N.M.P.L. | AUSTIN
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ABDULLA / ARDATH
LAMBERT & BUTLER
Inventions & Discoveries
oodness knows what computer you are using to surf the net at the moment but odds on it is beyond what you considered technology was capable of only five years ago. Although far from the HAL of 2001 Deep Blue can now be considered the greatest chess 'mind' which exists on the planet. It cannot tie shoe laces but never mind.
So what am I getting at? Well while computers and all things technology hurtles us into a unknown future it is almost impossible to imagine what the world was like before this era.
We all look back to the days when the pace of life was slower (give it ten minutes thought and few of us would swap.) so it is hard to imagine the excitement that many of the Victorian inventions caused, afterall we take them for granted now.
Inventions and discoveries was a topic which the cigarette companies examined on a number of occassions and give us a snapshot of yesteryear.
Some of the sets dealing with general inventions are the following:
|Famous People||Brooke Bond||1969|
|Inventors & Inventions||Brooke Bond||1975|
|Celebreties||Cohen & Weenen||1900-1902 various|
|Inventions & Discoveries (Series 1 & 2||Coopers & Co||?|
|Inventors and their Inventions||RJ Hill||1907 & 1939|
|Scientific Inventions & Discoveries||RJ Hill||1929|
|Inventions that changed the World||Tonibell||1963|
|Interesting Experiments||United Tobacco||?|
|Science & Inventions||Quaker||1974|
There are others of course, the above list is not meant to be exhaustive. However of interest is the fact that Players seemed not to have issued a general inventions/discovery set.
The 8 sets that are underlined represent 291 cigarette cards and have been used as a subset for further investigation.
The compilers of these sets have done my 'monk' work for me. Those 291 cards rather amazingly cover 120 inventions which goes to show just how varied the whole business is. Trying to find some sort of concensus within these sets was quite difficult. Steam, the outright winner, only got a mention thirteen times (4 of those in Will, Famous Inventions (1905) and another three in RJ Hill, Scientific Inventions and Discoveries (1929).
|Wireless & Morse||11 mentions|
|Motor Cars||6 mentions|
|Safety Lamp||6 mentions|
Well surprises there I am sure. Obviously there is a bias because of the age of these cards but that is the whole point. What is interesting is how fast the world has changed. I doubt that Steam, The Safety Lamp or the Gramphone would make many lists of top ten inventions nowadays. Wireless and morse might but then again might not. Although steam was mentioned in both 1975 sets. Television had an early advocate in RJ Hills 1929 set so well done them.
I feel that Typhoo rather missed the point when it failed to mention Areoplanes in 1964 but steam got a mention on two occassions. The telephone did not quite make it to the top ten, something | imagine would be inconcievable today.
A series of 50 cards the full issue is worth a close examination.
|5||History of Printing|
|6||Leonardo da Vinci|
|9||Measurement of Time|
|10||The Steam Engine|
|13||The Fire Extinguisher|
|16||The Spinning Machine|
|17||History of the Lock|
|18||The Sewing Machine|
|19||The Electric Battery|
|20||George Stephensons Rocket|
|21||The Miners Safety Lamp|
|23||Reading for the Blind|
|27||The Nut and Bolt|
|28||Plate and Roll film cameras|
|29||The Morse Code|
|30||The Pneumatic Tyre|
|31||The Safety razor|
|35||Thomas Alva Edison|
|36||The Washing Machine|
|38||The Motor Car|
|39||The Movie Camera|
|40||The Vacuum Cleaner|
|41||The Hearing Aid|
|45||The Jet Engine|
|47||The Polaroid Camera|
|50||A Peep into the Future|
Well card one is a revelation, why did that not get into the top ten. Card 26 The Revolver has to be rather dubious card but nothing was ever said about them being good inventions. Quite how the safety razor and the Lifeboat got into the set is debatable but I am not saying I could do any better.
Enough about the inventions let me now turn to the inventors. Again the same sets of cards have been used to compile the top ten.
|Wright Brothers||5 mentions|
It is probably unsurprising that Edison tops the league. He would do so in most lists people constructed. What is quite interesting is the steam pioneers appear only in tenth (Watt appears eleventh) which might be an example of a split vote.
It is who does not appear on the cards which is quite amazing. Lister and Fleming for example only poll one card each out of the 291. Obviously health care was not high on the list of critical advancements for cigarette companies.