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IET Celebrates 150 Years Of INVENTIVE VALUE

The IET crowns the 15 most valuable inventions of the last 150 years. From the humble fridge to the surprising story of the first electric taxi that hit Victorian London streets 125 years ago.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) celebrates its 150th anniversary this year and honours the most valuable technological innovations of the 150 years. The list comprises discoveries and advancements that have contributed significantly to humanity, the planet, society, and the economy, making their marks throughout our lives.

The IET Power 15

  • AC power generation – brought electricity to our homes and, ultimately, light, comfort and all our essential gadgets.
  • Aviation – drove the globalisation of the economy and made travel for business and pleasure accessible for the masses.
  • Canned Food – made it possible to store and transport food safely and easily for the first time.
  • Cars – revolutionised transport for the masses, and profoundly changed how businesses could market their goods.
  • Computing – the invention without which almost all businesses would be unable to function, and which kept us connected with loved ones throughout the pandemic.
  • Electric lightbulb – bringing illumination to our lives, this invention has made our days longer, streets safer and even enabled the early development of the TV!
  • Fibreoptic communication – with enormous data carrying capacity, fibreoptic cables have revolutionised the way we are able to use the internet.
  • Measurement – a true cornerstone of all scientific endeavour, the standardisation of measurement under SI units allows researchers across the globe to collaborate – never more essential than in the last year when developing Covid vaccines.
  • Microscopes – the ability to magnify the world around us has played an essential role in advancing our understanding of nature, developing medicines and miniaturising technology.
  • Telescope – advanced our understanding of the universe and fundamental laws of physics, without which essential technology like Satnavs would not function.
  • Radio – the original communication revolutionary, the radio played an integral role during the war and continues to be one of the most consumed forms of media in the world.
  • Refrigeration – sparking another nutrition revolution, home refrigeration made fresh food accessible to millions.
  • Telephony – these devices have become such an integral part of our day-to-day lives that they have totally engulfed the meaning of the word ‘mobile’.
  • Triode valve - important for the development of international wireless networks, making modern Wifi and Bluetooth technology possible.
  • X-Ray – from broken bones to cancer, this breakthrough remains one of the most important tools for medics across the globe.


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