The Top 40 of German inventions

The Top 40 of
German inventions
Germans have invented many things
we couldn’t live without anymore.
Great German inventions…
• Talk to the person next to you and
write down all German inventions
you can think of.
• You have 2 min
Top 40: Zeppelin - Engineer and Soldier
• Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin served with the
Prussian army and the Union army during the
U.S. Civil War. He was also the first large-scale
builder of the airships which eventually
became synonymous with his name. The first
successful trial took place in 1900. In 1908,
Zeppelins were making routine commercial
mail and passenger flights over Germany, with
a remarkable safety record.
Top 39:X-Ray Technology – A
Transparent Procedure
• X-rays were discovered in 1895 by Wilhelm
Konrad von Röntgen. Röntgen was a German
physicist who used this new form of radiation
to photograph objects that were hidden behind
opaque shields. He even photographed part of
his own skeleton. X-rays were soon used as an
important diagnostic tool in medicine.
Top 38: Toothpaste
• The person responsible for healthy teeth is the
pharmacist Ottomar von Mayenburg. He
experimented in 1907 with tooth powder,
mouthwash and ethereal oils. What he came
up with was a toothpaste he named
Chlorodont. With a little peppermint added
for good taste, he filled the paste directly into
pliable metal tubes. And we’ve been brushing
our teeth regularly after breakfast and before
bedtime ever since ;-)
Top 37: Thermos Flask
• “Keeps it cold, keeps it hot –
without fire and without ice.” This
advertising slogan for the Thermos
flask, which glass engineer
Reinhold Burger came up with
himself, described the dual
benefits of his invention from
1903. In 1909, Burger sold his
patent, becoming a wealthy man in
the process.
Top 36: Theory of Relativity
• Albert Einstein enjoys star status, even though
practically no one understands his greatest
achievement, the Theory of Relativity. In 1905, he
questioned the absoluteness of time and space.
Time, he claimed, always depends on the speed of
the moving body. Consequently, time measurements
are always relative to their system of reference.
Einstein’s insight changed the way people all over the
world view space and time.
Top 35: Television
• In 1931, international headlines
announced the development of the
"world's first all-electronic television
system", designed in Germany by a 24year-old genius with the grand name of
Baron Manfred von Ardenne. Von
Ardenne had performed the first public
demonstration of his electronic
television system at the Berlin Radio
Exhibition. In 1935, the first regular
television program was broadcast in
Top 34: Telephone
• Alexander Graham Bell is generally
credited as the inventor of the
telephone. But it was Johann Phillip
Reis, a young science teacher from
Germany, who developed the first
functioning device in 1860 which he
named “Das Phone”. Unfortunately, the
Reis telephone was not practical enough
to be a commercial success. It could
transmit sound, but it was difficult to
understand the spoken word.
Top 33: Tape Recorder
• If he hadn’t been something of an audiophile, Fritz
Pfleumer would be best remembered for inventing
the plastic drinking straw. Instead, he’ll always be
known as the man who invented the first modern
tape recorder. In 1928 he developed a tape by using
a band of paper, which was coated with
magnetizable metal. His tape extended the length of
recordings and provided the basis for perfect
Top 32: Trolley – A Streetcar
Named “Elektrische”
• On May 16, 1881, the region of Berlin wrote
transport history. In the village of GroßLichterfelde, Werner von Siemens opened the
world's first electric streetcar. A single trip on
the 1-mile long line cost more than an average
hourly wage. For some time the German word
for streetcar was simply "die Elektrische".
Top 31: Steinway Pianos
• In 1835 Heinrich Engelhardt Steinweg,
built his first piano. A year later he made
the first grand piano in his kitchen. In
1851, Steinweg emigrated to the United
States, where he and four of his sons
established their own production
company Steinway & Sons in New York.
Steinway currently provides more than
95% of the world's concert halls with
their nine-foot long Model D concert
grand piano.
Top 30: Social Legislation - Social
• Germany’s Chancellor Otto von
Bismarck was convinced that a health,
accident, old age and unemployment
insurance law could solve many social
problems and win the good will of
laborers. His Health Insurance Act of
1883 entitled workers to health
insurance. Bismarck’s social insurance
legislations were the first in the world
and became the model for other
Top 29: Small Format Camera
• In 1925, Oskar Barnack’s pocket camera laid
the cornerstone for spontaneous snapshots.
Before his invention, photographers used the
bulky bellows camera that was way too big to
carry around. With Barnack's new smallformat camera, photojournalism was born.
