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English inventions and discoveries

English inventions and discoveries are objects, processes or techniques which owe their existence either partially or entirely to a person born in England; in some cases, their Englishness is determined by the fact that they were born in England, of non-English people working in the country. Often, things which are discovered for the first time, are also called "inventions", and in many cases, there is no clear line between the two.

The following is a list of inventions or discoveries often held to be in some way English:



  • Seed drill - Jethro Tull [1]
  • Steam-driven ploughing engine - John Fowler
  • Pioneer of selective breeding and artificial selection - Robert Bakewell
  • superphosphate or chemical fertilizer - John Bennet Lawes
  • Pioneer of the development in dairy farming systems - Rex Paterson
  • The first commercially successful light farm tractor - Dan Albone


  • Discovery of the planet Uranus[2] and the moons Titania, Oberon, Enceladus, Mimas [3] by Sir William Herschel
  • Discovery of Triton and the moons Hyperion, Ariel and Umbriel - William Lassell
  • planetarium - John Theophilus Desaguliers
  • Predicts the existence and location of Neptune from irregularities in the orbit of Uranus - John Couch Adams
  • Bernard Lovell - Important contributions to the development of radio astronomy
  • Newtonian telescope - Sir Isaac Newton
  • Stephen Hawking - World-renowned theoretical physicist made many important contributions to the fields of cosmology and quantum gravity, especially in the context of black holes
  • Spiral galaxies - William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse
  • Discovery of Halley's Comet - Edmond Halley
  • Discovery of pulsars - Antony Hewish
  • Discovery of Sunspots - Thomas Harriot
  • Aperture synthesis, used for accurate location and imaging of weak radio sources in the field of Radio astronomy - Martin Ryle and Antony Hewish


  • Marsh test for Arsenic - James Marsh
  • Dalton's law and Law of multiple proportions - John Dalton
  • The structure of DNA and pioneering the field of molecular biology - co-developed by Francis Crick and the American James Watson
  • DNA sequencing by chain termination - Frederick Sanger
  • Discovery of introns in eukaryotic DNA and the mechanism of gene-splicing - Richard J. Roberts
  • Discovey of Buckminsterfullerene - Sir Harry Kroto
  • Discovered the structure of ferrocene - Geoffrey Wilkinson & others
  • First isolation of Sodium - Humphry Davy
  • First isolation of benzene, the first known aromatic hydrocarbon - Michael Faraday
  • Publishes several Aristotelian commentaries, an early framework for the scientific method - Robert Grosseteste
  • Publishes The Proficience and Advancement of Learning, what would later be known as the scientific method - Sir Francis Bacon
  • The first discovery of aluminium - Sir Humphry Davy
  • Pioneer in early Solar Power - Weston cell - Edward Weston (chemist)
  • Proposes the concept of isotopes, elements with the same chemical properties may have differing atomic weights - Frederick Soddy
  • The synthesising of xenon hexafluoroplatinate the first time to show that noble gases can form chemical compounds - Neil Bartlett
  • Callendar effect the theory that linked rising carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere to global temperature (Global warming) - Guy Stewart Callendar
  • Pioneer of the fuel cell - Francis Thomas Bacon
  • Pioneer of Meteorology by developing a nomenclature system for clouds which was proposed in an 1802 - Luke Howard
  • Rayleigh scattering explains why the sky is blue, and predicted the existence of the surface waves - John Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh


