Culture
3.5k voters

What Is Mankind's Greatest Invention?

Updated October 8, 2019 33.6k votes 3.5k voters 82.3k views169 items

List RulesMost innovative and groundbreaking inventions and discoveries in history

What is mankind's greatest invention? This list includes some of the most innovative, ground breaking inventions ever. Each invention listed here in some way changed history, altering the way we live our lives. Some inventions, like medicine, help to extend our lives and others, like the wheel, changed the way we get around, transport goods and just generally do anything. Which of mankind's inventions do you believe is the most important? Time to vote, and be sure to rerank this list in any order you like.

The most famous inventors in history have made contributions that stand the test of time. From electricity to fire to telephones, mankind's greatest inventions and discoveries help define who we are today. Can any of you argue that the computer is not one of the most notable inventions ever? Certainly not, given that the computer is how many of you are reading this list right now. Of course, everyone at one time or another has an idea for a new invention.

Sometimes inventors with the best of intentions wind up foiled by their own creations. And, in case you think all great inventions were created by men, think again: This list of history's most under-appreciated female inventors will set you straight.
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  • Written Language1
    1,051
    112

    Written Language

  • Agriculture2
    914
    134
  • Tools3
    574
    64

    Tools

  • Medicine4
    1,284
    269
  • Clean Water5
    705
    133
  • Wheel6
    472
    46
  • Electric Lights7
    947
    229

    Electric Lights

  • Books8
    434
    60

    Books

  • Food Preservation9
    455
    105

    Food Preservation

  • Mathematics10
    746
    223
  • Antibiotics11
    439
    88

    Antibiotics

  • Toilet12
    452
    106

    Toilet

  • Computer13
    839
    306
  • Music14
    689
    242
  • Telephone15
    472
    158
  • The Printing Press16
    510
    195

    The Printing Press

  • The Compass17
    327
    102

    The Compass

  • Lens (Optics)18
    273
    60

    Lens (Optics)

  • Engine19
    406
    143

    Engine

  • Radio20
    248
    67

    Radio

  • Steel21
    217
    63

    Steel

  • Control of Fire22
    160
    35

    Control of Fire

  • The Battery23
    293
    95

    The Battery

  • The Interwebs24
    388
    188
  • Trade25
    193
    73

    Trade