Inventions That Changed the World

Inventions That Changed the World

Ratings: 7.73/10 from 37 users.

Inventions That Changed the WorldJeremy Clarkson hosts Inventions That Changed The World, a series which tells the stories behind some of the most significant inventions which have helped shape the world we live in today.

Our daily lives are governed by inventions. From what we wear to the food we eat and our methods of travel - it's all been invented or significantly altered by inventions.

But sometimes an invention comes along that doesn't just change the way we do things but changes the world.

Inventions That Changed The World examines not only how and why life altering inventions got off the ground in the first place, but also how they created a domino effect spawning other essential inventions in their wake.

Beginning with the gun, Jeremy reveals that successful attempts to create ever more lethal weapons have not only shaped the world but led directly or indirectly to all of the following: the industrial revolution; the production line; cowboy films; street lighting; the car exhaust pipe and the development of trauma medicine.

Other inventions covered in the series include: The computer, without which we couldn't fly planes, drive cars or even run our dishwashers;

The jet which plays a key part in our weather, mass tourism and outbreaks like SARS;

The telephone which was invented by mistake by a man trying to make a humming telegraph. The telephone has not only changed the way we do business but also led to the development of the Internet;

The television which was invented by two men with wildly different visions: John Logie Baird, a Scotsman, and a 14-year old American Mormon, Philo T Farnsworth, both died unrewarded but their invention, Jeremy reveals, helped win the Battle of Britain.

Throughout the series Jeremy gives his own passionate and witty take on some of the inventions and inventors that he believes have helped change the course of history.

More great documentaries

51 Comments / User Reviews

  1. cdnski12

    Some more important human inventions were FIRE, the WHEEL, IRON, ELECTRICITY, the PERIODIC TABLE.

  2. malachi simonyan

    Wonderfull! :)

  3. Brycce Krick

    i dont care what you guys say: the telephone was invented by graham bell in my town, brantford, Ontario, Canada.theres even a statue of the guy downtown in the old nell HQ building. and his home is there and everything. first call made was to paris ontario from brantford.

  4. Samuel N Araya

    BBC wins again. Simply the best documentary I have seen in a very long time.

  5. Joseph Lee

    Should go back to the stone age?

  6. Justin_Funski

    Wow, he was a lot younger and thinner

  7. ballestero

    The main idea of this article is "The history of the most significative invention that change the world we live in today"

    In my opinion the guns are not a good invention because with them the violence in the world increases every day.
    In my opinion the computer is the best invention in the world because it helps to simplify life. The people can communicate easy, fast and efficiently.

    (Mr please remember that i dont have my textbook yet, thats why im not doing the comments about the zipper and the post stamps)(thanks)

  8. ballestero

    The main idea of this article is "The history of the most significative invention that change the world we live in today"

    In my opinion the guns are not a good invention because with them the violence in the world increases every day.
    In my opinion the computer is the best invention in the world because it helps to simplify life. The people can communicate easy, fast and efficiently.

    (Mr please remember that i dont have my textbook yet, thats why im not doing the comments about the zipper and the post stamps)(thanks)

  9. Squak

    Did anyone bother to watch this documentary to the end.

    I only ask as I see all comments are based on the first episode.

    I have found this to be very similar, if not compact, to James Burkes Connections.

  10. InsanePorcupine

    I love how this guy seems depressed that the NATIVE AMERICANS not red indians which is a seriously intolerant label were winning at first and also makes a bunch of zulu's trying to protect there homeland out to be horrible invaders. O if only we could have slaughtered them faster and took there land quicker. By the way i'm super white not black or native american but I actually found it kinda offensive. He makes people that we invaded and stole from to be horrible savages intent on nothing but killing cowboys quite the opposite im afraid.

    1. Squak

      I don't think this is the case, he is looking at the situation the same way the invaders would have looked at it. If I were taking over a land and was losing I would seek out alternative technologies to help me do this. If the "Red Indians" can shoot 20 arrows in the time it takes me to reload once, I would want something to help better the odds.