  • Uniform Penny Post - Rowland Hill et al.
  • Pencil - Cumbria, England
  • Clockwork radio [4] - Trevor Baylis
  • The World Wide Web - Sir Tim Berners-Lee
  • The first Radio transmission using a Spark Transmitter, achieving a range of approximately 500 metres. - David E. Hughes
  • Discovered electromagnetic induction & Faraday's law of induction, experiments that discovered that light was some kind of wave connected with electricity or magnetism, which would become some of the first experiments in the discovery of radiowaves and the development of radio - Michael Faraday
  • Pioneer in the development of radio communication - William Eccles
  • The world's first radio station on the Isle of Wight
  • On December 2, 1922, in Sorbonne, France, Edwin Belin, an Englishman demonstrated a mechanical scanning device that was an early precursor to modern television
  • The first pocket sized handheld television, the MTV-1 - Sir Clive Sinclair
  • Pioneering work on the development of the long-lasting materials that made today's liquid crystal displays possible - Developed by Scotsman George Gray and Englishman Ken Harrison In conjunction with the Royal Radar Establishment at Malvern, Worcestershire and at the University of Hull
  • 405-line television system was the first fully electronic television system to be used in regular broadcasting - Alan Blumlein
  • The world's first public broadcasts of high-definition television were made from Alexandra Palace, North London in 1936 - BBC Television Service
  • The first commercially successful electric telegraph - Sir Charles Wheatstone and Sir William Fothergill Cooke in 1837
  • Pioneer of stereo - Alan Blumlein
  • Microphone - Charles Wheatstone
  • Pitman Shorthand - Isaac Pitman
  • Discovered the photoconductivity of the element selenium. This discovery led to the invention of photoelectric cells (solar panels), including those used in the earliest television systems - Willoughby Smith in 1873
  • Proposed the existence of the Kennelly–Heaviside layer, a layer of ionised gas that reflects radio waves around the Earth's curvature - Oliver Heaviside
  • Important improvements of the facsimile machine (Fax Machine) - Frederick Bakewell
  • The first SMS message was sent over the Vodafone GSM network in 1992 - Neil Papworth
  • Typewriter - Henry Mill
  • the world's first automatic totalisator - George Julius
  • pioneer in the use of fiber optics in telecommunications - Charles K Kao and George Hockham
  • Teletext Information Service - The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)


  • Analytical engine [5] - Sir Charles Babbage
  • ACE and Pilot ACE [6] - Alan Turing
  • Bombe [6] - Alan Turing
  • Colossus computer [7] Colossus computers were the first electronic digital programmable computers. They used vacuum tubes and binary representation of numbers - Tommy Flowers
  • Difference engine [5] - Sir Charles Babbage
  • First programmer - Ada Lovelace
  • Boolean algebra, the basis for digital logic - George Boole
  • World Wide Web [8] - Sir Tim Berners-Lee
  • Sumlock ANITA calculator the world's first all-electronic desktop calculator - Bell Punch Co
  • Sinclair Executive, the world's first small electronic pocket calculator - Sir Clive Sinclair
  • Osborne 1 The first commercially successful portable computer, the precursor to the Laptop computer - Adam Osborne
  • Designed what was the first laptop computer, the GRiD Compass in 1979 - Bill Moggridge
  • heavily involved in the development of the Linux kernel - Andrew Morton & Alan Cox
  • Sinclair ZX80, ZX81 and ZX Spectrum - Sir Clive Sinclair
