'What is the greatest invention in the history of mankind?'

It's a contentious topic, but inevitably ends with the same four or five answers:

  • Penicillin
  • Electricity
  • Democracy
  • Internal Combustion Engine
  • Mechanical clock.

All are worthy of the making the list because they're things that the modern world cannot live without. But they're all very safe, nobody ever seems to step outside the box (a life-changing invention) and offer more unconventional ideas. For example, a woman who I used to work with suggested, in all sincerity, that the Washing Machine far surpassed electricity in terms of ingenuity. Granted, she didn't quite put two-and-two together on that one, but at least it's a different, whacky answer.

There are brilliant, profound inventions out there amongst us that don't get the credit they deserve. Such as:

  • Calculator Watches
  • Beaded Seat Cushions
  • Anything manufactured by J.M.L
  • Sleeping Bag Suits
  • Fleshlights

The list is infinite.

Personally, my entry would be: The humble, Pocket. You need to let this digest for a while before you realise just how much sense this makes. Pockets govern almost everything we do in our daily lives. Take away our pockets and our lives would descend into outright chaos. The smart-arses amongst you who thought, 'Well, we'd just use bags'; stifle your scoffs of derision, because bags are giant pockets with straps attached.

  • Where would you put all your earthly possessions?
  • Where would you pat-down obsessively after every time you leave the house?
  • Where would you put your hands when you play with yourself in the cinema?

Exactly, my point is made.

The origins of pockets are spurious (Don't be a pedant. Don't google it). So for arguments sake, we'll say ‘Dr Archibald James Henry Pocket the 5th’ invented them, in Batley, 1705. That sounds plausible enough.

In conclusion, I say to you Mr. Pocket, thank you.

A wise man once said: “All great inventors keep their pens in their pockets." I have no idea who that man was, or if he even said it.

Published by Josh Toulmin