Famous Things

Inventions made in Germany

Written by Carla C. Degen and last edited by Garry on

 

If there was a source for modern intriguing widgets and discoveries it surely stood in Germany. Many German inventors contributed to the nation’s fame as a cradle of inventions and technologies. Not only classy cars, trendy kitchen appliances or rockets but some every day articles such as tea bags, toothpaste or coffee filters were created and spread across the world.

Bobby Car

The most widely toy car ever sold was invented by Ernst Bettag in Fürth. He had the idea for this little red runabout in 1972. Since then it was sold 15 million times throughout the whole world. Some believe the name Bobby Car meant a British police officer but this is not so.

Coffee Filter

Invented quite coincidentally by Melitta Bentz, a housewife from Dresden, in 1908 when she used blotting paper from her children’s exercise books, because she was annoyed at cleaning cups full of coffee dregs. She put the blotting paper like an inlay into a perforated brass pot to stop the grounded coffee from dropping through. Melitta became an international company and filtered coffee highly popular.

Files

This office classic dates back to an idea of Louis Leitz, who crafted his invention in 1896. The Leitz folder was the first ring binder and is still the most used type of document folder in the world. It remains almost unchanged since its birth and even survived the electronics revolution of the 1990s.

MP3 Format

Developed by a group of people around Karlheinz Brandenburg at an Institute in Erlangen, part of the MPEG1 standards were codified in 1992 and in 1995. The data ending .mp3 was then determined in an internal survey at the Fraunhofer Institute. Core areas of the MP3 are protected by patents, as are other coding methods. The small size of mp3 files helped make them the most popular format for music data.

Sneakers

These were invented by Adolf Dassler, the son of a baker, who experimentally changed football boots into bootless shoes with cleats. During the final of the FIFA World Cup during heavy rain in 1954, the German team managed to run reasonably well over the pitch, while the Hungarians sank into the deep mud. The victory in the match created high demand for Adidas sneakers the world over.

Tea bags

Adolf Rambold who worked for a Dresden tea company invented these by becoming the first man ever to make tee bags out of special tasteless parchment paper and launch them on the market in 1929. Twenty years later the company started to commercialize the patented bags with a double chamber function, as we know them today.

The pill

This method for avoiding pregnancy was invented in 1961 by the pharmaceutical company Schering. Just 50 milligrammes of oestrogen produced a pretentious pregnancy in the female body. This was the hour of birth of the anti baby pill which remains the number one worldwide contraceptive.

Toothpaste

Used by Egyptians, it was made of pumice and vinegar in those days. The product known to us today was invented in 1907 by Dresden pharmacist Ottmar Heinsius von Mayenburg. He had the idea to create a tooth caring lotion that would be pleasant to have in the mouth, so added some peppermint flavours for taste. The main ingredients were pumice powder, calcium carbonate, soap, glycerine and potassium chlorate. It quickly gained fame around the world.