      He never mentions anything bad about the natives the colonials were invading, he speaks in a factual manner to express the understanding of their thoughts.

  11. Odette

    Guns are sexy? He lost me in the first two minutes. What an idiot!

  12. Stephen

    Judging from the score music, this program had to have been made after the year 2000. So for this clown to have claimed that 200,000,000 guns in America was enough to supply one to every citizen was woefully and dangerously inaccurate. Unless of course this was written and produced around 1980, when the population of American citizens was actually two hundred million.

  13. bagadix

    what about plastic?

  14. Jefferson Diniz

    The first air plane was created by a Brazilian inventor called Santos Dumont, he creat and flight the first air plane.

    1. wutwho

      sorry the Wright flyer flew in 1903 and the 14bis (Dumont) only flew in 1906. The fact that the 14bis had a superior landing gear makes it an advancement of the technology and does not remove the fact that the Wright flyer was first.

  15. Al-3000

    Old, boring english man should never ever do documentaries about new technologies as it makes them seem as archaic and technologically impaired as the flintstones. Especially such asinine foolishness saying that England won the Second World War when anybody with a brain and proper education knows that USSR won the World War. Anyways, awful documentaries :)

    1. wutwho

      Yeah whatever you say Chekov.

      WW2 was actually a collaborative effort, without the western front the USSR on their horses and flying tractors would've been massacred by the Nazis in their jet aircraft while Moscow would've been pulverised by V2's.

      Add to that the battle in the Pacific without that front the Japanese would also have been carving off pieces of the USSR for themselves too. The USSR would have had no chance without the help of the others.

      Certainly the collaboration of all involved made survival possible but In any case as far as I'm concerned the Axis did more to lose the war than the Allies did to win it. The technology that drove the 21st century post WW2 came from Germany and Japan and they are still the powerhouses of production in the world today in terms of innovation and quality.

      BTW I recall that Finland managed to deal with the USSR with no help from anyone..

    2. InsanePorcupine

      I also recall Stalingrad do you? Now im a Canadian but a large part of what Al-3000 is true. If the germans had won in the east and got a hold of the oil fields. The war may very well have had another outcome especially since like you said japan would have been in the action by then, but as you know japan didnt get into the war till pretty much germany's end. Now I understand that the invasion was by a large group but did the british really do much? Really I'm pretty sure that britain would have been done without the other allies and there only true victories were in the middle east at the time.

    3. Guest

      Actually, no, Germany was fked as of Stalingrad... They would have lost to the USSR regardless of western action.

  16. zayan

    Does clarkson has the theology of god
    There is no god but allah
    A god is not the one who hosts something
    Think for yourseleves
    you know the truth but u are greedy
    I know you wont believe it because in the quran it says o prophet , if you lecture them or not they wont believe on you they are failures
    think about it failures christians, jews, athiests, etc.. ecpect muslims

    1. Jens C. Jacobson

      Lol ethnocentrism much?

      Allah is even worse than the god from christianity and is a fabrication just like him(?)

      And even if god were to exist I wouldnt worship him because in my opinion and from a objective moral standpoint evil and does not deserve followers.

      But great at controlling the populace, thats why he was created...

    2. wutwho

      Didn't your prophet have 15 wives...and as I understand by your law he should be able to afford those wives which also implies wealth.

      As for failures:
      "believe on you" grammar failure.
      "ecpect " spelling failure.
      Since you say muslims are perfect you must be a "christians, jews, athiests, etc..." especially since the comment box contains a spelling checker..

  17. aaangie

    this is excellent! So much advancement since i was born (a mere 43 years ago) made me feel quite humble and a surprise at how much technology we all take for granted!
    I could only stand to watch about 15 mins of the bit about guns as it made me feel ill and filled with too much despair(I Hate guns!)

  18. Marble

    These documentaries are very interesting. The content is very good. The only down side is that it is host by Jeremy which is abit weird and quite ego.

