Basically, every invention is a linear concept. You discover something and then upgrade it throughout years, decades and centuries. But we would probably have conquered the whole galaxy by now if everything was that simple. Many inventions come to inquiring minds earlier than they should, many seemed too inconvenient and resource-consuming when they first appeared. Here are a couple of world greatest inventions which were not right for the time.
The humanity came up with an idea of storing food in metal cans in order to prolong its shelf life in the late 1700s. Unfortunately, it took 45 years to invent the can opener. At first cans were intended to keep food fresh for a long time in untoward conditions, mainly during wars, of course. Soldiers had to open the first cans with their bayonets. Actually, the word “can” comes from “canister”, and the first specimens of canned food weighted like a canister or even a little bit more. Tools known as can openers started to appear on the market only in the 1850s, but they were considered too dangerous for domestic use.
Among the most useful inventions that took a lot of time to make there is also sliced bread. Bread was invented a long time ago, almost simultaneously with the wheel and fire. But it took over 30,000 years to come up with the idea of selling it sliced. The innovator was an ordinary American named Otto Rohwedder. He built the first commercial bread slicer and sold the technology to baking companies. The invention became so popular it was even banned for a couple of months because it was straining wheat production.
Human beings have relied on fire since prehistoric times, consequently we had to find a quick and reliable way to start a fire shortly after it was discovered. But this actually did not happen until 1826, when the first matches were invented. Actually, first examples of matches were made in 1680, but the material used was too expensive—this was a party stuff for 17th century VIPs. 100 years later, an English chemist accidentally discovered that the same effect can be achieved using a much cheaper material, and this was the birthday of matches. By the way, back then they carried a much more interesting name—“lucifers” (the name came from Latin words “lux”, meaning light, and “fero”, meaning “to bring”). We have become boring here in the 21th century.