  • Flip-flop (electronics) circuit, which became the basis of electronic memory (Random-access memory) in computers - William Eccles and F. W. Jordan
  • Universal Turing machine - The UTM model is considered to be the origin of the "stored program computer" used by John von Neumann in 1946 for his "Electronic Computing Instrument" that now bears von Neumann's name: the von Neumann architecture, also UTM is considered to be the conception of the operating system - Alan Turing
  • The development of packet switching co-invented by Welshman Donald Davies and American Paul Baran - National Physical Laboratory, London England
  • The first person to conceptualise the Integrated Circuit - Geoffrey W.A. Dummer
  • Manchester Small-Scale Experimental Machine - (SSEM), nicknamed Baby. Was the world's first stored-program computer. Developed by Frederic Calland Williams & Tom Kilburn
  • Williams tube - a cathode ray tube used to electronically store binary data (Can store roughly 500 to 1,000 bits of data) - Freddie Williams & Tom Kilburn
  • Manchester Mark 1 Historically significant computer because of its pioneering inclusion of index registers - Freddie Williams and Tom Kilburn
  • Autocode regarded as the first ever computer compiler in 1952 for the Manchester Mark 1 computer - Alick Glennie
  • Developed the concept of microprogramming from the realisation that the Central Processing Unit (CPU) of a computer could be controlled by a miniature, highly specialised computer program in high-speed ROM - Maurice Wilkes in 1951
  • Ferranti Mark 1 - Also known as the Manchester Electronic Computer was the first computer to use the principles of early CPU design (Central processing unit) - Freddie Williams and Tom Kilburn - Also the world's first successful commercially available general-purpose electronic computer.
  • The oldest known recordings of computer generated music were played by the Ferranti Mark 1 computer - Christopher Strachey
  • EDSAC was the first complete, fully functional computer to use the von Neumann architecture, the basis of every modern computer - Maurice Wilkes
  • The first graphical computer game OXO on the EDSAC at Cambridge University - A.S. Douglas
  • The worlds first computer game with 3D graphics - Elite (video game) Developed by David Braben and Ian Bell in 1984
  • Metrovick 950 was the first commercial transistor computer built in 1959 - Metropolitan-Vickers company
  • LEO (computer) Made history by running the first business application (payroll system) on an electronic computer in 1951 for J. Lyons and Co - Maurice Wilkes
  • Atlas Computer, it was arguably the world's first supercomputer and was the fastest computer in the world until the release of the American CDC 6600 Also This machine introduced many modern architectural concepts: spooling, interrupts, pipelining, interleaved memory, virtual memory and paging - Team headed by Tom Kilburn
  • The worlds first web browser called WorldWideWeb that ran on the NeXTSTEP platform. It was later renamed Nexus to avoid confusion with the World Wide Web - Sir Tim Berners-Lee
  • digital audio player (MP3 Player) - Kane Kramer
  • Touchpad Pointing device - First developed for Psion PLC's Psion MC 200/400/600/WORD Series in 1989
  • The world's first handheld computer (Psion Organiser) - Psion PLC
  • The first rugged computer - Husky (computer)
  • First PC-compatible palmtop computer (Atari Portfolio) - Ian Cullimore
  • Denotational semantics - Christopher Strachey pioneer in programming language design
  • Wolfram's 2-state 3-symbol Turing machine - Stephen Wolfram

