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7 inventions of the First World War that people use today and do not know about their origin
7 inventions of the First World War that people use today and do not know about their origin

For 4 years, 3 months and 2 weeks, during which one of the bloodiest wars in human history, the First World War, lasted, at least 18 million people died. However, as often happens in principle, the global military crisis has served as an impetus for the development of completely principled ideas and revolutionary technologies. In this review, a story about 7 inventions of the First World War, which now make the lives of modern people much better.

Wrist watch

The very first public person in the world who began to wear a wristwatch back in the 16th century was Queen Elizabeth I of Great Britain. At that time, this accessory was considered so “purely feminine” that men were better prepared to wear skirts than a watch with a bracelet on their wrist. … The concept of “femininity” of wrist chronometers was so deeply rooted in society that it took 3 centuries to break it.

One of the first wristwatches, 17th century

The first who linked men, wristwatches and the army was the German Kaiser Wilhelm. It was he who, at the end of the 19th century, decided to donate chronometers with a bracelet to officers of the Kaiserliche Marine, the German imperial navy, as a personal award. Along with the Germans, the army watches produced by the Mappin and Webb factory were "tested" by the British during the Boer War. Although men's wrist chronometers gained real popularity during the First World War.

In 1916, Charles Lake, the captain of the British army, published a kind of applied manual for frontline officers. On the list of equipment that Lake considered the most essential, he put a wrist chronometer with impact-resistant glass and a phosphoric dial in the first place. The very next year, the British War Office made a huge order for the so-called "trench watches" for the lower ranks of the army.

Wristwatch of a British officer during the First World War

By the beginning of 1918, almost every 4 soldier in the British Empire had a wrist chronometer. Now the fighters did not need to spend even a little time to get the watch from the pocket of his pants or tunic. And literally just a couple of seconds sometimes really cost a soldier's life.

Zipper Closure

For the first time the zipper appeared in 1851. However, neither then, nor 40 years later, when Whitcomb Leo Judson received a patent for this accessory, zippers were not popular. They were unreliable and broke quickly, although they cost quite a lot of money due to the high production costs of their production.

The zipper is another invention that became popular after the First World War

Everything changed at the beginning of the XX century, when the American Gideon Sundback modernized the "lightning". He increased the number of teeth and replaced the key clasp with a convenient slider. All these changes made the "zipper" so practical that the US Army in World War I used such fasteners not only on the clothes of soldiers and sailors, but also on their shoes.

In 1918, the zipper patent was acquired by Hermès. The accessory immediately became very popular in the fashion lines for men. But on clothes for the beautiful half of humanity, "zippers" appeared much later. Indeed, in the first half of the 20th century, such a fastener on a lady's dress was associated with the easy sexual availability of its owner.

Sanitary napkin

Humanity is also obliged to the invention of such an important hygiene product for any woman as pads. Or rather, the French sisters of mercy working at the front. It was they who first used cellulose bandages during critical days. The dressing material "approached" so much that the idea of ​​using it as sanitary napkins instantly spread among the fair sex.

Sisters of Mercy in World War I

The industrial production of these personal feminine hygiene products started in the early 1920s. The first to release sanitary napkins was the American company Kimberly-Clark Corporation. Its products, under the brand name Kotex, were made from cotton and lightweight fabric, and cost a lot of money. However, over time, Johnson & Johnson entered the market with its feminine hygiene products. This made sanitary pads quite affordable for women in the United States and Europe as early as the early 1940s.

Instant coffee

Two people are considered to be the people who invented instant coffee at once - David Strang and Satori Kato. However, neither the New Zealander nor the American of Japanese descent were able to make their invention popular among the masses during their lifetime. In 1906, George C. Louis Washington, a US entrepreneur, came up with a much "advanced" technology for making instant coffee. And after 4 years he founded his own brand of this drink - Red E Coffee.

George Constant Washington and his coffee advertisement in The New York Times, February 23, 1914

Its product began to bring real profit to Washington during the First World War. Then the armies of the United States and Canada signed a contract with the entrepreneur for large quantities of Red E Coffee. J. Washington Company for the period 1915-1918 has supplied the American army with six times more of its instant coffee than ordinary Americans throughout the United States.

The so-called "coffee department", created under the United States War Department, also contributed to the promotion of his product. Its head quite convincingly stated that instant coffee is very helpful in the recovery of those soldiers who at the front fell under the influence of poisonous substances, including mustard gas.

Tea bags

Thomas Sullivan, a businessman from the United States, who was involved in the sale of different types of tea, since 1904 sent his clients "samples" - small silk bags with a pinch of dry tea leaves for brewing 1 portion of the drink. During World War I, Sullivan's idea was successfully used by the Germans. The German company Teekanne has launched a large-scale production of tea bags for the needs of the army.

The evolution of Lipton tea bags

The simplicity and speed of making tea with the help of tea bags made it (along with instant coffee) the most popular drink in the trenches and trenches on the fronts of the First World War. The soldiers of both warring sides gave the same nickname to these bags - "tea bombs". After the end of the war, this method of brewing tea has not lost its popularity.

Vegetarian sausages

Vegetarian sausages were invented by no means against the use of animal food. In the second year of World War I in Germany, during an event called the Schweinemord ("slaughter of pigs"), about 5 million domestic "pigs" were killed and turned into canned food. And in 1916, there was a potato crop failure in Europe. Therefore, already in the winter of 1917, rutabaga became the main food product in Germany, which was also not enough to meet the needs of the citizens of the Reich. As a result, more than 700 thousand people died of hunger.

"Cologne sausage" - vegetarian sausage suggested for consumption by Konrad Adenauer

The future prime minister of the Federal Republic of Germany, and then the city head of Cologne, Konrad Adenauer, invented sausages, in which instead of traditional meat, a mixture of crushed corn, rice and barley, wheat flour and the main vegetable protein, soybeans, was used. However, in Germany, Adenauer never managed to obtain a patent for his invention. Paradoxically, in June 1918, he successfully patented his vegetarian sausages in Britain, then hostile to the German Reich.

Stainless steel

Before the outbreak of World War I, gunsmiths of hostile states tried to improve their weapons of murder with might and main. The military industry needed a new type of steel that would not only be durable, but also resistant to corrosion. And such material was invented 2 years before the start of the military conflict. In 1912, engineers of the German company Krupp received a patent for stainless chromium-nickel steel.

Krupp plant. Germany, city of Kiel, 1914

Almost synchronously with the Germans, the British metallurgical engineer Harry Brerley invented stainless steel. He did it purely by chance during experiments concerning the avoidance of deformation of the barrels of artillery guns under the influence of high temperatures of combustion of powder gases. In the same year, an iron alloy that was resistant to corrosion began to be produced in the United States.

During the First World War, alloys containing stainless steel were used in the design of engines for combat airplanes. But the worldwide fame and recognition of stainless steel was brought by the movable canopy made of it in 1929 for the luxury London hotel Savoy.

Stainless alloys were used in the design of airplane motors of World War I

Wars are considered one of the most important engines of civilization's progress. And if so, then all those who died during these global armed conflicts can rightfully be regarded as bloody sacrifices brought to the altar of human evolution.

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