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Science, Technology, and Health: Chronology

1750-1914: Science, Technology, and Health: Chronology

Important Events of 1750-1914

Important Events of 1750-1914


  • Denis Diderot and Jean Le Rond d’Alembert’s twenty-four-volume Encyclopédie is published in France.


  • British colonist and scientist Benjamin Franklin invents the lightning conductor in Philadelphia.



  • English inventor James Hargreaves invents the spinning jenny, which he patents in 1770.


  • In England, inventor Richard Arkwright develops and patents a water-powered spinning frame to produce thread for the textile industry.


  • English chemists Daniel Rutherford and Joseph Priestley independently isolate the element nitrogen.


  • Priestley discovers hydrochloric and sulfuric acids.


  • Scottish engineer James Watt begins manufacturing his version of the steam engine, which he invented in 1765 and patented in 1769.


  • English inventor Samuel Crompton develops the spinning mule, which enables the production of large quantities of high-quality yarns and threads.


  • Italian physician Luigi Galvani, a professor of anatomy who experiments with electricity and muscles, notices that frogs’ legs contract if an electrical jolt is applied to them.


  • In Annonay, France, brothers Jacques-Etienne and Joseph-Michel Montgolfier inaugurate hot-air-balloon travel.


  • Englishman Henry Cort develops the puddling process for smelting iron.



  • British inventor and clergyman Edmund Cartwright invents the power loom; it is patented in stages over the next three years.


  • The first telegraph line, for transmitting military information, is set up between Paris and Lille.
  • The National Institute is created in Paris.
  • The metric system is introduced in France.


  • English physician Edward Jenner develops a vaccination against smallpox.


  • Scottish chemist Charles Tennant combines chlorine and lime to create a bleaching powder for use on textiles.


  • Italian physicist Alessandro Volta invents a means of storing electricity in a battery composed of zinc and copper plates.
  • English scientist William Nicholson uses electricity to break water into its constituent elements—oxygen and hydrogen.
  • English engineer Richard Trevithick constructs the model for a new, high-pressure steam engine, making possible the development of steamboats and railroad locomotives.


  • English chemist and physicist John Dalton develops an explanation of the atomic nature of matter.


  • French chef Nicolas Appert develops a technique for preserving food in tin cans.


  • Danish physicist Hans Christian Ørsted discovers electromagnetism.



  • Joseph Nicéphore Niépce invents the heliograph, the first permanently captured optical image.


  • Mechanics’ institutes are founded in London and Glasgow to provide training for artisans and the working classes.


  • English inventor George Stephenson develops an effective steam locomotive, based on his first prototype of 1814.



  • English naturalist Charles Darwin sails on the HMS Beagle, a surveying vessel, to the Pacific Islands, South American coast, and Australasia.


  • English scientists Charles Wheatstone and William F. Cooke patent an early form of the electric telegraph.


  • French painter Louis Daguerre perfects his daguerreotype, the first practical form of photography.


  • An International Exhibition opens in London, featuring the Crystal Palace, a building in which more than thirteen thousand manufactured objects are displayed.




  • Austrian monk and botanist Gregor Mendel performs experiments on heredity by hybridizing varieties of peas.
  • French scientist Louis Pasteur proves that living organisms cause fermentation.


  • Darwin publishes On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, based on his observations during his 1831-1836 voyage aboard the Beagle.
  • In Belgium, inventor Etienne Lenoir builds an internal-combustion engine.


  • Pasteur invents the process of pasteurization of wine.



  • Swedish manufacturer Alfred Bernhard Nobel patents dynamite.
  • English surgeon Joseph Lister introduces antiseptic practices in hospitals.


  • Russian chemist Dmitry Ivanovich Mendeleyev formulates the modern form of the periodic table of elements.


  • Darwin publishes The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, focusing on the evolution of humankind and pointing out its physiological and psychological similarities to the great apes.


  • German engineer Nikolaus Otto, who built his first gasoline-powered engine in 1861, invents the four-stroke internal-combustion engine.


  • American inventor Thomas Alva Edison and English chemist Joseph Wilson Swan each develop a carbon-filament electric light.


  • In England, American-born inventor Hiram Stevens Maxim, a naturalized British subject, develops the first practical single-barrel, rapid-fire machine gun.


  • German engineer Karl Friedrich Benz builds his first gasoline-powered vehicle.


  • German engineers Gottlieb Wilhelm Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach produce their first automobile.


  • German physicist Heinrich Rudolph Hertz and English physicist Oliver Joseph Lodge independently identify the link between radio waves and light waves.


  • French chemists and brothers Louis and Auguste Lumière invent a motion-picture camera.
  • German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen discovers X-rays.


  • Italian physicist Guglielmo Marconi patents the wireless telegraphy.
  • In Paris, physicist Antoine-Henri Becquerel reports his discovery of radioactivity during his experiments with uranium.



  • French scientist Pierre Curie and his Polish wife, Marie, a physical chemist, discover the elements radium and polonium.



  • German physicist Albert Einstein publishes his special theory of relativity while working as a patent clerk in Switzerland.


  • German chemist Fritz Haber develops a process to create synthetic ammonia.


  • Danish physicist Niels Bohr applies quantum theory to subatomic physics.


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