What would we have done without teabags?
THEY ARE among the most important discoveries in society and a fascinating demonstration of human ingenuity.
And now English Heritage has revealed examples of the greatest inventions unearthed in its vast collection of historic artefacts in its castles, forts and stately homes.
A survey by the heritage organisation has also revealed that the humble teabag and the internet are among the inventions which the British public have chosen as the most important of all time.
The poll has been published as English Heritage has unveiled some of the groundbreaking items in its vast collection of historic artefacts in its castles, forts and stately homes.
A nationwide exhibition for English Heritage’s “Ingenious!” season includes innovative objects from ground-breaking Roman armour at Corbridge Roman Town in Northumberland to a state-of-the-art 1930s vacuum cleaner at Eltham Palace in London.
With the research also revealing people think the Victorian age was the most inventive, the displays also include an ice-cream maker from the era at Brodsworth Hall and the Bell telephone at Queen Victoria’s Osborne House on the Isle of Wight.
English Heritage’s head collections curator, Matt Thompson, said: “This summer, at our sites across the country, we’re celebrating ingenuity through the ages and – from prehistoric axes to vintage vacuum cleaners – we’re showcasing some of the most important inventions of all time. History has been built on ingenious inventions, big and small, and it’s fascinating today to hear what people find ingenious. The teabag was invented by accident but has stood the test of time.”
The survey found some unsurprising choices in the top 10, including the wheel, light bulbs and penicillin, chosen from a long list of inventions over time.
But there were some more unexpected items, with the British valuing the invention of the teabag, which has transformed the making of the average cuppa, while sewers, the plough and clocks also made it onto the list.
Teabags were invented by accident in 1908 when American entrepreneur Thomas Sullivan decided to package samples of tea in bags made of silk and customers assumed the teabags were intended to be dipped into hot water.
English Heritage is urging the public to pick their favourite invention by voting at www. english-heritage.org.uk/ingeniousobjects.
A Victorian ice-cream maker from Brodsworth Hall is one of the gadgets due to be displayed by English Heritage