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5 best 'time-saving inventions' ever

Last updated on: April 11, 2011 15:10 IST

5 best 'time-saving inventions' ever

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It's what most women would agree upon -- washing machine is their most favourite time-saving gadget ever invented.

According to a survey conducted by Internet service provider Hotmail, 32 per cent women have voted the washing machine as the best time-saving invention ever.

Washing machine

The first English patent under the category of Washing and Wringing Machines was issued in 1691.

The first United States Patent titled "Clothes Washing" was granted to Nathaniel Briggs of New Hampshire in 1797.

Electric washing machines were advertised and discussed in newspapers as early as 1904.

Alva J Fisher has been incorrectly credited with the invention of the electric washer. The US patent office shows at least one patent issued before Fisher's US patent number 966677.

The 'inventor' of the electric washing machine remains unknown.

In 2008, the University of Leeds created a washing machine that uses only a cup (about 0.5 imperial pints (280 ml)) of water to carry out a full wash.

The machine leaves clothes virtually dry, and uses less than 2 per cent of the water and energy otherwise used by a conventional machine. As such, it could save billions of litres of water each year.

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Image: 19th-century Metropolitan washing machine.
Photographs: Courtesy, Wikimedia Commons.
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Computer

And for men, it's the computer, said the survey.

The first use of the word 'computer' was recorded in 1613, referring to a person who carried out calculations, or computations, and the word continued with the same meaning until the middle of the 20th century.

From the end of the 19th century onwards, the word began to take on its more familiar meaning, describing a machine that carries out computations.

A succession of steadily more powerful and flexible computing devices were constructed in the 1930s and 1940s, gradually adding the key features that are seen in modern computers.

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Image: The Zuse Z3, 1941, considered the world's first working programmable, fully automatic computing machine.
Photographs: Courtesy, Wikimedia Commons.
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Mobile phone

The mobile phone came in third overall -- a plus for both sexes -- followed by the dishwasher and the microwave, the 'Daily Express' reported.

The first handheld mobile phone was demonstrated by Dr. Martin Cooper of Motorola in 1973, using a handset weighing 2 kg.

In 1983, the DynaTAC 8000x was the first to be commercially available. In the twenty years from 1990 to 2010, worldwide mobile phone subscriptions grew from 12.4 million to over 4.6 billion, penetrating the developing economies and reaching the bottom of the economic pyramid.

The first commercially automated cellular network (the 1G) was launched in Japan by NTT in 1979.

Chicago-based Ameritech launched the first 1G network in 1983 using the Motorola DynaTAC mobile phone.

Several countries then followed in the early-to-mid 1980s, including the United Kingdom, Mexico and Canada.

The first "modern" network technology on digital 2G (second generation) cellular technology was launched by Radiolinja (now part of Elisa Group) in 1991 in Finland.

In 2001, the first commercial launch of 3G (Third Generation) was again in Japan by NTT DoCoMo.

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Image: An evolution of mobile phones.
Photographs: Courtesy, Wikimedia Commons.
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Dishwasher

The first reports of a mechanical dishwashing device are of an 1850 patent by Joel Houghton.

This device was made of wood and was cranked by hand while water sprayed onto the dishes. This device was both slow and unreliable.

Modern dishwashers descended from the 1886 invention of Josephine Cochrane, also hand-powered, which she unveiled at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair.

Models installed with permanent plumbing arrived in the 1920s. In 1924, William Howard Livens invented a small dishwasher suitable for domestic use. Electric drying elements were added in 1940.

By the 1970s dishwashers had become commonplace in domestic residences in the US.

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Microwave oven

The heating effect of microwaves was discovered accidentally in 1945.

Percy Spencer, an American self-taught engineer from Howland, Maine, had melted his chocolate bar with microwaves.

The first food to be deliberately cooked with Spencer's microwave was popcorn, and the second was an egg, which exploded in the face of one of the experimenters.

On October 8, 1945, Raytheon filed a US patent for Spencer's microwave cooking process and an oven that heated food using microwave energy was placed in a Boston restaurant for testing.

In 1947, the company built the Radarange, the first commercial microwave oven in the world.



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A watch that freezes time was voted the ultimate time-saver of the future in the survey, while a Hairwush emerged as another exciting time-saving invention.

The Hairwush, designed to wash, condition, dry and brush your hair in one go, was dreamt up by 45-year-old Chloe Eyre of Bedford, who beat 8,000 others for 10,000-pound prize.

She said: "I hate rushing and having to wash, dry and style my hair so I invented something that can do all three in one go."

Other ideas included a calculator that recognises the ingredients in your fridge, then suggests appropriate recipes.

This picture has been used for representative purposes only.



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