  19. Mr.E

    Mr.Clarkson has a very interesting show, but I have no respect for the man. Not only is he a racist snob, he shows no respect for other cultures and customs other than his so called favorites, sometimes confusing humor with ignorant and/or pompous remarks. Just one example is: "The Jet" part 005 referring to airplane crashes on minute 4:40 "'s an even better news story though, when it involves lots of people.." and continues further to say that dying in a plane crash is "spectacular".. WTF?! .. Again, no respect for the man.. Great show.. self centered, pompous, ignorant, snob host.

  20. The Queen of Cheese

    as much as i enjoy the company of Mr Clarkson...It wasnt the British who cracked the Enigma code. It was in fact the Poles, a talented mathematician from the city of Bydgoszcz(or Bromberg as the Germans liked to call it) Marcin Rejewski cracked the code in 1939.
    this fact was hidden until 2005 as the two governments signed an agreement, but come only takes a bit of research.

    apart from that: nice series, hugely enjoyable; thanks Vlatko :)

  21. sahota

    @ roland gopel- i got your point and you are correct about my age as well , I am 24.

  22. Imightberiding

    I'm fairly new to TDF & have enjoyed watching several interesting films. In so much as I have weighed in on a few conversations pertaining to said films. I am not entirely certain as to who or what your role is, but I have noticed your name & some of your responses to people on this site. At any rate I think it appropriate to say thank you for allowing me the opportunity to view some of these very informative & entertaining documentaries. I presume you are responsible. So again I say thank you.
    Cheers to you Vlatko!

  23. sahota

    @ roland gopel- " would you have us believe that once a computer is built it is impervious to normal wear and tear …. and eventual errors without erroneous input from people", if you are talking about the hardware wear and tear then the probability of an error due to this is almost zero, almost all errors made by a computer are software errors and are results of human error during code writing.

    "i guess there is a widely held belief that computers are somehow, almost magically, better than their creators."- yes they are , they are much better in calculations, analysis ....I cant understand the reasoning behind your second comment (' but, alas they are as fallible as we are.')

  24. Remco

    What can I say! Jeremy Clarckson (Top Gear) with guns/computers/jets...It's like, godlike:D Awesome stuff:D

  25. roland gopel

    @ christopher.miller
    I think Jeremy has a fairly balanced view on computers. Would you rather have us all think that all the people who have built all the computers all over the world are infallible? further, would you have us believe that once a computer is built it is impervious to normal wear and tear .... and eventual errors without erroneous input from people?
    i guess there is a widely held belief that computers are somehow, almost magically, better than their creators. but, alas they are as fallible as we are. and yet, in a paradoxical kind of way this imperfection of the machine is perfect. ...just like us.
    why do i think this? i dabble in AI in my some of my spare time ..... for fun. (pffft .... AI, .... as if there were any such thing as 'natural' intelligence) lol

  26. christopher.miller

    I really do not like this guys outlook on computers and technology, he knows nothing about it, a computer makes a mistake because the person using it is too ignorant to know how to use it without causing id10t errors

  27. ez2b12

    @ Reasons Voice

    While what you say is true about getting permits for hand guns, gun shows and other swap meets and so forth seem to find ways around this delay. Besides why in the world do we need assault rifles and so forth? I would hate to see it were the average law abiding citizen could not get a gun for protection, but we need more strict laws and to do away with assault rifles and fully automatic weapons. I also believe there should be no license for carrying your gun on you concealed.

    If the US would address the issue of why we have such a violent crime rate in this country, which in my opinion had little to do with guns and more to do with people, no one would need these guns for protection. I live in a rural area with a low crime rate, very low in fact. I have never needed a gun nor has any of those that live around me. Yet I see people carrying them and showing them off like they make them some kind of action hero or something.

    American film and society in general needs to stop romanticizing vigilantes and gun toteing wanna bees. Stop romaticizing gangsters and crime in general, just pay attention to which movies make the most in this country and you will see what i mean. It started with the old westerns and has not stopped yet, we eat violence and blood up in this country, can't get enough.

