It’s amazing that what we take for granted now was new and fascinating slightly more than 100 years ago. I admit, some might be a stretch, but you can see the connections! The very first link at the bottom is a short blurb about Christmas in Victorian times, and highlights a lot of new inventions we take for granted today.
CD – yeah, you thought it was invented in the 1980s, didn’t you. Technically, yes, but the phonograph was invented in 1877, and the gramophone record in the 1887. It took nearly 100 years for the jump, but jump it did.
Tires – yeah, the ones we still use on our own cars. Charles Goodyear (recognize the name?) announced vulcanization in 1844; rubber ones were invented by Robert Thomson in 1845; in 1888 John Boyd Dunlop patented the pneumonic tire (the kind we use today).
Which brings us to Cars…they were invented in 1885 – technically. But in 1850 gasoline was developed, there were already those rubber tires, in 1859 oil was discovered in the US, and in 1892 Rudolph Diesel discovered, well, diesel.
Cell phones – now follow me here. We all know about phones; they were invented in 1876, then came the wireless radio in 1895. Sure, I could’ve just put phones, but this was much more interesting!
Still, since you insist on connecting it all to a computer, what about Charles Babbage’s Calculating Machine? Sure, he didn’t invent the first computer, but he tried hard enough to do so. And sure, his Difference Engine really only made sense to about 5 people in the world, but it is the foundation of our modern day computer.
Christmas Cards – designed by John Calcott Horsely in 1843.
Vacuum Cleaner – 1901 by Hubert Booth who began the British Vacuum Company.
Escalators – yup, those very same moving stairs we take to the upper level of the department store or the 2nd floor of the airport. Jesse Renno and Charles Seeberger made it all possible in 1899.
Paper Clip – so small, so innocuous, so hard to find one when you need one! Samuel B. Fey made them in 1867; however advertising didn’t really begin until 1899.
Machine gun – Contrary to Hollywood culture, it didn’t suddenly pop up in the 1920s on a gangster’s arm. There was the Gatling Gun in 1861, a popular weapon of the American Civil War, and Hiram Maxim made the Maxim Machine Gun in 1885.