Clock making

  • Anchor escapement [9] - Robert Hooke
  • Atomic clock with improved accuracy - Louis Essen
  • Balance spring [10] - Robert Hooke
  • Balance wheel - Robert Hooke
  • Co-axial escapement - George Daniels
  • Grasshopper escapement, Gridiron pendulum, H1, H2, H3 and H4 watches (a watch built to solve the longitude measurement problem)[11] - John Harrison
  • Gridiron pendulum - John Harrison
  • Lever escapement The greatest single improvement ever applied to pocket watches - Thomas Mudge
  • Marine chronometer - John Harrison

Clothing manufacturing


  • Police - Robert Peel
  • DNA fingerprinting - Sir Alec Jeffreys
  • The world's first national DNA database developed in 1995
  • Devised a method for classifying fingerprints that proved useful in forensic science - Francis Galton
  • Iris recognition - John Daugman
  • Chemist who developed the Marsh test for detecting arsenic poisoning - James Marsh



  • Adjustable spanner - Edwin Beard Budding
  • Cavity Magnetron - Dr Harry Boot
  • Electric Transformer - Michael Faraday
  • First coke-consuming blast furnace - Abraham Darby I
  • First working universal joint - Robert Hooke
  • Produced the first commercial steel alloy in 1868 - Robert Forester Mushet
  • Crookes tube the first Cathode ray tubes - William Crookes
  • First Compression ignition engine aka the 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
  • Steam turbine - Charles Algernon Parsons
  • Coinventor of the transistor - William Shockley
  • Pendulum Governor - Frederick Lanchester
  • High strength carbon fiber - Royal Aircraft Establishment in 1963 - Also on January 14, 1969 Carr Reinforcements (Stockport, England) wove the first carbon fiber fabric in the world
  • The first screw-cutting lathe - Henry Maudslay
  • Disc Brakes - Frederick Williams
  • Internal combustion engine - Samuel Brown
  • Fourdrinier machine - Henry Fourdrinier
  • Microchip - Geoffrey W.A. Dummer
  • light-emitting diode - H. J. Round
  • Turbo Jet engine - Sir Frank Whittle
  • Francis turbine - James B. Francis
  • Gas turbine - John Barber (engineer)
  • Two-stroke engine - Dugald Clerk and Joseph Day
  • Pioneer of radio guidance systems - Archibald Low
  • Screw-cutting lathe - Henry Hindley
  • The first electrical measuring instrument, the electroscope - William Gilbert
  • Slide rule - William Oughtred
  • Devised a standard for screw threads leading to its widespread acceptance - Joseph Whitworth
  • The Wimshurst machine is an Electrostatic generator for producing high voltages - James Wimshurst
  • Hot bulb engine or heavy oil engine - Herbert Akroyd Stuart
  • Hydraulic crane - William George Armstrong
  • Vacuum diode also known as a Vacuum tube - John Ambrose Fleming
  • Linear motor is a multi-phase alternating current (AC) electric motor - Charles Wheatstone then improved by Eric Laithwaite
  • Designed water and sewerage systems for over 30 cities across Europe - William Lindley
  • The Iron Bridge (1791), the first metal bridge of any kind - Abraham Darby III


  • Apple Pie
  • Bangers and mash
  • Bird's Custard - Alfred Bird
  • Black Pudding
  • Branston Pickle
  • Brown Sauce (HP Sauce)
  • Bubble and Squeak
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Cornish pasty
  • Cottage pie
  • Cumberland sausage
  • Eccles cake
  • English mustard
  • Fish and Chips
  • Full English breakfast
  • Gravy
  • Haggis - Normally assumed to be Scottish but the first known written recipe for a dish of the name (as 'hagese'), made with offal and herbs, is in the verse cookbook Liber Cure Cocorum dating from around 1430 in Lancashire, North-West England.[12]
  • Jellied eels
  • Kendal mint cake
  • Lancashire hotpot
  • Lincolnshire sausage
  • Marmite
  • Parkin
  • Pasty
  • Piccalilli
  • Pork pie
  • Sandwich - John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich
  • Scouse
  • Shepherd's pie
  • Spotted Dick
  • Steak and kidney pie
  • Sunday roast
  • Toad in the hole
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Yorkshire Pudding

Household appliances

  • Ballbarrow - James Dyson
  • Collapsible baby buggy - Owen Maclaren
  • Dyson DC01 - James Dyson
  • Fire extinguisher - George William Manby
  • Folding carton - Charles Henry Foyle
  • Lawn mower - Edwin Beard Budding
  • Rubber band - Stephen Perry
  • Electric battery - John Frederic Daniell
  • Light Bulb - Joseph Wilson Swan
  • Tin can - Peter Durand
  • Light switch - Invented by John Holmes in 1884
  • Corkscrew - Reverend Samuell Henshall
  • Mouse trap - James Henry Atkinson
  • Sewing machine - Thomas Saint
  • Postage Stamp - Rowland Hill
  • Vacuum cleaner (not the first vac cleaner, but electric version) - Hubert Cecil Booth
  • Flushing toilet - Thomas Crapper and John Harington
  • The pay toilet - John Nevil Maskelyne, Maskelyne invented a lock for London toilets which required a penny to operate, hence the euphemism "spend a penny".
  • Electric Toaster - Rookes Evelyn Bell Crompton
  • Teasmade - Albert E. Richardson
  • Magnifying glass - Roger Bacon
  • Thermosiphon which forms the basis of most modern central heating systems - Thomas Fowler
  • Automatic electric kettle - Russell Hobbs

