The most influential inventions?

Jonathan Mills
3 min readJan 1, 2023

When considering inventions, one might be able to say rather quickly that digital devices have made the most impact on day-to-day life — this is not necessarily true, however, as I grew up without computers, televisions, or phones. Yes, we did have an antiquated, black, heavy-duty telephone, but I was not allowed to use it. If I wanted to communicate with friends, I had to run to their respective houses to have a chat face to face. It is so strange to think that, in those days, you actually had to look at someone’s eyes and facial expressions in order to communicate! This type of communication took time and was very inefficient, but I was fit.

In those days, the best inventions were the light bulb, the vehicle, and the washing machine. The washing machine saved hours of jumping up and down on clothes in the bath to get them clean. The light really helped with washing dishes at night — you could check if they were truly spotless. The vehicle was really helpful as cities started spreading out and, yes, I travelled by bus to school for a large part of my school experience. Buses were fun — you could chat with many other kids simultaneously and practise sport moves in the corridors. I liked the top floor in those double-decker buses — out of sight of the driver if you hung your school blazer over the upstairs mirror, you could do so much more fun stuff.

I was very proud when I received my first hand-held calculator in my final year of high school. It wasn’t a very fancy version, but it could add, subtract, multiply, and divide. It had a few problems with fractions and seemed to run out of space with large numbers, but for the most part it worked. If I had been given the stupid thing in junior school, I am sure it would have made a difference with my mathematics homework.

Later in life, other inventions proved to be a lot more important — namely, the dishwashing machine, the microwave oven and the kettle. These three appliances have found a special place in daily living. I mean, what’s the point of having a computer if you can’t boil water to make tea or coffee? How is internet connectivity going to help with washing the dishes? My computer can’t heat the dog’s food, so a microwave oven ranks high on my priority list.

And yes, the introduction of the personal computer and cellular phone have changed the way we pay for stuff, communicate, and find information. No longer is there a need for a library of cooking books as a recipe for vegetable soup is readily accessible online. People now cook with phones perched neatly on the counter, just far enough away from the stove’s heat to prevent damaging this important device. The phone is handy, but mine is very rude — it tells me if my screen time is down or up during the past week. As if I care!

I am pleased about the introduction of the computer, however, as some rather clever people have supplied me with many font options to use in place of my handwriting — you would never had been able to read this article had it not been for Times New Roman, Arial or Calibri. The computer is also good for two more reasons — it gives you the opportunity to keep up to date with the latest gossip and, more importantly, fills the hole from having too many hours in your day. I mean, what would I do with my time if I didn’t have a computer?

Originally published at on January 1, 2023.



Jonathan Mills

Jonathan has spent over 30 years focusing his efforts on developing people throughout the world. He believes that people have the most impact when stretched.