Inventions from 18th
to 20th century
Automobile - 1769
For historians who think that early steam-powered road
vehicles fit the bill, the answer is Nicolas-Joseph
Cugnot, a French military engineer who in 1769 built a
steam-powered tricycle for hauling artillery.
The vehicle’s single front wheel performed both
steering and driving functions, and it could travel at
2.25 miles per hour with four passengers aboard for
about 15 minutes.
At that point Cugnot’ s « fardier à vapeur», as it was
known, would need to rest in order to recuperate
enough power to move again.
Hot-air balloon – 1783
The brothers Montgolfier
Joseph and Jacques Etienne Montgolfier were
two French brothers who made the first
successful hot-air balloon. Their first balloon
was launched in December 1782, and
ascended to an altitude of 985 ft. (300 m).
This type of hot-air balloon was called the
It was made of paper and used air heated by
burning wool and moist straw.
The first passengers in a hot-air balloon were
a rooster, a sheep, and a duck, whom the
Montgolfier brothers sent up to an altitude of
1,640 ft. (500 m) on September 19, 1783. The
animals survived the landing.!
This event was observed by King Louis XVI
and Queen Marie Antoinette of France.
The modern parachute
Louis-Sebastien LENORMAND was
invented the modern parachute in the late
18th century (the first jump in 1783).
Two years later, in 1785, he coined the
word "parachute" by hybridizing the
prefix para- for "defence or against," and
the French word fall (chute), to describe
the function of the device. The word
literally means "which protects against a
Also the parachute was a security means
in order to land a hot air balloon.
The metric system - 1790
The metric system was invented in France. In 1790, the
French National Assembly directed the Academy of
Sciences of Paris to standardize the units of measurement.
A committee from the Academy used a decimal system
and defined the meter to be one 10-millionths of the
distance from the equator to the North Pole).
The committee consisted of the mathematicians Jean
Charles de Borda (1733-1799), Joseph-Louis Comte de
Lagrange (1736-1813), Pierre-Simon Laplace (1749-
1827), Gaspard Monge (1746 -1818), and Marie Jean
Antoine Nicholas Caritat, the Marquis de Condorcet
The metric system was passed by law in France on August
The word meter comes from the Greek word metron,
which means measure. The centimetre was defined as
one-hundredth of a meter. The kilometre was defined as
Marquis de Condorcet
Jean Charles de Borda
LAVOISIER- 1787-”father of the modern chemistry
In collaboration with other contemporary chemists,
Lavoisier described a chemical nomenclature
published in the book Method of Chemical
Nomenclature (1787). This system is still largely in
use today, including names such as sulfuric acid,
sulfates and sulfites.
His Elementary Treatise of Chemistry (1789) is
considered the first modern chemical textbook, and
presents a unified view of new theories of chemistry,
provides a clear report of the law of conservation of
Braille – 1829
Braille is a coded system of raised
dots that are used by the blind to
Louis Braille (1809-1852) invented
this system in 1829. Braille
published "The Method of Writing
Words, Music, and Plain Song by
Means of Dots, for Use by the
Blind and Arranged by Them ».
His method is still in use around the
The FRESNEL lens-1822
Fresnel lens was invented by
His challenge was to obtain a
sufficiently light lens, but with a
large diameter, which allows a short
focal length. He solved the problem
by cutting the lens in concentric
rings, which he joined together.
These lenses are aiming to equip
lighthouses and projectors.
Augustin Jean Fresnel
First vaccine – 1879
Louis Pasteur's first vaccine discovery was in 1879,
with a disease called chicken cholera.
After accidentally exposing chickens to the attenuated
form of a culture, he demonstrated that they became
resistant to the actual virus. Pasteur went on to extend
his germ theory to develop causes and vaccinations for
diseases such as cholera, tuberculosis (TB) and
The Stethoscope – 1816
The French physician Rene Laennec
invented the stethoscope at a hospital
in Paris in 1816.
The stethoscope changed how doctors
diagnosed diseases. It was one of the
first non-lethal instruments allowing
doctors to explore internal anatomy.
The cinematograph of the brothers LUMIERE– 1895The Daguerreotype
1839 Louis Lumière and his brother Auguste have
played a major role in the history of cinema.
Not that the Lumière brothers had invented
then overnight the principle of photographic
recording of the movement, nor even the
projection screen motion pictures. These
techniques have already been approached and
experienced by Emile Reynaud and Thomas
Nicknamed "daguerreotype", this process was to
attach the positive image obtained in the camera
obscura on a copper plate coated with a silver
emulsion and developed with iodine vapor.
To obtain for the first time a direct and accurate
reproduction of reality, this invention was
immediately welcomed by the entire scientific
community and cross borders in September 1839
meeting a great success abroad.
In France, the impact of the process was such that the
State decided to buy the patent to pour it into the
On 19th of August 1839,
Daguerre (1787-1851), a
Parisian theater designer,
divulged the first
Assisted by his brother, Louis Lumière did while
making their possible exploitation by the use of a
perforated film and a single interlocking mechanism.
Thus was born the "cinema", the first camera for both
the projection and filming movies. It is one of only 5
kilos camera. Their film « Workers Leaving the
Lumière Factory » was the first film in the history of
film. It was shown in public, the 28 December 1895.
Screencap from Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory in Lyon
Radiotherapy and the first military field radiological centres
Pierre and Marie CURIE– 1903
After the physicist Henri Becquerel, who managed to highlight the
"spontaneous radiation" of uranium (1896), physicists Marie and
Pierre Curie managed to extract uranium ore many elements even
more active, polonium and radium, the origin of this radiation
(1898). The "radioactivity" was born.
In 1903, the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded jointly to Henri
Becquerel for "his discovery of spontaneous radioactivity" and the
Curie for their "joint research on the radiation phenomena
discovered by Professor Becquerel".
In 1914 was founded the Radium Institute (Institute Curie). During
the First World War, Marie Curie organized the first mobile
radiological service. During the first half of the twentieth century,
radium will be mainly used in physics to the study of the structure
of the atomic nucleus and medicine to cure cancer.
BCG Vaccine – 1921
The first successful vaccine against tuberculosis was
developed at the Pasteur Institute by Albert Calmette and
Camille Guerin and announced to the medical community
In the course of their earlier research they had noted that
repeated sub-culturing of the TB bacteria reduced its
virulence, so they purposefully set out to decrease virulence
through sub-culturing to create vaccine.
After almost fifteen years and 230 transplantations of the
bacteria, Calmette and Guerin achieved their goal. By 1921
their test indicated that they had succeeded in producing a
non-virulent strain of bacteria and human trials began in
France, Germany and Canada!
Aqualung – 1943
The aqualung is a breathing apparatus that
supplied oxygen to divers and allowed them
to stay underwater for several hours.
It was invented in 1943 by Jacques-Yves
Cousteau (1910 -1997) and the French
engineer Emile Gagnan.
Among the innovations in their device was a
mechanism that provided inhalation and
exhaust valves at the same level. That
summer, the new device was tested in the
Mediterranean Sea down to 210 ft. (68 m) by
Cousteau, Philippe Tailliez, and Frédérik
This device was the first modern scuba
Jean Yves Cousteau
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