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Kristina Mulina

Assistant to Patent Attorney

09 December 2021

Great genius inventions, highly appreciated by people

There are many great inventions globally, but not all of them were appreciated by society immediately after their creation. Some inventions take a long time to be recognized as outstanding in their own right. Below are a few examples of significant inventions for which no one believed they would succeed, but this has not prevented them from having a tremendous impact on society and becoming great.

The telephone.

In 1860, the German physicist and inventor Philipp Reiss designed the first telephone prototype capable of transmitting sound up to 100 meters away. In 1861, Philipp Reiss showed it to the public. Still, communications experts did not support the inventor, saying that it was unpromising, there was no market for it, and besides, there was the telegraph that suited everyone. "Knowledgeable people are well aware that voice cannot be transmitted over wires. Even if it were possible, it wouldn't do any good," the Boston Post wrote in 1865. Reiss' apparatus was the starting point for further developments in this area by other scientists. Then, 15 years later, Alexander Graham Bell created the telephone and became a multimillionaire, an invention that was one of the most revolutionary inventions owned by almost everyone on the planet. In the early days of using this device, though, it was funny to watch people, especially the older generation, as they were afraid to touch the phone and thought they might get an electric shock, or that the phone wires would break, and others would somehow hear their secret conversations. And the most common fear was that "the telephone set was a conduit for evil spirits to escape. That's what they called it the devil's instrument."


The world's first film, Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station, was made and publicly shown by the Lumière brothers in 1896. The film's first screening could hardly be called a success, and on the contrary, it caused panic among the public, who were not ready to perceive the "coming to life" image of a moving train shown life-size on viewers. Even the screen geniuses thought that the cinema was losing badly to the theater and would go bust. "Cinema is an almost fleeting phenomenon. Audiences want to watch live actors on stage," Charlie Chaplin once said.


The invention of television cannot be attributed to one man. The first patent for the still used electronic television technology was received by the professor of St. Petersburg Institute of Technology, Boris Rozing, who filed a patent application for "A method of electric image transmission" on July 25, 1907. He succeeded in transmitting an image at a distance in the form of a grid of four light stripes on a dark background. This was the world's first television transmission. The real breakthrough in the clarity of the image of electronic television, which finally decided in its favor in the competition with mechanical was the "iconoscope" invented in 1931 by Vladimir Zvorykin, a student of Boris Rozing. So through the years television has evolved from mechanical to electronic, from black and white to color, from analog to digital, from simple models to complex ones controlled by remote control and voice. Today's 3D models and home theaters are mesmerizing, forcing us to spend much more time in front of the screen than just one hour a day. Although about a hundred years ago, few people believed that television would be a commercial success. The famous film director, a top manager of film company 20th Century Fox, who played a major role in the formation and development of the American film industry, Darryl F. Zanuck, said in 1946 that “television will inevitably fall out of fashion because people will get tired every night to watch the same wooden box”.

The cell phone.

"I have met many skeptics over the years. They've asked: why are we spending so much money? Are you sure it's really going to do anything worthwhile?". Martin Cooper, the American engineer, and physicist who created the first commercial cell phone said. Despite the negative opinions of others, he did not give up until he had achieved results. He worked for Motorola, which spent 10 years and $100 million developing the first cell phone before selling commercially in 1983. But despite the high cost, already in the first days of sales a huge queue of those wishing to buy the novelty, which weighed 1.15 kg., was the size of 22.5x12.5x3.75 cm, worked in conversation mode for about an hour, charged for 10 hours and had a memory capacity of 30 numbers. Thanks to this invention, the number of cellular communication users already in a few years was estimated in the millions.


"Flying machines heavier than air are impossible!" - was Lord Kelvin, physicist, and president of the Royal Society, in 1895. So believed for a long time, not only him but also many other scientists. In Russia, for example, the practical development of aviation was delayed because of the government's focus on creating airborne flying machines arranged according to the "lighter than air" principle. But this opinion of the majority was not supported by the brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright. They built the world's first airplane that could make a steady, controlled horizontal flight on its own on December 17, 1903. That plane stayed in the air for 12 seconds and flew 36.58 meters. Later on, the improved model of the Wright Brothers on September 20, 1904, for the first time in the world, performed a flight in a circle, and in 1905 - a flight on a closed route length of 39 km. Nowadays, airplanes are very popular, because thanks to this type of transport you can get to almost anywhere in the world in just a few hours.

Based on the examples described above, we can conclude that no matter how unpromising, ridiculous, and even frightening a new invention may seem; it can become great and benefit humanity.

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