other plastics would bulge and break. However, PET plastic enabled plastic bottles suitable for carbonated drinks. Soon, it became used for all beverages. In the 1960s, plastics engineer Wyeth questioned whether carbonated drinks […]

Mini Steel Mill (mini-mill)

1969 Ken Iverson “Integrated” steel mills create steel from raw materials. They use the Bessemer process to transform raw materials into enormous amounts of steel. The plants are giant, inflexible, dirty, and expensive to erect and run. Ken Iverson worked at the Nuclear Corporation of America (eventually, Nucor), a conglomerate of assorted businesses pulled together […]

Controlled Drug Delivery

Controlled drug delivery is a simpler and more convenient way to slowly release drugs than taking low-dose pills or injections at frequent intervals. Additionally, it also lowers the risk of incorrect dosage. Zaffaroni invented controlled (slow) release drugs, mimicking the way the body releases hormones. Eventually, he created many pharma companies that went on to […]

Light Emitting Diode (LED)

“New York City and you’re flying in an airplane and you see all these lights. And you think lights, lights, lights, lights, lights.” Nick Holonyak Nick Holonyak Jr.’s mom was an orphan. His dad was a coal miner. After a stint in the mine’s, Nick decided school sounded like a fine idea. Holonyak was the […]

LASER

LASER’s allow light to be intensely focused. There are many uses, from reading digital media at low power to cutting at higher powers. Countless applications rely on LASER technology. In 1957, Arthur Schawlow and Charles Townes, of Bell Labs, worked on an infrared LASER, called an “optical MASER.” They patented the invention in 1958. In […]

Solar Cells

Solar Cells produce electricity from sunlight. Early History In 1873 and 1874, scientists noticed that selenium reacted with light to produce electricity. During the 1870s William Adams and Richard Day proved that light plus selenium generated current. Eventually, famous German scientist Werner von Siemens (founder of Siemens) was excited about the possibility of solar cells […]