Famous Inventions That Are the Culmination of Other People’s Work

Generally, history is filled with tales of famous inventors who are national heroes. But in nearly every case, they were the pioneers of enhancing an existing system to the last step, thus achieving mass appeal! Here’s some of the truth behind their famous and money-making inventions that you probably didn’t realize.

Galileo and The Telescope

While Galileo is credited for devising the initial telescope, that invention is actually thought of after a Dutchman, Hans Lippershay, who made magnification devices utilizing the ever-enhancing glass-making qualities at the time.

But Galileo heard about the devices and built his own variation. He became the first person to officially utilize the new optics as a scientific instrument.

Famous Inventions That Are Actually a Culmination of Other People's Ideas

James & The Steam Engine

Watt’s design was predicted by steam engines nearly 60 years back. Englishman Thomas patented the initial steam engine blueprint in 1698 to remove water from cool mines.


The subsequent design was improved to operate at atmospheric pressure, making it the standard model for approximately 50 years. James Watt’s innovation incorporated a separate engine condenser making the entire process significantly more efficient.

Eli Whitney & The Cotton Gin

During times of USA slavery, Georgia mostly grew shorter-fiber cotton. At the moment, it didn’t operate well with the machine that worked to separate fibers from seeds, hence requiring more manual work.

But Georgia state-sponsored a better design, where Whitney enhanced on the roller gins. That’s how he substituted the solid rollers with wire teeth, thus improving production.

Elisha Otis & The Elevator

The apparatuses that could lift people into tall buildings existed from the time of ancient Egyptians, although they existed in a primitive state then. With the growth of cities and the industrial revolution, leading to taller buildings, elevators were invented to use electric or steam engines. These pulled elevators with ropes.

But with new technologies, Otis brought the idea of new elevators that were safer and faster, thus making Otis the name that we associate with elevators now.

Thomas Edison & The Light Bulb

Perhaps this is the most famous invention of all time! Its symbol epitomizes the idea. But Edison didn’t invent the glowing filament or the glass bulb. He just improved the former designs, making them commercially practical in 1880.

Arc-Lamp was the first electric light tool invented by Humphry Davy approximately 78 years back. But it didn’t last long since it was too bright. Joseph Swan later used carbonized paper as the filament in 1850, but the idea still didn’t last. But Swan and Edison subsequently found better materials, and after merging the two firms, they produced something better!

Gugliemo Marconi & The Radio

In the 1890s, Marconi and Nikola Tesla fought to develop the radio, although Tesla received most of the early technology patents. But the first discovery of electromagnetic radiation was made a decade before by Heinrich Hertz, the German scientist.

In his lab, Hertz was capable of transmitting and receiving radio waves. But not thinking about practical applications, Marconi took all the technologies and turned them into commercial products.

Henry Ford And The Car

In 1908, Ford discussed the Model T, becoming the first auto to gain the mass market. The car was, however, powered by the internal combustion engine that was actually designed by Karl Benz in 1885.

Subsequently, many engineers enhanced the design for better performance, comfort, and efficiency. Later, Ford improved the progress of machine production, significantly increasing production efficiency. That brought down the price of every unit to a level where people could afford to buy.


These are just some of the many famous inventions throughout history that should probably own up to the people who really influenced them. You may not realize, but many technological advancements are actually products of people who rarely get the credit that is due to them.