It is not only the United Kingdom’s cultural heritage we can be proud of, it is also the incredible engineering and manufacturing heritage of this small island.
In agriculture we gave the world Jethro Tull’s improved seed drill and John Fowler’s steam driven ploughing machine; we pioneered selective breeding, artificial selection and Rex Patterson’s dairy farming systems. The first commercially successful light tractor was British, as was hollow pipe draining and the mechanical reaping machine. Even water Desalination was a British invention, by Sir Francis Bacon.
Britain, George Cayley, invented the world’s first successful manned glider; Frank Whittle invented the turbojet engine, Christopher Cockerell invented the hovercraft and Sidney Camm, Ralph Hooper, and Stanley Hooker invented the vertical take-off aircraft.
Everyday gadgets invented in Britain include the Thermos Flask (Sir James Dewar), the Lawnmower (Edwin Beard Budding), float glass (Alastair Pilkington), the Light Bulb (Joseph Swann), the pneumatic tyre (John Boyd Dunlop), the modern fire extinguisher (George William Manby), the steam engine (Richard Trevithick), the Hyperdermic Syringe (Alexander Wood), the collapsible baby buggy (Owen Maclaren), the toothbrush (William Addis) and of course the television (John Logie Baird).
It was Britain’s Tommy Flowers who invented the first electronic programmable computer, the Colossus machine at Bletchley Park, and of course Tim Berners-Lee’s invention of the world wide web was British.
Even today British invention is leading the world with inventions such as graphine.
I am proud to stand the innovative heritage of this Nation alongside any other, no matter how big or small, but it is not just in invention that Britain excels. British science, British sport, British Medicine and British Industry also lead the world and I will look at these in subsequent posts.
What I will say for now though is this, without British inventions this world would be a very different place.