From the paper clip to the battery-operated flashlight, 1899 was a good year for inventions and ingenuity. These inventions sprang from around the globe. Some say they changed history.
Russian native Conrad Hubert became a citizen of the United States in 1891. A few years later, he invented a battery-powered flashlight. Sold as Ever Ready flashlights, the devices made him very rich and gave the world a practical, portable source of light.
Norwegian Johann Vaaler produced a version of the paperclip in 1899, though his invention struggled to compete with the English Gem clip. Proud of Vaaler's paperclip, Norway erected a large monument to it near Oslo. The paperclip also served as a national symbol of resistance to the Nazi occupation of Norway, according to Biography Base.
The Motorized Vacuum Cleaner
In 1899, John S. Thurman patented a version of the vacuum cleaner, credited as being the first motorized vacuum cleaner. Fueled by gasoline, the " pneumatic carpet renovator" was the first carpet cleaner relying on something other than human muscle for power, according to American Heritage.