Industrial processes


  • 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. [13]
  • Colour blindness first described by John Dalton in Extraordinary facts relating to the vision of colours [14]
  • Credited with discovering how to culture embryonic stem cells in 1981 - Martin Evans
  • Carried out ground breaking research on the use of penicillin in the treatment of venereal disease with the Scottish scientist Sir Alexander Fleming in London - Jack Suchet
  • Pioneer of anaesthesia and epidemiology for locating the source of cholera - John Snow (physician)
  • pioneered the use of sodium cromoglycate as a remedy for asthma - Roger Altounyan
  • The first scientist to demonstrate that a cancer may be caused by an environmental carcinogen and one of the founders of orthopedy - Percivall Pott
  • Performed the first blood transfusion - James Blundell
  • Discovered the active ingredient of Aspirin - Edmund Stone
  • Discovery of Protein crystallography - Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin
  • The world’s first successful stem cell transplant and the first British Bone Marrow Transplant using bone marrow from a matching sibling - John Raymond Hobbs
  • Pioneer of the treatment of epilepsy - Edward Henry Sieveking
  • Computed Tomography (CT scanner) - Godfrey Newbold Hounsfield
  • Gray's Anatomy widely regarded as the first complete human anatomy textbook - Henry Gray
  • Discovered Parkinson's disease - James Parkinson
  • General anaesthetic - Pionered by Scotsman James Young Simpson and Englishman John Snow
  • Contributed to the development of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - Sir Peter Mansfield
  • The development of in vitro fertilization - Patrick Christopher Steptoe and Robert Geoffrey Edwards
  • First test-tube baby- Louise Brown, born July 25, 1978 in England
  • First baby genetically selected to be free of a breast cancer - University College London
  • Viagra - Peter Dunn, Albert Wood, Dr Nicholas Terrett
  • Pioneer of modern nursing - Florence Nightingale
  • Acetylcholine - Henry Hallett Dale
  • EKG (underlying principles) - various
  • Vitamins and Tryptophan - Frederick Gowland Hopkins


  • Congreve rocket - William Congreve
  • High explosive squash head - Sir Charles Dennistoun Burney
  • Shrapnel shell - Henry Shrapnel
  • Harrier Jump Jet
  • Puckle Gun - James Puckle
  • Concentration Camps - First used by Lord Kitchener during the South African War
  • The side by side Boxlock action, AKA The double barreled shotgun - Anson and Deeley
  • Dreadnought Battleship
  • Bailey Bridge - Donald Bailey
  • Chobham armour
  • Livens Projector - William Howard Livens
  • Central to the development of H2S radar (airborne radar to aid the bomb targeting) - Alan Blumlein
  • Bouncing bomb - Barnes Wallis
  • Safety fuse - William Bickford
  • Armstrong Gun - Sir William Armstrong
  • Depth charge
  • Stun grenades - Invented by the SAS in the 60s.
  • Smokeless propellant to replace gunpowder with the use of Cordite - Frederick Abel
  • Torpedo - Robert Whitehead
  • The world's first practical underwater active sound detection apparatus, the ASDIC Active Sonar - Developed by Canadian physicist Robert William Boyle and English physicist Albert Beaumont Wood
  • The first self-powered machine gun Maxim gun - Sir Hiram Maxim, Although the Inventor is American, the Maxim gun was financed by Albert Vickers of Vickers Limited company and produced in Hatton Garden London
  • Steam catapult-Commander Colin C. Mitchell RNVR


Musical instruments

  • Concertina - Charles Wheatstone
  • Theatre organ - Robert Hope-Jones
  • English horn - A version of the Oboe
  • Logical bassoon, an electronically controlled version of the bassoon - Giles Brindley
  • Northumbrian smallpipes
  • Tuning fork - John Shore


  • Ambrotype - Frederick Scott Archer
  • Calotype - William Fox Talbot
  • Collodion process - Frederick Scott Archer
  • Stereoscope - Charles Wheatstone
  • Thomas Wedgwood - pioneer of photography, devised the method to copy visible images chemically to permanent media.
  • Dry plate process also known as gelatine process, is the first economically successful durable photographic medium - Richard Leach Maddox
  • Kinemacolor was the first successful colour motion picture process, used commercially from 1908 to 1914 - George Albert Smith
  • cinematography - William Friese-Greene
  • Motion picture camera, the Kinetoscope - William Kennedy Laurie Dickson
  • The first movie projector, the Zoopraxiscope - Eadweard Muybridge
  • The first experimental film called "The Horse in Motion" in 1872 - Eadweard Muybridge


