Posted on Tuesday 23 July 2019 by Cruickshank Intellectual Property

Celebrating another year of creativity and innovation the finalists for the 2019 European Inventor of the Year Awards were recently announced. With inventions including a robotic form of milking cows, an eco-friendly sustainable form of packaging from mushrooms and a way to map protein in human cells to predict and diagnose illness these yearly awards encourage, celebrate and pay tribute to remarkable inventions and the people behind them. With advancements in technology and communication, the scope of creativity and possibility is limitless. With that in mind, here at Cruickshank we decided to look at some of the most useful and significant inventions in history which have now become ingrained in our everyday life.


Where would be without our morning cup of coffee or afternoon pick me up? While the history of coffee goes back a long way it is believed the first patent for a coffee percolator was filed in 1865 by James Nason a US individual. While 1884 saw the first patent of the espresso machine. Then in 1908 German housewife Melitta Bentz fed up with the over brewing which came with traditional percolators and the cleaning which came with linen filters, she designed her own coffee filter using blotting paper from her son’s schoolbook and a brass pot. She was awarded her patent in 1908 and set up her own company Melitta which continues to operate today.


There would be no such thing as the perfect Instagram shot if it wasn’t for the invention of the camera. Johann Zahn is credited as the first inventor of the camera in 1685 while French inventor Joesph Nicephore Niepce is noted as taking the first photo in 1816. Following this, various improvements to cameras were patented while the first digital camera was patented in 1978. Meanwhile Phillipe Kahn created the first camera phone in 1997 altering the way we communicate and thus the beginning of the smart phone.

Hair Dryer

What would become of our tresses without the humble hair dryer? Believe it or not before the invention of a hair dryer individuals used a vacuum cleaner to dry their hair!  In 1888 Aleaxandre Ferdinand Godefray invented the first version of a hair dryer, intended for use in his hair salon in France. His device consisted of a large bonnet which attached to a chimney pipe on a gas stove whereby individuals would need to sit under it. Gabriel Kazanjian obtained the first patent of a hair dryer in 1911 and by 1915 hand-held hair dryers were widely available.


Ah television, where our screens are now filled with endless soaps, tv shows and not to mention ‘Love Island’ filled summer evenings. We have many people to thank for the invention of the television. Scottish engineer John Logie Baird is credited as having invented live transmissions of images and building the first mechanical television. While Philo Taylor Farnsworth was 21 when he invented the electronic television. His idea came to him while he was still in school and working on the family farm, by 1926 he began working on his idea and by 1930 had secured financial backing to obtain a patent. His first image transmitted on screen was a simple line, then later a dollar sign.  A legal battle with his patent protection ensued as The Radio Corporation of America (RCA) were in the process of inventing their own version of a television. They offered to buy Farnsworth’s invention, but he refused, eventually RCA were ordered by the courts to pay one Million Dollars in return to use Farnsworth patent technology.

The Internet

With over 4.4 billion active internet users the internet doesn’t need any introduction and could probably fill a blog post by itself. The internet was not invented by one single person but was down to many scientists, engineers and programmers over the years. The initial idea is often credited to Leonard Kleinrock who wrote a paper about Advanced Research Projects Agency Network or otherwise known as ARPANET, this detailed a system which allowed for effective communication and easier access for computers.  The internet as we know it was developed in the 1960’s with the first internet message sent from one computer to another in 1969 and the first email sent in 1971. Since then the internet has evolved and revolutionised every aspect of our lives.


These inventions are truly inspiring, and the ideas deserve to be celebrated. They also deserved to be protected. For inventors and businesses, intellectual property rights are not something that can be taken for granted. If you want more information on how to protect your intellectual property rights, contact Cruickshank today.