Famous Inventions

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World Famous Human Inventions: Part 1, (11)


Below is a list of 12 famous inventions/creations, none of which have regularly associated negative connotations. Attached, on this spreadsheet and in the sources are common domain image of each, in the format requested. In some cases, multiple common domain images are presented in the sources. I have also included a brief description of why each innovation/invention is considered 'famous,' but most are likely self-evident.

For the ad campaign, each of these inventions/creations has been used before many, many times. I chose the 'Apple: Get a Mac' campaign featuring computers as one example, but if you wish to submit an additional request, we could find many more for each specific invention/creation.

List of invention/creations

1. Steam Engine

The base for the industrial revolution and future transportation models and engines.

2. Electric Light

The light bulb changed domestic life patterns and led to countless other home inventions, as well as becoming ubiquitous in modern life.

3. Printing Press

A foundation of the modern era and the spread and democratization of knowledge.

4. Wheel

Right up there with fire in terms of fundamental developments in human history, and still in mass use today.

5. Airplane

Revolutionized travel, and made the world far more connected, as well as changed warfare and security.

6. Television

One of the most important new mediums for communication, as well as a unifying political, social, and cultural reach.

7. Camera

An invention that has seen extensive growth and modifications, its fundamental importance in documenting all types of activities, great and small, cannot be denied.

8. Telephone and Mobile Phones

Only radio rivals the telephone in its impact on human communication and connections, and few devices had changed human social behavior more in the developed world.

9. Automobile

Rivaling airplanes as changing travel, the development of automobiles changed social and working patterns across the world and created millions of new jobs and industries.

10. Computer

No device is more emblematic of the modern era than computers, and no technology has a great potential to change the way humanity lives, works, and develops.

11. Radio

While somewhat overshadowed by phones today, radio was the first near instantaneous communication methods across the world and for many years a dominant form of cultural connection.

12. Pyramids

Iconic monuments and tombs, their continued survival and massive tourism to this day testify to their importance in human history and memory.

Ad Campaign: 'Get a mac'

Many still remember Apple's 'Get a Mac' campaign, a direct attack on Microsoft, who were then the leader in the personal computer market. This campaign ran for three years, from May 2006 to October 2009, and often features computers, as well as different references to the strengths of the Apple product, 'Macs' as compared to Microsoft PCs. In 2010, Adweek declared it "the best advertising campaign" of the 21st century, and it was viewed as a reason Macs have become so much more popular today.


These are but a few of the many inventions/creations that are famous through human history. Images of each are provided, and one successful campaign featuring one of the inventions has been listed. Any or all of the items listed could be used in an advertisement series as important in human development.

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World Famous Human Inventions: Part 2, (7)

The inventions we list are the compass, concrete, petrol, the railway, nails, the battery, and the telegraph. We compile our list in the attached Google Document, and list the advertising campaigns below.


We list the second seven-part list of world-famous human inventions and creations. For each, we provide an image in this Google Document. We list one item per page. Our list is dependent on part one, and therefore excludes any inventions listed in that request. We were able to identify ad campaigns for all the inventions except for nails, as these seem not to have been a part of one specific advertising campaign.

1. Compass

Compass has a long history, first appearing in the early 14th century in Italy. The compass is an invention that allows people to take advantage of the magnetic field in order to orient themselves.

An advertising campaign we were able to identify for a compass is by E.S. Ritchie & Sons from the 1850s titled "The Compass For Your Boat". As the advertising was executed in the 19th century, we found no proof of the success of the campaign.

2. Concrete

Concrete came to be in 1824, when Joseph Aspdin burned finely ground chalk and clay together in a kiln which allowed for the carbon dioxide to be removed, therefore producing concrete.

We identified an advertising campaign for concrete from Fitzgerald & Co that was executed as a print campaign, showing just how fast a concrete bridge can be built in two consecutive photos. The success of the ad isn't specified, but AdAge rated the campaign 5 out of 5 stars.

3. Petrol

Petrol was invented in Edward Butler in 1887. Petrol is nothing more than distilled oil, but as it requires a human-supported process, it is still considered an invention.