  • Modern atomic theory - John Dalton
  • Equals sign Robert Recorde, Welshman
  • 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
  • Chromatography - Richard Laurence Millington Synge
  • Arnold Frederic Wilkins - pioneer in the development of Radar
  • Atwood machine used for illustrating the law of uniformly accelerated motion - George Atwood
  • Barometer, anemometer, and hygrometer (invented or improved) - Robert Hooke
  • Hooke's Law (equation describing elasticity) - Robert Hooke
  • Electrical generator (dynamo) - Michael Faraday
  • Cavity magnetron - Harry Boot critical component for Microwave generation in Microwave ovens and high powered Radios
  • Calculus - Sir Isaac Newton
  • Galvanometer - William Sturgeon
  • Infrared radiation - discovery commonly attributed to William Herschel.
  • Holography - First developed by Dennis Gabor in Rugby, England. Improved by Nicholas J. Phillips who made it possible to record multi-colour reflection holograms
  • Discovery of the pion (pi-meson) - Cecil Frank Powell
  • Wheatstone bridge - Samuel Hunter Christie
  • Triple achromatic lens - Peter Dollond
  • Newtonian telescope - Sir Isaac Newton
  • Hawking radiation - Stephen Hawking
  • Demonstrated that electric circuits obey the law of the conservation of energy and that electricity is a form of energy First Law of Thermodynamics. Also the unit of energy, the Joule is named after him - James Prescott Joule
  • 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
  • Discovered the element argon - John Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh with Scotsman William Ramsay
  • Standard deviation - Francis Galton
  • Slide rule - William Oughtred [15]
  • 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
  • Helium - Norman Lockyer
  • Introduced the "×" symbol for multiplication as well as the abbreviations "sin" and "cos" for the sine and cosine functions - William Oughtred
  • Dew Point Hygrometer - John Frederic Daniell
  • Periodic Table - John Alexander Reina Newlands
  • Splitting the atom - John Cockcroft and Irish physicist Ernest Walton
  • Seismograph - John Milne
  • Discovery of oxygen gas (O2) - Joseph Priestley
  • Discovery of the Atom(nuclear model of) - Ernest Rutherford
  • Discovery of the Proton - Ernest Rutherford
  • Discovery of the Electron, isotopes and the inventor of the Mass spectrometer - J. J. Thomson
  • Discovery of the Neutron - James Chadwick
  • Discovery of Hydrogen - Henry Cavendish
  • Nuclear transfer - Is a form of cloning first put into practice by Ian Wilmut and Keith Campbell to clone Dolly the Sheep
  • Theory of Evolution - Charles Darwin



  • The first full scale railway steam locomotive was built in 1804 - Richard Trevithick
  • Great Western Railway - Isambard Kingdom Brunel
  • Stockton and Darlington Railway the Worlds first operational steam passenger railway
  • First inter-city steam-powered railway - Liverpool and Manchester Railway


  • Blücher - George Stephenson
  • Puffing Billy -William Hedley
  • Locomotion No 1 - Robert Stephenson
  • Sans Pareil - Timothy Hackworth
  • Stourbridge Lion - Foster, Rastrick and Company
  • Stephenson's Rocket - George and Robert Stephenson
  • The Salamanca - Matthew Murray

Other railway developments

  • Displacement lubricator, Ramsbottom safety valve, the water trough, the split piston ring - John Ramsbottom
  • Maglev (transport) rail system - Eric Laithwaite
  • World's oldest underground railway and the oldest rapid transit system. It was also the first underground railway to operate electric trains - London underground
  • Advanced Passenger Train(APT) was an experimental High Speed Train that introduced tilting - British Rail


