Some incredible inventions have changed people’s lives for the better over thousands of years.

Thomas Edison’s discovery of electricity provided an astonishing improvement to the world and the invention of the telephone was also a massive game-changer.

More recently, the work of Steve Jobs and Apple to invent smartphones and everything they have to offer from Google Maps to having your entire record collection on your phone has made an incredible difference.


These are the huge, headline-grabbing inventions.

However, there have been millions more over the years.

A lot of which are totally unspectacular, but have also made great improvements to people’s lives.

You may not think much about it, but the following items have definitely made life more convenient.

Here are some of the most underrated inventions of all time.

Sliced Bread

Who invented it: Otto Frederick Rohwedder

When it was invented: 1928

Why it’s underrated: 

The much-overused phrase “the best thing since sliced bread” suggests the importance of this invention.

In the modern world, a lot people don’t have to bake their own bread, and attempts to slice a loaf from the baker’s often results in a mess, with slices that either look like doormats, or are too thin to toast without burning.

A first-world nightmare, no doubt.

Rohwedder was a jeweler and an engineer who came up with an automatic bread slicing machine.

The invention would have come a lot sooner, but a fire at the factory where he was making it destroyed both his prototype and his designs.

He had to go right back to the beginning of the process to get more funding, which took him another 10 years.

When it eventually came, the machine was so advanced it both sliced and wrapped the bread.

The first was sold in July 1928.

The design concept was taken and improved by other bakers and within a few years, sliced bread was widely available.

Of course, the obvious invention following the creation of sliced bread was the electric toaster.

Tin Cans

Who invented it: Peter Durand

When they were invented: 1810

Why it’s underrated:

You just don’t think about it.

Get a tin of veg, pulses, or, if you’re in the UK, Baked Beans, off the shelf, open it, cook it, eat it.

And they last for years.

It would be healthier to eat from cardboard alternatives, but your store cupboard would be empty as the food would go off in a few days.

Canned vegetables can last for up to five years.

Food with higher acid content like tomatoes, you’re looking at about 18 months.

Sadly, the first can opener wasn’t invented until 50 years later, which must have been frustrating.

Durand followed up the finds of the Frenchman Philippe de Girard to create the methods we know and love today.

Water Bottles

Who invented it: Nathaniel Wyeth

When it was invented: 1973

Why it’s underrated: 

The importance of keeping hydrated has come to the fore in modern times.

The need to reduce plastic waste is also a huge priority.

So, the invention of the reusable plastic water bottle has been crucial.

It was actually invented in 1973 but now people either buy specially made refillable bottles, or simply fill up a plastic bottle from their tap.

Paper Towels

Who invented it: Irvin Scott

When it was invented: 1879

Why they’re underrated: 

There are certainly more eco-friendly options than paper towels, but they’re handy.

If you have kids or pets, you’ll know life without paper towels would be miserable.

You use them to wipe faces, absorb spills, or wash pet messes off the carpet.


Who invented it: The ancient Romans

When it was invented: in 500 B.C.

Why they’re underrated: 

Candles still come into use in power cuts, which is preferable to sitting in complete darkness.

Scented candles are very popular around the house.

Obviously, the Romans didn’t invent them for this purpose, but as time has evolved there is a still use for candles, which shows what a great invention they were.

Super Glue

Who invented it: Dr. Harry Coover

When it was invented: 1942

Why it’s underrated: 

While we’ve all experienced the irritation of gluing our fingers together by accident, Super Glue has been a revelation since its invention in 1942.

And did you know it was made by accident?

During World War II, Harry Coover was experimenting with a chemical called cyanoacrylate to make clear plastic for the military to use.

The chemical was already very sticky, but as soon it touched water, it formed a super-strong bond with any surface it touched.

Since then, the incredible glue can now pretty much fix anything to anything.

It’s even been used to glue up wounds in surgery.


Who invented it: John Walker

When it was invented: 1826

Why they’re underrated: 

Do you want to be like Bear Grylls and make fire by rubbing two sticks together? No.

Fire obviously came first, but if you’ve ever seen the likes of Grylls or Ed Stafford trying to make fire in the wild, particularly if it’s wet, you want an easier option.

Matches are an incredibly convenient, efficient way of making fire and life would be a lot more annoying if Mr Walker hadn’t invented them nearly 200 years ago.

Bubble Wrap

Who invented it: Marc Chavannes and Al Fielding

When it was invented: 1957

Why it’s so underrated:

Online deliveries might not be the colossal industry it is today without bubble wrap.

Think about it, all your deliveries would come smashed to pieces without this invention.

Bizarrely, Bubble Wrap was originally meant to be used as wallpaper.

That idea never took off, but now it’s used for packaging.

And who doesn’t like spending a bit of time popping a few of the bubbles?

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