We identified different successful ad campaigns by Indian Oil, which is an Indian petrol supplier. They are a Fortune 500 company, and their ads are classified as highly successful.

4. Railway

The first steam train, and therefore railway, was invented in 1804. The purpose of railways is to allow for fast and safe journey of passengers. The main selling point of railways from the start was affordability of transport of numerous people.

Borders Railway campaign was a highly successful national campaign in the UK that was put together by a grassroots group Campaign for Borders Rail (CBR). In this campaign, the group campaigned for the railway to be extended 60 miles further south to Carlisle.

5. Nail

Nails are one of the earliest human inventions, with bronze nails dating back 3400 BC in Egypt. In the newer history, Thomas Jefferson was one of the first to put into use the newly invented nail-cutting machine which allowed him to start producing nails for sale in 1796.

We found no advertising campaigns specifically featuring nails.

6. Battery

In 1800, Allessandro Volta was responsible for inventing the first true battery, also known as the voltaic pile.

Duracell's Energizer Pink Bunny ad campaign has been classified as one of the most successful advertising campaigns of all time, and has been featured non-stop for the last 27 years.

7. Telegraph

The telegraph was invented by Samuel F. B. Morse in 1844. The telegraph's main goal was to electrically transmit messages from one location to another, even if locations are far apart.

The advertising campaign we identified is from 1844 by Calvanic and Magneto. In the campaign, the advertising specifies that messages can be transmitted up to 280,000 miles in one minute. We weren't able to identify the success of the campaign considering it was executed in the 19th century.


We identify seven world-famous human inventions as the compass, concrete, petrol, the railway, nails, the battery, and the telegraph. We compile our list in the attached Google Document, and list the advertising campaigns below.
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World Famous Human Inventions: Part 3, (7)

Seven world-famous human inventions not included on previous requests are the optical lens, steel, the mechanical clock, air conditioning, X-rays, the moldboard plow, and paper. Images for each invention have been entered on the attached Google doc. Please find the methodology for selecting these items and a corresponding ad campaign for each below. Please note that care was taken not to duplicate items on the first two parts of this request.

Optical Lens

The Big Think lists the optical lens as the fourth greatest invention of all time. Certainly, this is subjective, but the importance of the optical lens in history cannot be overstated. The optical lens has been used in various other inventions such as the microscope and the telescope to "greatly expand the possibilities of... vision." Perhaps the optical lens' most practical use has been for eyeglasses, which have made it possible for people who are visually impaired to retain their eyesight.


There are numerous advertising campaigns for eyeglasses that make use of the optical lens invention. Essilor, a "leading manufacturer of optical lenses in the United States," created an ad campaign for its Crizal products. It ran in 2006 and featured "a sailboat in the ocean, viewed through Crizal lenses, allowing for unparalleled vision and perfect clarity. Life’s elements such as scratching, smudging, fingerprints and water spots appear around the lenses, showing what happens to traditional, non-Crizal lenses. The commercial goes on to explain that Crizal lenses allow needed light through the lens allowing for clearer vision. In addition, they take imperfections away so everyone can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the sailboat, water and the island." Despite research into success metrics for this campaign, results were not found to be available.


FactRetriever lists steel as the third greatest invention in history, and nearly all other top inventions lists include steel as well. It was invented around 1800 B.C. and has been used for thousands of applications since, including armor, buildings, and transportation. In fact, The Steel Authority of India states that "steel is by far the most important, multi-functional and most adaptable of materials. The development of mankind would have been impossible but for steel. The backbone of developed economies was laid on the strength and inherent uses of steel."


While some steel companies have advertised in the past, most modern ad campaigns that incorporate steel are actually selling other products. For example, in 2016, Chevrolet commercials compared its trucks to Ford trucks using the Chevrolet's steel truck bed construction as the main differentiator. In one of the company's "Real People, Not Actors" commercials, "Chevrolet stunned focus group participants by showing what happens when you drop 825 pounds of concrete landscaping blocks from a height of five feet into the bare pickup beds of a Chevy Silverado and a Ford F-150. The steel bed of the Silverado was scratched and dented, but the Ford bed, made of aluminum, sustained multiple punctures." Steel's strength properties make it ideal for comparisons such as the one made by Chevrolet, particularly when a company wants to demonstrate its durability versus that of its closest competitors.

