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10 Famous British Inventors

British inventions

A lawn mower, a toothbrush, and a bar of chocolate. What do these three household objects have in common? You guessed it: they were all invented right here in Britain. In fact, many of the things we take for granted every day were born straight out of the minds of British inventors!

Over the years, British inventors have innovated almost every aspect of our lives. From garden-care to dental-care, they've really contributed lots of things that we should be grateful for.

Want to see our top 10 famous British inventors and their inspiring creations? Just keep reading.

Edwin Beard Budding

Invention: Lawnmower

Invented: 1827

None of us would be able to enjoy the smell of freshly cut grass if it wasn't for Edwin Budding's invention. Back in 1827, Budding developed a lawnmower that quickly gained popularity among the elite and wealthy homeowners of Britain. Shortly after, pitch sports like cricket, rugby and football started to take off in popularity! A quintessentially English invention, don't you think.


William Addis

Invention: Toothbrush

Invented: 1770

There are some inventions that we simply couldn't live without. Arguably, toothbrushes are one of them. We may only use them for three minutes, twice a day, but they play an important role in our oral hygiene.

Addis came up with the idea while he was serving time in prison. He was watching a guard sweep the floor when he started to wonder how the same process could be used to clean teeth.

Prior to this British brainwave, people regularly cleaned their teeth using small pieces of crushed shell, soot and a cloth. Thank goodness we don't need to do that anymore!


JS Fry and Sons

Invention: Chocolate bar

Invented: 1847

Cast your mind back to a sunny day in Bristol in 1847. The smell of cocoa and sugar fills the air around JS Fry and Son's factory. Something magical is being born inside. It's solid at room temperature. It melts sumptuously in the mouth. It's the first-ever chocolate bar. Could you imagine a world without chocolate? No? Us neither. Thanks, guys!


Alexander Graham Bell

Invention: Telephone

Invented: 1876

It's questionable whether the modern smartphones we're all subconsciously glued to would have ever come into existence without the work of Alexander Graham Bell. Bell was able to create a wonderfully convenient communication device after he discovered that an electrical waveform could be produced by a rapidly vibrating sheet of metal.

The waveform matched to the vibrations exactly, meaning vocal messages could be sent effortlessly from one place to another. Bell was lucky enough to patent his telephone design just before a rival inventor, making him a famous household name here in Britain.


John Charnley

Invention: Hip replacement

Invented: 1962

Charnley was working as a surgeon here in Britain when he designed the first artificial hip and successfully implanted into a patient in need. Admittedly, the first one was a bit of a botched job (but a success nonetheless. His design included steel, acrylic bone cement and Teflon.

Of course, modern-day hip replacements are much more sophisticated, but Charnley's invention has helped improve the quality of life of hundreds of thousands of people.


Sir James Dewar

Invention: The thermos flask

Invented: 1892

Next time you go for a picnic at the seaside with your hot flask of tea, coffee or soup, give a little nod to Sir James Dewar - inventor of the thermos flask. Dewar created the very first thermos flask while he was carrying out cryogenic experiments. The innovative insulated vessel keeps its contents warm or cold for an extended period of time - we'd be lost without them.


Tim Berners-Lee

Invention: The World Wide Web

Invented: 1989

Without this great British invention, we'd have a much harder time getting things done. You wouldn't even be able to read this blog! The World Wide Web was initially invented by Burners-Lee to share and update information amongst researchers. The project later combined hypertext & the internet to create a platform where information could be shared (literally) Worldwide. Burners-Lee also designed and built the first Web browser. Born and raised in London, Burners-Lee is undoubtedly one of the most influential British inventors we've seen.


Russel Hobbs

Invention: The automatic kettle

Invented: 1955

We're sure that Russel Hobbs is a name you've heard before, in fact, you probably have a kitchen appliance brandished with this name in your home right now. Back in 1955, Hobbs invented a thermostat that could be switched on and off automatically. Thanks to Russel Hobbs, we no longer have to leave a kettle to boil on the stove every time we want a brew. Bravo!


George Cayley

Invention: The tension-spoked wheel

Invented: 1808

Travelling around the British countryside on a bike is an unforgettable experience. Did you know that the tension-spoked wheel that keeps your bike upright and moving was invented here in Britain too? That's right, British aeronautical engineer George Cayley created the very first one back in 1808. Since then, tension-spoked wheels have been used on motorbikes, bicycles and unicycles alike.


Keith Campbell

Invention: The first cloned mammal

Invented: 1996

Working as a biologist, Birmingham born Keith Campbell and his team worked tirelessly to produce the first cloned mammal, a Dorset lamb named Dolly in 1996. Dolly was cloned from fully differentiated adult mammary cells using the process of nuclear transfer.

This is a groundbreaking technology that might be used for things like, the production of transgenic livestock, the re-establishment of endangered species and the creation of patient-specific stem cells in the future (see Cell & Gene Therapy). Pretty incredible, huh?

Here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions (HRS), we believe there will be many more British inventions in the coming years.

You could be a part of the next scientific, medical or technological innovation by pursuing a career in these fields. Use the links below to browse our current vacancies.

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SEE ALSO: 15 Famous British Scientists