English Inventors and Inventions


Seed drill – Jethro Tull.


Discovery of the planet Uranusand the moons Titania, Oberon, Enceladus, Mimas by Sir William Herschel


Marsh test for Arsenic – James Marsh
Dalton’s law and Law of multiple proportions – John Dalton
Discovery of Buckminsterfullerene – Sir Harry Kroto
First isolation of Sodium – Humphry Davy


Uniform Penny Post – Rowland Hill et al.
Clockwork radio – Trevor Baylis


Analytical engine  – Sir Charles Babbage
ACE and Pilot ACE – Alan Turing
Bombe – Alan Turing
Colossus computer  – Tommy Flowers
Difference engine  – Sir Charles Babbage
World Wide Web  – Sir Tim Berners-Lee
ZX Spectrum – Sir Clive Sinclair

Clock making

Anchor escapement – Robert Hooke
Grasshopper escapement, Gridiron pendulum, H1, H2, H3 and H4 watches (a watch built to solve the longitude measurement problem) – John Harrison

Clothing manufacturing

Richard Arkwright – inventor of the first industrial spinning machine
Derby Rib (stocking manufacture) – Jedediah Strutt

Flying shuttle – John Kay
Mauveine, the first synthetic organic dye – William Henry Perkin
Power loom – Edmund Cartwright
Spinning frame – John Kay
Spinning jenny – James Hargreaves
Spinning mule – Samuel Crompton
Polyester – John Rex Whinfield



Playfair cipher – Charles Wheatstone



Famous English engineers include Isambard Kingdom Brunel, (pictured left) best known for the creation of the Great Western Railway, a series of famous steamships, and numerous important bridges, hence revolutionising public transport and modern-day engineering.
Adjustable spanner – Edwin Beard Budding
Cavity Magnetron – Dr Harry Boot
First coke-consuming blast furnace – Abraham Darby I
First working universal joint – Robert Hooke
First Compression-Ignition engine aka Diesel Engine – Herbert_Akroyd_Stuart
Steam Engine – Thomas Savery
Newcomen steam engine – Thomas Newcomen
Modified version of the Newcomen steam engine (Pickard engine) – James Pickard
Pendulum Governor – Frederick Lanchester
The first screw-cutting lathe – Henry Maudslay
Disc Brakes – Frederick Williams
Internal combustion engine – Samuel Brown
Jet Engine – Sir Frank Whittle



Bird’s Custard – Alfred Bird
Sandwich – John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich


Household appliances

Ballbarrow – James Dyson
Collapsible baby buggy – Owen Maclaren
Dyson DC01 – James Dyson
Fire extinguisher – George William Manby
Lawn mower – Edwin Beard Budding
Rubber band – Stephen Perry
Light Bulb – Joseph Wilson Swan
Tin Can – Peter Durand
Corkscrew – Reverend Samuell Henshall
Mouse trap – James Henry Atkinson
Sewing machine – Thomas Saint
Postage Stamp – Rowland Hill
Toilet Paper – British Perforated Paper Company
Vacuum cleaner – Hubert Cecil Booth


Industrial processes

English crucible steel – Benjamin Huntsman
Steel production Bessemer process – Henry Bessemer
Hydraulic press – Joseph Bramah
Parkesine, the first man-made plastic – Alexander Parkes
Portland cement – Joseph Aspdin
Sheffield plate – Thomas Boulsover
Water frame – Richard Arkwright
Stainless Steel – Harry Brearley
Rubber Masticator – Thomas Hancock



First correct description of circulation of the blood – William Harvey
Smallpox vaccine – Edward Jenner
Antisepsis in surgery – Joseph Lister
Artificial intraocular lens transplant surgery for cataract patients – Harold Ridley
Clinical thermometer – Thomas Clifford Allbutt.
Colour blindness first described by John Dalton in Extraordinary facts relating to the vision of colours
Computed Tomography – Godfrey Newbold Hounsfield
Viagra – Peter Dunn, Albert Wood, Dr Nicholas Terrett
EKG (underlying principles) – various



Congreve rocket – William Congreve
High explosive squash head – Sir Charles Dennistoun Burney
Puckle Gun – James Puckle
Shrapnel shell – Henry Shrapnel
Dreadnought Battleship
Bailey Bridge – Donald Bailey



Davy lamp – Humphry Davy
Geordie lamp – George Stephenson


Musical instruments

Concertina – Charles Wheatstone



Ambrotype – Frederick Scott Archer
Calotype – William Fox Talbot
Collodion process – Frederick Scott Archer
Stereoscope – Charles Wheatstone



Sir Isaac Newton

Newtonian telescope – Sir Isaac Newton
Compound microscope with 30x magnification – Robert Hooke
Universal Joint – Robert Hooke
The Iris diaphragm – Robert Hooke
Anchor escapement and the balance spring, which made more accurate clocks possible – Robert Hooke
Correct theory of combustion – Robert Hooke
Barometer, anemometer, and hygrometer (invented or improved) – Robert Hooke
Hooke’s Law (equation describing elasticity) – Robert Hooke
Electrical generator (dynamo) – Michael Faraday
Galvanometer – William Sturgeon
Infrared radiation – discovery commonly attributed to William Herschel.

Micrometer – Sir William Gascoigne
the first bench micrometer that was capable of measuring to one ten thousandth of an inch – Henry Maudslay
Sinclair Executive, the world’s first small electronic pocket calculator – Sir Clive Sinclair
Slide rule – William Oughtred
Synthesis of coumarin, one of the first synthetic perfumes, and cinnamic acid via the Perkin reaction- William Henry Perkin
The Law of Gravity – Sir Isaac Newton
Newton’s laws of motion – Sir Isaac Newton
DNA fingerprinting – Sir Alec Jeffreys
Smallpox Vaccination – Edward Jenner
Electromagnet – William Sturgeon
Dew Point Hygrometer – John Frederic Daniell
Periodic Table – John Alexander Newlands
Seismograph – John Milne
Theory of Evolution – Charles Darwin
Orbital Theory of the Atom – Ernest Rutherford



Famous English engineers include Isambard Kingdom Brunel, best known for the creation of the Great Western Railway, a series of famous steamships, and numerous important bridges, hence revolutionising public transport and modern-day engineering.




First working railway steam locomotive – Richard Trevithick
Blücher – George Stephenson
Puffing Billy -William Hedley
Locomotion No 1 – Robert Stephenson
Sans Pareil – Timothy Hackworth
Stephenson’s Rocket – George and Robert Stephenson

Other railway developments
Displacement lubricator, Ramsbottom safety valve, the water trough, the split piston ring – John Ramsbottom



Bowden cable – Frank Bowden
Cat’s eye – Percy Shaw
Caterpillar track – Sir George Cayley
Hansom cab – Joseph Hansom
Seat belt – George Cayley
Sinclair C5 – Sir Clive Sinclair
Tarmac – E. Purnell Hooley
Belisha beacon – Leslie Hore-Belisha


Plimsol line – Samuel Plimsoll
Hovercraft – Christopher Cockerell
Lifeboat – Lionel Lukin
Resurgam – George Garrett
Submarine – William Bourne


Aeronautics and flight – George Cayley
Jet Engine – Sir Frank Whittle


Football – Rules as know today were established in 1848 at Cambridge University
Rugby – William Webb Ellis


Daylight saving time – William Willett
Bayko – Charles Plimpton
Linoleum – Frederick Walton
Meccano – Frank Hornby
Crossword puzzle – Arthur Wynne
Gas Mask – John Tyndall and others
Steel-ribbed Umbrella – Samuel Fox