Top 28: Scanner
• Although little known outside Germany,
Rudolf Hell helped to shape the world as we
know it. He invented a direction-finder for
pilots and the “Hellschreiber”, a precursor of
the fax machine. In 1951, he developed the
prototype for digital image processing: the
Klischograph made it possible to scan images
electronically. In 1963 he invented the first
scanner for color images.
Top 27: Ritter Sport
• This story starts with the marriage of
pastry chef Alfred Ritter and Clara
Göttle, owner of a confectionary. The
couple founded the chocolate factory
Alfred Ritter Cannstatt where in 1932
the famous Ritter Sport chocolate
square was born. Clara Ritter had fallen
in love with the idea that her chocolate
factory should produce a chocolate bar
that fits into any sport’s jacket.
Top 26: Refrigerator
• Carl von Linde invented the first
reliable and efficient compressedammonia refrigerator in 1876. The
company he established to
promote this invention was an
international success: refrigeration
rapidly displaced ice in food
handling and was introduced into
many industrial processes.
Top 25: Record Player
• Today’s youth hardly know them; the 50-year
olds mourn them. With the invention of the
record player in 1887, Emil Berliner brought
music into the living room for more than 100
years. Although Berliner may not be as well
known as Thomas Edison, his inventions such
as the microphone are equally significant.
Top 24: Porsche – And the People’s Car
• Though he and his son founded the highperformance sports car firm that bears the
family name, Ferdinand Porsche Sr. is also
remembered as the visionary who created the
Volkswagen Beetle in the 1930s. Already a
renowned automotive designer, Porsche's
dream was to create a small, affordable car for
the European mass market.
Top23: Nuclear Fission - Energy
with Side Effects
• In 1938, Otto Hahn, Lise Meitner and
Fritz Strassmann became the first to
recognize that the uranium atom, when
bombarded by neutrons, split. News of
the splitting of the atom and the release
of tremendous amounts of energy
reached the United States and
ultimately resulted in the development
of the first nuclear bomb. After World
War II Hahn became a passionate
campaigner against the use of nuclear
Top 22: MP3 Format
• Pack your favorite T-shirt, a book and
800 songs: converted to MP3, you can
take along an entire music collection. By
eliminating all the frequencies that the
human ear cannot perceive, the MP3
format shrinks the data volume to onetwelfth its original size. In 1987,
researchers at the German Fraunhofer
Institute succeeded in compressing
audio files to MP3 format for the first
Top 21: Motorcycle
• In 1885, Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm
Maybach patented one of the first successful
high-speed internal-combustion engines and
developed a carburetor that made the use of
gasoline as fuel possible. They used their
gasoline engines on a bicycle, which was the
first motorcycle in the world. This bonecrunching vehicle was powered by a singlecylinder engine.
Top 20: Mayonnaise
• Mayonnaise was invented in France in 1756.
But it was the German immigrant Richard
Hellman who in 1905 sold the first readymade mayonnaise at Richard Hellman's New
York deli. He started selling mayonnaise in
large glass bottles because it was easier to
sell. This product was marketed as “Hellman’s
Blue Ribbon Mayonnaise.”
Top 19: Kindergarten
• Friedrich Froebel was a German
educational reformer who invented the
kindergarten ("garden of children"). He
opened the first kindergarten in 1837 to
protect children from misery at the
beginning of industrialization. His
kindergartens included pleasant
surroundings, self-motivated activity,
play, music, and the physical training of
the child.
Top 18: Jet Engine
• The physicist Hans von Ohain was
one of the inventors of jet
propulsion. In 1933, he designed
the first self-contained jet engine
to run and later the first to power
an all-jet aircraft. Although none of
his designs entered production, his
contributions to the development
of the jet engine are invaluable.
Top 17: Jeans
• Levi Strauss was trained as a tailor in Bavaria
before joining the California gold rush. Here
he ran into prospectors and miners who
complained about easily torn pants. In 1873,
Strauss patented his idea of using copper
rivets at the stress points of sturdy work
pants. The Levi’s Jeans were born.
Top 16: Helicopter
• The engineer Heinrich Focke began working
on helicopters in the 1930s. He performed
research on the problems of control of rotary
winged flight and built a scale model
helicopter in 1932. But four years passed
before he was to demonstrate his first fully
controllable helicopter in Berlin in 1936.
