Something struck me the other day as I cracked open my first Christmas nut, what a great invention the seemingly simple yet wonderful invention the nutcracker is. I love hearing that satisfying sound of a walnut or hazelnut cracking open and for me it belongs with a fine Christmas, sorting through the shell remnants to get to the prize hidden within the debris.

So that kernel (you saw that coming right with the whole nut thing going on!) of a thought led me to finding out who the hell invented this simple tool and other inventions that have played a part in my world.

The inventor of the aforementioned nutcracker was one Henry Quackenbush. The clever man also patented the extension ladder. So here was a gentleman who has made many a Christmas for me and is also the recipient of a great name!

We all went through our times tables at school, struggled through trigonometry and the various almost incalculable mathematics lessons, in fact I’d probably still be there if it wasn’t for the humble calculator! So thankfully I went to school after 1967 because that was when the first handheld calculator was invented by the Texas Instruments team led by Jack Kilby.

I also have a huge sense of gratitude to Nolan Bushnell who formed Atari and in 1973 gave us, and me a home version. Many hours of my youth were spent trying to master the groundbreaking games. I can look back and say they were not wasted; it helped my eye-hand contact skills!

Of course as I’ve touched on in previous blogs we have a lot to thank Sir Tim Berners-Lee for. All of us owe this man a huge debt of gratitude, ‘www’ was introduced in December 1990 – what a wonderful Christmas present he gave us all!

Of course before this came the first PC invented in September 1957 by IBM. Try to imagine where we would be if the girls and guys at IBM hadn’t launched the IBM 610 – hard isn’t it?

Away from work and the home our landscapes are ever changing, take the wind turbine for instance. They evoke huge emotions in people but for me we have a hallelujah moment when Charles F. Brush decided that wind could create grid electricity in 1888. As with all inventions they seem so obvious after the fact but I marvel at these people who can see beyond any parameters and outside of the box.

So from a nutcracker to a wind turbine are just some inventions that spring to mind. I’d love to hear any of your favourites.

Until next time…