  • Bowden cable - Frank Bowden
  • Cat's eye - Percy Shaw [16]
  • Hansom cab - Joseph Hansom
  • Seat belt - George Cayley
  • Sinclair C5 - Sir Clive Sinclair
  • Inventor of tarmac - E. Purnell Hooley
  • Tension-spokeWire wheels - George Cayley
  • Belisha beacon - Leslie Hore-Belisha
  • ThrustSSC jet-propelled car holds the World Land Speed Record, it achieved a speed of 1,228 km/h (763 mph). The car was designed and built in England - ThrustSSC Project director Richard Noble, Designed by Ron Ayers, Glynne Bowsher, Jeremy Bliss and piloted by Andy Green
  • Lotus 25 Considered to be the first modern F1 race car designed for the 1962 Formula One season. It was a revolutionary design the first fully stressed monocoque chassis to appear in Formula One - Colin Chapman, Team Lotus
  • Horstmann suspension, tracked armoured fighting vehicle suspension - Sidney Horstmann
  • Steam fire engine - John Braithwaite
  • Safety bicycle - John Kemp Starley & Dan Albone
  • First traffic lights installed (gas lamp) - Outside Houses of Parliament, London. December 10, 1868
  • First automatic traffic lights installed - Wolverhampton England. 1927


  • Plimsol line - Samuel Plimsoll
  • Hovercraft - Christopher Cockerell
  • Lifeboat - Lionel Lukin
  • Resurgam - George Garrett
  • Richard Hall Gower – Transit (ship)
  • Submarine - Designed by Englishman William Bourne and built by Dutchman Cornelius Drebbel in 1620
  • SS Great Britain, the world's first steam-powered, screw propeller-driven passenger liner with an iron hull. Designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and launched in 1843 it was at the time the largest ship afloat.
  • Turbinia, the first steam turbine powered steamship, designed by the engineer Sir Charles Algernon Parsons and built in Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Diving Equipment/Scuba Gear - Henry Fleuss
  • Diving bell - Edmund Halley
  • Sextant - John Bird
  • Octant (instrument) - Independently developed by Enlishman John Hadley and the American Thomas Godfrey
  • Whirling speculum, This device can be seen as a precursor to the gyroscope - John Serson
  • Screw propeller - Francis Pettit Smith
  • The world's first patent for an underwater echo ranging device (Sonar) - Lewis Richardson
  • hydrophone Before the invention of Sonar convoy escort ships used them to detect U-boats, greatly lessening the effectiveness of the submarine - Research headed by Ernest Rutherford


  • Aeronautics and flight - George Cayley
  • Jet Engine - Sir Frank Whittle
  • Steam Powered Flight with the Aerial Steam Carriage - John Stringfellow- The world's first powered flight took place at Chard in Somerset 55 years before the Wright brothers attempt at Kitty Hawk
  • VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) fighter-bomber aircraft - Hawker P.1127, Designed by Sydney Camm
  • The first commercial jet airliner (de Havilland Comet)
  • Pioneer of parachute design - Robert Cocking
  • Pioneer of glider development - George Cayley
  • Halerockets, improved version of the Congreve rocket design that introduced Thrust vectoring - William Hale


  • Football - The rules as we know them today were established in 1848 at Cambridge University, and the official oldest club in the world is Sheffield F.C..
  • Rugby - William Webb Ellis
  • Cricket - the world's second-most popular sport can be traced back to the 13th century
  • Tennis - widely known to have originated in England.
  • Badminton - Modern rules of the game was launched in 1873 at the Badminton House after being imported from India by British soldiers.
  • Boxing - England played a key role in the evolution of modern boxing
  • Darts - a traditional pub game, the numbering layout was devised by Brian Gamlin
  • Table-Tennis - was invented on the dinner tables of Britain as an indoor version of tennis
  • Base-Ball - even though it's been rumoured as an american, it is in fact British
  • Ping pong - The game has its origins in England, in the 1880s
  • Bowls - has been traced to 13th century England
  • Field hockey - the modern game grew from English public schools in the early 19th century
  • Netball - netball was first played in England in 1895 at Madame Osterburg's College, Invented by Clara Gregory Baer as women's basketball, adopted in England as Netball
  • Rounders - the game originates in England most likely from an older game known as stool ball
  • The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, the first race was in 1829 on the River Thames in London
  • Thoroughbred Horseracing - Was first developed in 17th and 18th century England
  • Polo - its roots began in Persia as a training game for cavalry units, the formal codification of the rules of modern Polo as a sport were established in 19th century England
  • The format of Modern Olympics - William Penny Brookes
  • The first Paralympic games competition were held in England in 1948 - Ludwig Guttmann