Chevrolet's truck bed demonstration commercial garnered significant attention, as over a six-day period, "Chevy’s two truck bed challenge videos garnered approximately 4.6 million views on YouTube." A second steel-focused Chevrolet commercial that surprised "a group of Ford F-150 owners with a mystery truck that includes desirable features such as a bumper-corner step, a high-strength steel bed and an automatic locking differential," was the second most-viewed car commercial between July 10-16, 2017, based on rankings by iSpot.tv.

Mechanical Clock

The mechanical clock is generally believed to have been invented around 723 A.D. by Chinese monk and mathematician I-Hsing. List25 puts the clock at number 23 out of the 25 Biggest Scientific Discoveries in the History of Mankind. The discovery of the clock allowed humans to quantify time, which then allowed the world to advance. For example, Sploid states that "without the pendulum clock, the Industrial Revolution doesn’t happen. Without the quartz clock, the technology in the digital revolution doesn’t happen." Much of the ability to "coordinate the microprocessors in [today's] computers and technology" stems from the invention of the mechanical clock.


One of the most famous watch marketing campaigns of all time is Timex's "Takes a Licking and Keeps on Ticking" campaign. It first debuted in the 1950s, when the brand's durability became its main differentiating characteristic. Celebrities of the time would put the watches through "torture tests" and would claim they still worked using the famous line it "takes a licking and keeps on ticking." Some of these torture tests included a watch being "placed in a paint mixer, frozen in an ice cube tray, spun in a vacuum cleaner, placed on the leg of a race horse, attached to ice skater’s boot above the blade," and more. This ad campaign helped spur Timex to the "top of the U.S. and world markets." It was the world's top selling watch brand by 1967.

The "Takes a Licking and Keeps on Ticking" campaign was brought back in the 1990s and eventually ranked 40th on the "list of the top 100 campaigns of the 20th century compiled by the trade publication Advertising Age." However, the company retired the slogan in 2003 in favor of the "Life is Ticking" campaign, which was intended to modernize the company's image and "freshen the Timex appeal with consumers ages 18 to 34."

Air conditioning

Number 17 on List25's list of 25 Biggest Scientific Discoveries in the History of Mankind is the air conditioner. Although "primitive air conditioning systems have existed since the ancient times," the electrical air conditioning unit was not invented until 1902 by New York native Willis Carrier. Initially, air conditioning was not used for human comfort, but instead was designed to reduce humidity levels in the Sackett & Wilhelms Lithographing and Printing Company. Carrier's invention was soon sold to numerous manufacturing plants where humidity was a problem, including "flour mills and the Gillette corporation, where excessive moisture rusted the razor blades."

Worker comfort was a convenient side effect of the air conditioners, but the technology would also transform how and where people live. For instance, it revolutionized architecture by allowing thinner residential walls, "glass-fronted skyscrapers," and low ceilings. Air conditioners also changed demographics as well, since it is "hard to imagine the rise of cities like Dubai or Singapore without it."


Many air conditioning companies have advertised their products throughout the years, but a recent campaign from Blue Star pokes fun at the tendency of couples to argue over temperature. The 2017 ad "shows an inconsequential fight between a couple over disagreement of room temperature. Both are stuck on a temperature which each feels comfortable with. This recoils a quirky, dramatic hand-shadow fight between the two of them. This is where the Blue Star AC with precision cooling comes into the picture and the couple shadow fighting ferociously like animals end up as love birds and the fight ends in truce." Despite research into success metrics for this campaign, results were not found to be available.


The X-ray was invented in 1895, when German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen was "studying the phenomena accompanying the passage of an electric current through a gas of extremely low pressure." Rontgen received the 1901 Nobel Prize in Physics, the first ever to win this award. Before X-rays were discovered, physicians could not see internal injuries like broken bones, tumors, and damage caused by foreign objects. X-rays made internal examination of organs and bones possible, thereby changing the medical profession forever. Initially, X-rays were only used for medical purposes, but now they are used in numerous facets of life, including the ability to "probe the structure of crystals and atoms" and "find distant galaxies."


