10 things you never know were invented in Scotland

If you step out the house and go for a walk to the shops, on your trip you’re more than likely to be surrounded by innovations from Scotland.

It’s well-known that the telephone and television were developed from ideas by Scots, but there’s so much more to than that.

Here we share ten things you probably didn’t know had Scots input behind them!

The electric clock: 1840

Scottish inventor Alexander Bain had had enough of the mechanical clock, that was powered by a hanging weight or springs. And with that, in 1840, Bain created the modern day clock, which is powered with electricity.

Colour photography: 1861

James Clerk Maxwell was an achieving Scottish mathematician. On May 17 1861, Maxwell introduced the Royal Institution to the first ever colour photo. The photo was of a tartan ribbon and was made using a three-colour method, suggested by Maxwell back in 1855.

The refrigerator: 1755

William Cullen, born in 1710 was the man who invented the artificial refrigerator. In 1748, the Scottish scientist demonstrated his findings by rapidly heating liquid into gas, which resulted in a cooling effect. Cullen’s practices weren’t used until 1805 and that concept behind refrigeration is still used today. Cool!

Disposable contact lenses: 1995

Scottish-born Ron Hamilton had a great interest in the importance for eye health and with that created designed the daily disposable eye-contact lenses and even built the first laboratory in the world dedicated to making them.

Grand Theft Auto (GTA): 1984

Fast and furious and Dundee born, David Jones, is the designer of the video game Grand Theft Auto and is the co-creator, alongside Mike Dailly. Jones and Dailly are also the designers of another very successful video game, Lemmings.

The electric toaster: 1893

Thanks to Alan MacMasters, toasting bread has never been easier! The Scottish scientist developed a toasting device called the Eclipse Toaster, however, it had no timer and toasted only one side of the bread, so you had to flip it over to toast the other side. The Eclipse Toaster went on to be manufactured and sold in Britain by the Crompton Company.

The raincoat: 1824

For this, you have Charles Macintosh to thank! Thanks to this Glaswegian chemist, we can brave the Scottish weather with full confidence. He designed the coat using a new tarpaulin fabric, which he
described as ‘India rubber cloth’, and made as a ‘sandwich’ with two pieces of fabric surrounding a core of rubber softened by naphtha.

The Bank of England: 1694

Yes, you did read that right. Sir William Paterson proposed the idea of the Bank of England in 1691. When it was founded, in 1694, Sir Paterson became the director, only to resign a year later.

Criminal finger printing: 1880

Henry Faulds became interested in modern fingerprints when he was taking part in archaeological digs in Japan and spotted that some of the ancient pottery had fingerprints. Faulds then developed and wrote the idea that fingerprints could be used to to identify criminals. At first, Scotland Yard actually declined this idea.

The pneumatic tyre: 1839

One of Scotland’s most forgotten inventors, Robert William Thomson, is the person behind the pneumatic tyre, or ‘aerial wheel’ as Thomson called it, at the age of just 23. However, cars and motorcycles weren’t yet on the streets and bicycles were just on the up, so the demand for his product, unlike now, was short.