Top 15: Gummi Bear
• A sweet, colorful, tiny little bear in the
palm of your hand. You pick it up to your
mouth, and bite its little head off. The
gummy bear. One of Germany’s most
popular sweets was created in 1922 by
Hans Riegel. He was born in Bonn, and
opened a candy company called
HARIBO, an acronym based on the
letters of his name: HAns RIegel of
Top 14: Glider
• Thanks to his ground-breaking research
on artificial wings and his skilled
craftsmanship, Otto Lilienthal became
in 1894 the first flyer in the history of
mankind with his glider. In 1896, he died
tragically during a test flight. His wing
designs were closely studied by the
Wright brothers in the USA and lead to
their development of the motorized
Top 13: Contact Lenses
• Contact lenses were invented and made in
1887 by the German physiologist Adolf Eugen
Fick. He first fitted animals with the lenses,
and later made them for people. These lenses
were made from heavy brown glass and were
18-21mm in diameter.
Top 12: Computer
• Equipped with three logical circuits and 2,600
relays, the first fully functional, programmable
computer was used in 1941. The inventor of
the electro-mechanical, binary calculator Z3,
Konrad Zuse, was a construction engineer
from Berlin who hated doing math.
Top 11: Christmas Tree
• In 1419, a Christmas tree was
mentioned in a written document for
the first time. This tree was decorated
with candy and pastry and set up by
bakers in Germany’s Southwest. The
tradition to set up such a decorated tree
at Christmas time spread throughout
Germany and the whole world.
Emigrants brought the Christmas tree to
America, and in 1889 the first Christmas
tree was set up in the White House.
Top 10: Chip Card
• Today, everyday life is inconceivable
without the chip card: phone card,
credit card, patient card – all important
data are packaged neatly in plastic. The
chip card was developed by Jürgen
Dethloff and Helmut Göttrup in 1969. In
1977, Dethloff applied for a patent for
the microprocessor card, the so-called
smart card, that can be freely
programmed thus providing high
Top 9: C-Leg
• In 1997, Otto Bock presented an
innovation to the public that would
make it easier to live with physical
disabilities: the first completely
microprocessor-controlled knee
joint. This “intelligent” leg prothesis
facilitates the greatest possible
simulation of natural walking and
everyday activities become possible
Top 8: Book Printing
• Johannes Gutenberg was a German craftsman
and printer who invented the first printing
press with movable type in 1450. This
invention revolutionized printing, making it
simpler and more affordable. Printed
materials were made available to the masses
for the first time in history.
Top 7: Bicycle
• The first early versions of the
bicycle came about independently.
The French “celeripede” (1816) and
Baron Karl von Drais’
“Laufmaschine” (1817) were footpowered wooden devices without
Top 6: Beer
• Ox bile and snake root were some
of the ingredients used to make
beer in the middle ages. In 1516,
the brothers Friedrich Wilhelm IV
and Ludwig X issued the “Purity
Law.” From then on, only barley
(and the malt made from it), hops
and water could be used to
produce beer, now a “healthy”
Top 5: Bacteriology
• When livestock was stricken by a dangerous
disease throughout Europe in 1870, Robert
Koch discovered that bacteria were the cause
of the disease. He was also able to isolate the
bacillus that causes tuberculosis. With these
discoveries, Koch founded a new branch of
science: bacteriology.
Top 4: Automobile
• The idea for a vehicle that would permit rapid,
independent locomotion came to two German
inventors almost simultaneously. In the year
1886, Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler made
humankind mobile: with a motor-driven
tricycle and a motorized carriage. At first,
Germans were unenthusiastic about the new
invention. “Too loud, too fast, too dangerous”
was the judgment.
Top 3: Aspirin
• In 1897, the company Bayer
developed the first pain remedy
with minimal side effects. Aspirin is
one of the world’s most-favored
medications for pain, fever and
inflammation. About 12,000 of the
50,000 tons of Aspirin produced
annually still come from Bayer.
Top 2: Air-bag
• Used for the first time in 1981
as optional equipment for the
Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the
airbag has now become
standard. And it has been
helping to save lives ever
Top 1: Adidas – The
Shoes with the Three
• Adidas is the second largest sportswear
manufacturer worldwide and was named after
its founder, Adolf (Adi) Dassler. Adolf started
producing shoes in the 1920s in
Herzogenaurach near Nuremberg with the
help of his brother Rudolf, who later formed
the rival shoe company Puma.
1. Who invented Mayonnaise?
2. What was the name of the first
toothpaste brand?
3. What else did Fritz Pfleumer
4. Who invented the Health
5. Why is Ritter Sport chocolate that
6. What year was the Jeans invented?
7. Where does the name Haribo come
8. Why did Konrad Zuse invent
9. What material were the first
bicycles made of?
10. What was beer made of in the
middle ages?