X-rays are often featured in health care-related ad campaigns, but one recent campaign from the Ad Council used X-rays in an innovative way. In 2015, the Ad Council created its "Love Has No Labels" campaign, which featured a "moving three-minute PSA video, filmed on Valentine's Day, shows a gathered crowd watching as couples, friends and families show affection for one another behind an X-Ray screen that renders them as dancing, hugging and kissing skeletons. When they emerge, some are gay or lesbian, some are different races and others are different religions."

The results of this ad campaign were overwhelmingly positive, with it receiving 160 million "likes" on Upworthy's Facebook page, making it Upworthy's second-most viewed video in 2015. It was also "the 2nd most viral video on Facebook, the 4th most viewed on YouTube and one of the best performing Upworthy videos of all time. It is the second most viewed social activism video ever behind Kony 2012."

Moldboard plow

Invented in the 18th century, the moldboard plow revolutionized agriculture in both northern Europe and the American Midwest. It was the "first plow that not only dug soil up but turned it over, allowing for the cultivation of harder ground." List25 puts the moldboard plow at number seven on its list of 25 Biggest Scientific Discoveries in the History of Mankind. Thomas Jefferson is credited with observing European plow designs and improving on them in 1794 with a "plow fitted with a wooden moldboard of his design." Jefferson began to have his plows cast in iron in 1814, but he never sought to patent it, so it is unknown how widely his invention was used.

Numerous other inventors improved on Jefferson's designs, but it wasn't until the mid-1800s that the tractor company John Deere manufactured "the world's first self-polishing cast steel plow." This product allowed farmers to "farm more economically" because they were "made for cutting the tough American prairie ground." These machines made farming more efficient and allowed farmers to plant more crops, thereby increasing both production and sales.


There are no recent advertising campaigns for plows, but John Deere has run many campaigns for its machines since its first plow came off the line in 1846. Three of the more popular advertisements were the company's "John Deere Line of Plows" and "If It's a Deere, It's Right" ads in 1907, and "Plow Your Plowing Troubles Under" ad in 1958. Despite research into success metrics for these campaigns, results were not found to be available.


Paper, which was officially invented in "China during the Eastern Han period (25-220 AD)," is listed as the number five of the 25 Biggest Scientific Discoveries in the History of Mankind according to List25. Initially, paper was used for "wrapping precious objects," but because it was cheaper than silk and lighter than bamboo, people began using it for writing. Over time, paper became the "quintessential industrial product" and allowed for the production of newsprint in affordable quantities. However, printing was just the beginning of paper's uses. Today, it is not only used for printing and writing, but also for decorating, filtering coffee and tea, packaging, cleaning, and endless other purposes.


Likely thousands of marketing campaigns use paper in their advertisements in addition to using actual paper for their print advertisements. However, some paper products are the focal point of the marketing efforts. This is true for Bounty Paper Towels, which have used the moniker "The Quicker Picker Upper" since the 1970s. A recent Bounty campaign features Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn as she touts the "connection between downhill skiing and the need to be quick." P&G, the brand behind Bounty, stated, "Bounty’s longstanding heritage as the Quicker Picker Upper is a perfect match with Lindsey Vonn’s speed, agility and performance on the global stage." Vonn agreed, saying, "The Quicker Picker Upper not only represents my energy on the slopes, which is quick, but it’s my go-to for picking up life’s everyday spills off the slopes." Despite research into success metrics for these campaigns, only the number of views on YouTube (19,770) and iSpot's engagement rating (6.3) for this commercial were available.


