Archive for March, 2009

Top 10 Swedish Inventions.

March 6, 2009

1. The pacemaker. In 1958, Rune Elmqvist developed a small battery-driven pacemaker. The first operation was carried out later that year, but the device only lasted for a few hours and further adjustments were made. The patient, Arne Larsson, survived the tests and lived until 2001.

2. The three-point seat belt. Nils Bohlin’s great invention from 1959 is reputed to save one life every six minutes. It is thereby considered to be one of the most important safety innovations of all time.

3. The Global Positioning System. Håkan Lans is the great mind behind important developments to the satellite-guided GPS system, moulding it into its modern form and ensuring that motorists reach their destinations on time and without hassle.

4. Tetra-Pak. Through the ideas of Erik Wallenberg and his dedicated team, the solution to packaging, storing and distributing liquids such as juice and dairy items was developed in 1951 and has since spread to fridges all over the world.

5. The telephone handset. As early as 1885, Lars Magnus Ericsson created the telephone handset, which was just one of his many improvements to contemporary telephones.

6. The flat screen monitor. The building of the flat-screen monitor was made possible by Sven Torbjörn Lagervall’s discovery of ferroelectric liquid crystals in 1979. The technology was developed and in 1994 mass production was begun.

7. The ultra sound. In 1950, Hellmuth Hertz started his pioneering work with ultrasound for medical diagnosis. Together with cardiologist Inge Edler the technique was successfully developed for the analysis of heart diseases.

8. The safety match. In 1844, Gustaf Erik Pasch patented the safety match when he replaced the poisonous yellow phosphorus with non-poisonous red phosphorus.

9. Dynamite. Alfred Nobel invented dynamite in 1866, which earned him one of the 355 patents he had managed to assemble before his death in 1896. Through his life he founded 90 companies and made a huge fortune. In his will he set up the Nobel Prizes for physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and peace.

10. The zipper. The method still used today, based on interlocking teeth, was invented in 1913 by Gideon Sundbäck. Initially it was called the “hookless fastener” and was later redesigned to become more reliable.

Source: Sedig, Kjell (2006): Swedish Innovations. Stockholm; Swedish Institute.