  28. roland gopel

    well that was an entirely enjoyable series.
    one has to give credit where credit is due.
    oh by the way. guns are not evil. but some of the people using them are!!

    as i was waiting in between segments though, i thought that there are more inventions that have changed the world, but are not nearly as flamboyant as these ones. inventions like: the printing press; the toilet; glass; plastic; cloth. mind you, i'm sure that if these were covered on their own the show might have been over in half hour lol

  29. Reasons Voice

    @John; I am not refuting your acurate claim as regards the vastly overpopulated prisons in the U.S. however we do have to get permits with complete background checks for legal posession of a firearm in the states. I have a full carry and conceal permit for hand guns in one state. I had to pass a stringent check into my background to get it. Even so I cannot carry the weapon outside of my state of residence or across city border lines without further permits being issued. The guns in the hands of the criminal element are illegally owned and obtained by said criminals. One cannot simply walk into a gun shop and walk out with a pistol. When I purchased a pistol I supplied all required permits, paid for the weapon, and registered the weapon by it's serial number with the state. I then had to wait 2 weeks to go pick it up. That is to avoid persons buying a gun for an "immediate need" such as in crimes of passion etc. The gun laws here could be revised in that it should be harder to get what is called a dealers permit. The dealers permit allows for an individual to purchase weapons in bulk and transport them across state and city lines. Some of those individuals will purchase in a less stringent state and then illegally sell the weapons to unliscensed people for a large profit.

    1. indulgent1

      why do you carry a gun(s) in the first place?

    2. StillRV

      I got my pistol permit at a time where I was working in a security position in an inner city. I had received a substantial number of threats of violence against me as a result of performing my duties in that job. I began to carry a firearm to ensure that I would not be defenseless should one of those threats manifest into an actual attack on me. I only carried my weapon when going to and from my place of work and when I had to perform other daily tasks in the areas of the city populated by those who had threatened me.

      I also have owned shotguns and bow for the purpose of hunting.

  30. john

    @mad..guns=freedon my ass, why are your prisons full to bursting then, in europe with sensible gun control ie. background checks, no hand guns without special extremely hard to get permits etc the crime rate is much lower, police in britain and most other european countries dont even carry guns, they dont need too.

    1. InsanePorcupine

      I don't get what your comment assumes. That the states has more guns therefor they have less freedom? I live in canada and we actually have more guns per capita than the states and have far fewer gun deaths. Although there are lots of deaths due to guns in the states i think the problem is more deeply rooted in culture.

  31. Benjinator3000

    @ ez2b12
    Yuo can find top gear's channel on you tube....
    I just finished watching all this episodes and I can trully say that the one about television is the BEST!

  32. ez2b12

    @ Leonardo Silveira

    Thanks for the run down, I'll check out Top Gear if I can find it somewhere. I am a car guy as well so I should really enjoy that.

  33. Leonardo

    @ez2b12 he is the presenter of top gear, the english car show and world biggest, and he and his co presenters are very funny in various ways, also hosting various other history and science shows.

  34. mad

    Guns=Freedom, Guns=Security, Gun bans=Criminals only get guns

  35. Benjinator3000

    I haven't started watching this yet but i know i can tell you this....."I love Vlatko"

  36. ez2b12

    I have never heard of this guy, Clarkson. But I love him, this guy is great. Good sense of humor and seems like someone I would love to get a pint with, if you culd get a decent pint here in America that is. Good doc as well, very informative and a new way of looking at the way one invention spurrs on the next. Seems like another doc on here is along those same lines, but I don't think this guy was the mc, which makes a big difference obviousely as I never finished the other one. On the computer episode now, if it is as good as the gun episode I will not go to bed until its over.

  37. john

    if there was a should be clarkson.

  38. Samusakis

    By god Jeremy Clarkson is funny!

    Love these series and thank you Vlatko!

  39. coyote03

    only watched the one on computers so far, it was great! Lots of good information and history about computers, they even threw in a bit of the music from The Usual Suspects, my favorite movie!

  40. Pappi

    i looove this site :)