• Weird History

People Around The World Offered Up Their Country's Greatest Invention And We're Impressed

List RulesVote up the inventions you wish your country could call its own.

Residents of countries around the globe take great pride in the inventions that came out of their countries, essentially viewing them as symbols of national success. When Redditors contributed what they believed were the greatest inventions from their country, their answers revealed a lot about what qualifies as "great." You might be surprised by the origins of numerous inventions they shared. Granted, identifying a single inventor for one item can be difficult - and even lead to some disagreements.

Vote up the inventions that make you wish you could say, "Hey, my country invented that!"  

  • Photo: Erkki Voutilainen/Maaseudun Tulevaisuus/Finnish Heritage Agency / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    Swede Nils Bohlin Invented The Three-Point Seat Belt

    From Redditor u/Loive:

    From Sweden: three-point seat belts for cars. The patent was immediately made free for anyone to use after Volvo made the invention.


    Nils Bohlin was working for the Volvo Car Corp. as a trained engineer during the late 1950s. He'd previously developed safety harnesses for fighter airplanes that incorporated four points.

    Bohlin teamed up with colleagues to find a safer option for automobile seat belts. At the time, cars had only two points, simply crossing over one's lap, but although they were moderately helpful, the buckle over one's abdomen could be damaging, too. A four-point harness would be inconvenient and unrealistic, but Bohlin identified a middle ground. 

    In 1959, Bohlin introduced a three-point safety belt to Volvo that strapped in the upper and lower body. For Bohlin, "It was just a matter of finding a solution that was simple, effective, and could be put on conveniently with one hand."

    Volvo offered the technology to other car manufacturers for free in the interest of public safety. 

    Cool invention?
  • From Redditor u/Ozuhan:

    The self-contained breathing apparatus for diving was... invented by a French[man]...


    Jacques Cousteau wasn't alone in his efforts to develop tools for underwater breathing, but he and his colleague, Emile Gagnan, honed apparatuses developed by their predecessors. Cousteau was an avid underwater explorer, while Gagnan couldn't swim. Gagnan did, however, have experience working with gas flow in industrial equipment.

    Together, Cousteau and Gagnan developed a system that mixed purified and filtered compressed air. The tubes and valve they created to do this adapted to external pressure and the needs of the individual swimmer, giving divers a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus - or scuba - and unencumbered access to the seas. 

    Cool invention?
  • From Redditor u/Gherol:

    I would say the radio...[is] the most important.


    The invention of the radio itself is debated - attributed to Guglielmo Marconi, Alexander Popov, Jagdish Chandra Bose, and even Nikola Tesla. All men played key roles in the development of wireless telecommunication, but Marconi was the first to broadcast from one side of the Atlantic Ocean to the other in 1901.

    Marconi, unlike Popov, patented his radiotelegraphic innovations as early as 1896, securing his reputation as the inventor of the radio throughout Europe. In 1909, Marconi won the Nobel Prize in physics.

    Cool invention?
  • Photo: Fastson / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    Hungarian Laszlo Jozsef Biro Patented The Ballpoint Pen During The 1930s

    From Redditor u/phbrick:

    Biro? I mean ball[point]pen.


    The first ballpoint pen was developed by John J. Loud some five decades before Biro, but the Hungarian-born inventor achieved commercial success with his version. As a journalist, Biro observed how quickly newspaper ink dried, as opposed to the ink in a fountain pen.

    With his brother, Gyorgy, Biro began designing utensils that used roller-balls to transfer faster-drying ink to the page. Biro's initial patent in Europe in 1938 was followed by a patent in Argentina after the inventor emigrated in 1941 because he was Jewish.

    During WWII, the British Royal Air Force used Biro's pens because they functioned at high altitude, and after the conflict ended, Biro sold his patent. In the United States, Eversharp Faber purchased the patent, while Frenchman Marcel Bich acquired the European patent. Bich and his partner, Edouard Buffard, adapted Biro's design and began selling the ballpoint pen as a BIC in 1950

    Cool invention?