The seven world-famous inventions of the optical lens, steel, the mechanical clock, air conditioning, X-rays, the moldboard plow, and paper have been analyzed and images of each invention have been entered on the attached Google document.
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World Famous Human Inventions: Part 4, (5)

Five additional world-famous human inventions that have not been provided in the previous three requests are the cotton gin, sewing machine, penicillin, pocket calculator, and karaoke machine. The image for each invention has been provided on the attached Google doc. These inventions were mentioned in articles such as ThoughtCo’s “the most impactful inventions of the last 300 years” and CNN’s “Japanese inventions that changed the way we live.” Please note that due to the lack of recent examples, sources older than two years were utilized to provide examples of the invention being used in ad campaigns. Below, I will provide a brief history and examples of an ad campaign for the cotton gin, sewing machine, penicillin, pocket calculator, and karaoke machine.


The original cotton gin was invented by Eli Whitney in 1793. His invention automated the process for seed separation, leading to cotton production becoming profitable for the southern states in the United States of America. Today’s cotton gin uses electric power and air-blast or suction techniques, and is capable of removing trash, drying, moisturizing, fractioning fiber, sorting, cleaning, and baling.
An extensive search did not reveal any “modern” ad campaigns for the cotton gin. An 1868 advertisement produced by Albany, New York-based Albany Cotton Gin Manufacturing Company to promote its Star Cotton Gin and Condenser has been found. The ad included a text that describes how using the machine would help users avoid the health risk of manual cotton ginning. The results of this campaign are not available.


In 1755, German inventor Charles Weisenthal was awarded a patent for a needle that was designed for a mechanical sewing machine. In 1790, English inventor Thomas Saint was awarded the first patent for a complete sewing machine. The first machines were only used in garment factory production lines, and the sewing machines for home use were only designed and marketed in 1889.
In 2014, Hong Kong-based Brother launched a printed and Facebook-based ad campaign to promote its vintage sewing machine. The senior marketing manager at Brother, Cherry Chan believed that a trend towards the do-it-yourself market and trend hand-made, vintage and retro products would lead to the success of the brand. It would be interesting to note that the ad did not contain an actual sewing machine. The results of this campaign are not available.


Molds have been used by the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Indians of Central America to treat infected wounds. Derived from the Penicillium mold, penicillin is one of the earliest discovered antibiotic agents. In 1928, penicillin was discovered by bacteriologist Sir Alexander Fleming when he “observed that a plate culture of Staphylococcus had been contaminated by a blue-green mold and that colonies of bacteria adjacent to the mold were being dissolved.” Wide-spread use of penicillin only started in the 1940s when Howard Florey and Ernst Chain “isolated the active ingredient and developed a powdery form of the medicine.”
An extensive search did not reveal any “modern” ad campaigns for penicillin. In 1944, Schenley Laboratories had printed an ad on Life magazine to promote its penicillin drug. The ad described penicillin as a wonder drug capable of saving a soldier’s life as it is “the most potent weapon ever developed against many of the deadliest infections known to man.” The results of this campaign are not available.


The first pocket (electronic) calculator was created in 1970 by Japan-based Canon and United States-based Texas Instruments Inc. The "Pocketronic" is powered by batteries and included a full large-scale integrated circuitry. The first electronic calculator was invented by William Seward Burroughs in the 19th century, but Canon’s pocket version allows the users to bring the calculator with them wherever they go.
An extensive search did not reveal any “modern” ad campaigns for pocket calculators. Print advertisements created by Canon, Sharp, and Hewlett-Packard in the 1970s to promote their pocket or “handheld” calculators have been found. The results of the campaigns are not available.


The first karaoke machine was invented by Japanese inventor Daisuke Inoue 45 years ago. Originally, the concept was seen as a novel alternative to live bands and only became more wide-spread after club owners started to buy these machines, leading to the creation of karaoke boxes and karaoke bars. Karaoke, which means "empty orchestra" in Japanese, spread to the rest of Asia in the 1990s, and later to other parts of the world, including the United States.
In 2014, New Haven, Connecticut-based, superhero-themed karaoke bar Karaoke Heroes launched an ad campaign on Facebook. The campaign involved the use of Facebook Offers and Promoted Posts. The campaign resulted in “50% of new patrons coming through the platform for a 7X return on ad spend.”


A brief history of world-famous human inventions such as the cotton gin, sewing machine, penicillin, pocket calculator, and karaoke machine has been provided above. The image for each invention has been provided on the attached Google doc.


From Part 01
From Part 03