Every country has it’s great inventors and innovators. However there is one country and ethnic group that rarely gets credit for their contributions. They are the Germans a group of people who were once considered to be more “Asiatic” than European. Whether they be German nationals or German diaspora, their contributions to the world are too many to list here. However, here are 20 of the many inventions and innovations they’ve contributed to the world. Note that there are many scientific discoveries made by Germans as well but I’ll save that for a different post. Here I’ll only list inventions and innovations that can be attributed to the Germans.
The Car: The man who created the first successful car was a German by the name of Karl Benz in the year 1885.
The airplane: The airplane was invented in the early 1900s by the Wright brothers who were Americans of German, Swiss and English ancestry. While several other inventors did create experimental flying vehicles prior to the Wright brothers. It was the Wright brothers who created the first successful airplanes that could make lengthy flights.
The Hotdog: Sausages have been part of German cuisine for years but the concept of putting a sausage into a bun is attributed to the Feuchtwanger family who were German-American immigrants.
Hamburger: If the name isn’t a giveaway, the hamburger can trace it’s origins to Germany but the person who created it is unknown.
Pretzel: Much like the hamburger, nobody actually knows who created the pretzel but the earliest records imply it’s of German origin.
The Assault rifle: While the Russians did create something called the “Fedorov Avotomat” in 1913, it never really caught on and it was more of a battle rifle/light machine gun hybrid than an Assault rifle. The first truly successful assault rifle designed was known as the “Stürmgewehr 44” which was designed between 1942-1944. It was designed by a German named Hugo Schmeisser. It was the most innovative infantry weapon of the Second World War that would go on to inspire the design of just about every assault rifle that exists today.
The semi-auto pistol: While many gun enthusiasts may know that the first assault rifle is of German origin, what many don’t know is that the first ever semi auto pistol is also of German origin or to be more precise German-Italian origin. The Salvator-Dormus pistol was designed by a German-Austrian gunsmith named Georg Von Dormus and an Italian born Austrian archduke named Karl Salvator.
The Gutenberg printing press: Considered to be one of the most important inventions invented is the Gutenberg printing press which was invented by a German named Johannes Gutenberg in 1440. Although, there were some types of printing presses already in existence, Gutenberg’s contributions were a major breakthrough.
Hole punch and ring binder: Both of these household items were invented by a German named Friederick Soennecken in 1886. There where two other guys who created a similar tool but they were slightly different than to the hole puncher Soennecken created which gradually evolved to be the common hole punchers used today.
Gun barrel rifling: It is not known who exactly came up with this concept, all that is known is that it was a German from Augsburg in 1498.
Carabiner: That common loop with a spring latch used to secure ropes is of German origin hence the Anglicized word carabiner from the German word “Karabiner” or rifle man. The inventor was known as Otto “Rambo” Herzog who was also a rock climber.
missile technology: The first ever usage of missiles as weapons can be traced to Germany in 1944 as Robert Lusser created the V1 cruise missile while Wernher Von braun created the V2 guided ballistic missile.
Bandondeon: An accordion like instrument that was designed by a German named Heinrich Band sometime in the 1880s and has been primarily introduced to Argentina.
Harmonica: A pocket sized instrument invented by a German named Christian Frederich Ludwig Buschmann in 1821 who is also credited with inventing the accordion.
Bicycle: The first bicycle was designed by a German named Karl Freiherr Von Drais around the early 1800s.
Paper coffee filter: The paper filters everyone uses to make coffee were invented by a German woman named Mellita Bentz in the year 1908. She also founded the coffee company named “Melitta”.
Wire rope: The wire rope is an invention of a German named Wilhelm Albert circa 1831-1834.
Gummy Bears: This popular candy was invented by a German named Hans Riegel Sr. in 1920 who also founded the Haribo company which was the first company to make gummy bears.
Modern combat helmet: The first country to use bowl or pot shaped helmets was Germany in the later stages of WWI. These helmets were known as the “Stahlhelm”. Most other countries either had no helmets or used the French Adrian and or English Brody helmets. And after both world wars, most countries started to create helmets based off the Stahlhelm design.
First modern computer: In the year 1941, a German by the name of Konrad Zuse created what is considered to be the first modern computer. The computer was known as Z3. A replica of the Z3 computer can be found at the Deutsches Museum in Munich Germany.
There are so many more inventions and innovations that can be attributed to German minds. Furthermore, many companies and scientific discoveries can also be attributed to people of German ancestry.