  • Bayko - Charles Plimpton
  • Linoleum - Frederick Walton [17]
  • Meccano - Frank Hornby
  • Crossword puzzle - Arthur Wynne
  • Gas Mask - (disputed) John Tyndall and others
  • Graphic telescope - Cornelius Varley
  • Steel-ribbed Umbrella - Samuel Fox
  • Plastic - Alexander Parkes
  • Plasticine - William Harbutt
  • Police - Robert Peel
  • Carbonated soft drink - Joseph Priestley
  • Friction Match - John Walker
  • Invented the rubber balloon - Michael Faraday
  • Earliest concept of a Metric system - John Wilkins
  • Edmondson railway ticket - Thomas Edmondson
  • The worlds first Nature Reserve - Charles Waterton
  • Public Park - Joseph Paxton
  • Scouts - Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell
  • Spirograph - Denys Fisher
  • The Young Men's Christian Association YMCA was founded in London - George Williams (YMCA)
  • The Salvation Army, known for being one of the largest distributors of humanitarian aid - Methodist minister William Booth
  • Prime meridian - George Biddell Airy
  • Produced the first complete printed translation of the Bible into English - Myles Coverdale
  • Silicone - Frederick Kipping

See also


  1. ^ "Tiscali encyclopaedia: Seed drill". http://www.tiscali.co.uk/reference/encyclopaedia/hutchinson/m0006239.html. 
  2. ^ Mr. Herschel and Dr. Watson (1781). "Account of a Comet. By Mr. Herschel, F. R. S.; Communicated by Dr. Watson, Jun. of Bath, F. R. S." (PDF). Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. 71: 492–501. doi:10.1098/rstl.1781.0056. http://rstl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/71/492.full.pdf+html. 
  3. ^ "Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature: Planet and Satellite Names and Discoverers". http://planetarynames.wr.usgs.gov/append7.html. 
  4. ^ "About TREVOR BAYLIS the inventor of the windup technology". http://windupradio.com/trevor.htm. 
  5. ^ a b "From the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 70, 517-526, 645 (Errata) (1910) By Major-General H. P. Babbage". http://www.fourmilab.ch/babbage/hpb1910.html. 
  6. ^ a b "Turing biography". http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/Biographies/Turing.html. 
  7. ^ "Annals of the History of Computing, Volume 5, Number 3, July 1983 . p239, The Design of Colossus, THOMAS H. FLOWERS". http://www.ivorcatt.com/47c.htm. 
  8. ^ "Frequently asked questions by the Press - Tim BL". http://www.w3.org/People/Berners-Lee/FAQ. 
  9. ^ "The Origin and Evolution of the Anchor Clock Escapement". http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Hall/3934/anchor.html. 
  10. ^ A. R. Hall, "Horology and criticism: Robert Hooke", Studia Copernicana, XVI, Ossolineum, 1978, 261-81
  11. ^ "Longitude clock comes alive". 2002-03-11. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/1864737.stm. 
  12. ^ Liber cure Cocorum - A Modern English Translation with Notes, -Based on Richard Morris' transcription of 1862.
  13. ^ "1866." The People's Chronology. Ed. Jason M. Everett. Thomson Gale, 2006. eNotes.com. 2006. 13 May, 2007 <http://history.enotes.com/peoples-chronology/year-1866/medicine>
  14. ^ Dalton J, 1798 "Extraordinary facts relating to the vision of colours: with observations" Memoirs of the Literary and Philosophical Society of Manchester 5 28-45
  15. ^ "The Oughtred Society: Slide Rule History". http://www.oughtred.org/history-new.shtml. 
  16. ^ "The day Percy saw the light!". http://www.halifaxtoday.co.uk/mk4custompages/CustomPage.aspx?PageID=39556. 
  17. ^ Frederick Walton : Oxford Biography Index entry