Original Causes Of Inventions

Published: 08th January 2010
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An article about a few inventions and how their original purpose was much different than the use that was eventually given to them.

Sometimes things are invented with one rationale in mind and for many different reasons they end up being used for a completely different purpose than the inventor originally had in mind. As a first example of this I will give the metal detector.

When most people think of a metal detector they think of something used in airports and other public places for the purpose of security yet its inventor, Alexander Graham Bell had a completely different purpose in mind when he came up with it in 1881. As it was back then that James Garfield (President of USA at the time) was shot in the chest. The bullet however did not kill him right away yet it was stuck in his chest. This a factor that complicated matters since doctors at the time did not posses x-rays which would allow them to locate the bullet. This requiring them to have to resort to finding it with their fingers which caused their patient to loose more blood than he already had.

It was when Garfield's doctors finally realized that they would not find the bullet through the means they had that Bell thought up the idea of creating a device that could find this metallic object inside the body of the President. Bell in fact did produce what could be labeled as the first "metal detector" however it was unsuccessful in retrieving the bullet lodged inside Garfield's chest given that when they attempted to use it he was lying on a mattress with metal springs inside. It being this metal in the mattress and that of the bed itself which confused the detector which in fact was being used for the first time. This perhaps the reason that those who were using it were not aware that such a thing would render this invention useless.

Garfield eventually died from his wound to the chest yet the metal detector would go on to be used for other purposes such as finding mines, potential explosives, guns and other weapons in public places. This not only preventing the loss of property but lives as well.

As a foot note concerning American Presidents, it was actually Ronald Reagan who was the first American President elected in a year ending with 0 who did not die (either due to illness or assassination) while in office. Of course when considering this factor we should not forget that in fact Reagan was most fortunate not to be added to a list of US Presidents to be assassinated that includes not only Garfield but Kennedy, Lincoln and McKinley; as Reagan too was shot by a man (John Hinckley) whose bullet came within two inches of his heart. All of which in a strange way making George W. Bush the first American President ever elected in a year ending with 0 (2000) to live through his terms in office without anybody as much as attempting to bring his presidency to end via violent means.

Another invention which came about from a need that was different from the one it is presently being used for today is the loveseat. This being a seat in which two may sit in though not necessarily a couple who is romantically involved; as it may be any two people who are simply looking for a place to rest. The loveseat however was not originally invented or designed with this purpose in mind but for another which was the following.

There was a time when women tended to wear bigger dresses that expanded more to the sides, specially from the waist down. These dresses on occasions even had to be held up with metal so the shape would stand. All of which making it an impossibility for a woman to sit in a regular arm chair as her dress would simply not allow her to do so. It was with this in mind that a longer chair was designed. Of course with time dresses got smaller which led to these chairs being used for the purpose of sitting two as opposed to one lady with a large dress.

As for another invention which ended up being used for a completely different purpose than it was originally intended for; we could mention the internet which today serves so many purposes that it would be hard to imagine our lives or my career as writer without it. It being used as a tool for so many things, from business to people meeting one another to sending out information yet its creators had a completely different purpose in mind when they came up with the idea during the cold war. It was actually fear of having all means of communication whipped out in case of nuclear war that led to the creation of internet. This being the case if a nuclear war came (which fortunately did not) the internet would hopefully serve as a means of communication which would allow those in government to keep in touch with one another even if such a monumental catastrophe should come about. Naturally with time the threat of nuclear war between the USA and the CCCP vanished yet the internet did not as it took on many more uses which now include the vast majority of the people of the earth.

As a final invention that follows this same pattern we could mention stereo sound which many would probably say was created for us to better enjoy our favorite music yet once again they would be deceived as the reality is another. It being that stereo sound was originally created so telephone conversations would sound better as there was a time when even people speaking in the same city came across as if they were communicating from two different continents. Needless to say stereo sound eventually came to be used for music and films yet this again was not why it came to be.

As we can clearly see for ourselves not always do things get invented for the reason we might believe they were created for yet in a way it is interesting or at least in my opinion to see how something that was made to fill one need ended up filling a completely diverse one. All of which leading some of us to ask what other uses than the ones we already know will the inventions of today someday be used for?

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