10 Myths About Famous Human Inventions

Everett Collection/shutterstock.com

Here is a list of 10 things people often get wrong about famous inventions. From who really made the light bulb to the truth about the first car, we are setting the record straight. Let us dive into these misconceptions and learn what really happened.

Photo by Louis Bachrach – Wikimedia Commons

The Light Bulb

People think Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, but he really just made it better. Before him, Humphry Davy created the first electric light in 1802. What Edison did was make a light bulb that lasted longer and was good for use in homes.

Photo by Gilbert H. Grosvenor Collection – Wikimedia Commons

The Telephone

Alexander Graham Bell gets the credit for the telephone, but he was not the only one trying to invent it. Elisha Gray and Antonio Meucci were also working on ways to send voices over wires. In fact, Meucci tried to patent his idea for a talking machine before Bell did.

Photo by Unnamed Employee at the Executive Office of the President – Wikimedia Commons

The Internet

Albert Arnold Gore Jr. never claimed he “invented” the Internet. What he actually said was that he played a key role in its development during his time in Congress. He was behind the High Performance Computing and Communication Act of 1991. This act helped fund supercomputing centers, which improved the Internet’s backbone and supported the creation of NCSA Mosaic, a browser that made the World Wide Web popular.

Photo by Huggorm – Wikimedia Commons

The Automobile

Henry Ford did not come up with the car or the assembly line. He made the assembly line much better by backing his workers’ ideas. He is famous for bringing out the Model T, which was the first car most people could afford. Karl Benz, who helped start Mercedes-Benz, is actually the one who made the first modern car.

Photo by Michael32710 – Wikimedia Commons

The Airplane

The Wright brothers are known for flying the first power-driven plane that was heavier than air in 1903. They were not the first to build and fly experimental aircraft. They were the first to invent aircraft controls that made fixed-wing powered flight possible.

Photo by Fæv – Wikimedia Commons


Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928, but he did not develop it into a usable drug. It was Howard Florey and Ernst Boris Chain who later turned it into a medicine that could be produced in large quantities.

Photo by Johann Jaritz – Wikimedia Commons

The Printing Press

People usually say Johannes Gutenberg made the first printing press in the 1400s. But the truth is, Bi Sheng in China came up with movable type printing way back in 1040. What Gutenberg did was take those ideas and make a press that could be used to print a large number of copies in Europe.

Photo by David Gerard – Wikimedia Commons

Flush Toilet

Thomas Crapper did not come up with the flush toilet. The early version was made by Sir John Harington in the 1500s. In 1775, Alexander Cumming, a Scottish inventor, made a toilet design that could flush. Crapper made the flush toilet more popular and added new features in the late 1800s, like the floating ballcock, and had nine patents.

Photo by Artem.G – Wikimedia Commons

The Atomic Bomb

Robert Oppenheimer was called the “father of the atomic bomb” because he led the Manhattan Project. However, the basic ideas behind splitting atoms came from scientists Otto Hahn, Lise Meitner, and Fritz Strassmann. The whole project was a big team effort with lots of scientists working together.

Photo by Drdoht – Wikimedia Commons


Leo Baekeland is known for making the first man-made plastic, Bakelite, in 1907. But making plastics has a long story with lots of scientists trying out different things, like early types of celluloid and materials similar to rubber.


Leave a Reply