When considering inventions that have vasty improved our quality of life, the first test is to turn the question around and ask ourselves if our quality of life woud have been poorer without those inventions. For example, ipods are useful toys, and some people swear they couldn't manage without them, but if we didn't have ipods, our quality of life would not suffer. With that thought in mind, here are some inventions which have vastly improved our quality of life.
Sir John Harrington came up with the first fush toilet in 1596, and he recommended flushing it once a day - presumably, he may have added 'whether it needed it or not.' Thomas Crapper is often touted as the inventor of the flush toilet, and with a name like that, it would be wonderful if he was, but the truth is, many people have had a hand in the flush toilet - not literally, of course!
On a serious note, flush toilets have made life easier for everyone. But for John Harrington we may still be doing what comes naturally in a ditch in the back lane.
The invention of electricity made the days longer for everyone. Instead of coming in from the fields or the factory and falling into bed after the evening meal, electricity made it possible for people to have some leisure time. Electricity also made the streets safer, and paved the way for many labour saving devices such as washing machines, vacuum cleaners and refridgerators.
The fridge made it possible to buy enough food for a couple of days or more, instead of having to trudge to the shops every day. In addition, the lady of the house could prepare food ahead of time, giving her more time to spend with the family, or to concentrate on other chores. And being able to keep food cool greatly reduced the risk of food poisoning.
The birth control pill
While there have been methods of birth control since there have been people on earth, the Pill was the first method of contraception that was almost foolproof. The advent of the Pill meant that couples could plan their families, and women would not be worn out by producing babies year in, year out. For the first time, women could enjoy sex without the fear of an unwanted pregnancy.
Until the arrival of penicillin, something as innocuous as a scratch could lead to death if infection set in and spread through the bloodstream. And the recovery from a chest infection could take weeks, or even months. Penicillin speeded up the recovery process, meaning less time in hospital or in bed at home, less time off work, and less chance of permanent debility.
Without the inventions detailed above, the quality of life as we know it today would be greatly diminished.