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Inventions that Changed Everyday Life

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Click to Enlarge Inventions that Changed Everyday Life

How different would life be without the invention of the cell phone? The electric lightbulb? Toothpaste? These are just a few of the modern inventions we tend to take for granted. Before these innovations, daily life looked very different than it does today, and was undoubtedly more difficult. (For example, in the entry titled "Toothpaste" under the Resources menu to the left, you will find a recipe for ancient toothpaste containing crushed bones, burnt eggshells, and ashes.)

The vast majority of human history actually occurred in the absence of such modern day "essentials." It was not until the dramatic shift in philosophy and science known as the Enlightenment (which began in 17th-century England), that human inventions began to rapidly improve the quality of everyday life. As it turned out, some of the most important inventions of the modern era would take place in one of the world's newest nations: the United States. This module explores some of those American inventions that continue to influence our day-to-day lives.

Use the inventions in this section to build connections between the past and present, and to help students contextualize different eras in American history. Dates included within each entry illustrate the broad timeline of American ingenuity. This lens on innovations offers students both a lesson in history and a lesson in perspective—to critically examine the everyday objects in their lives, and to recognize the truly incredible strides in science and technology that have made these things possible.


Technical Innovation in American History
Welch, Rosanne, and Peg A. Lamphier. Technical Innovation in American History: An Encyclopedia of Science and Technology. ABC-CLIO, 2019. https://publisher.abc-clio.com/9781610690942


MLA Citation

"Inventions That Changed Everyday Life." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2019, historyhub.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/2197249. Accessed 25 Aug. 2019.

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Entry ID: 2197249

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