Every object and device we use in everyday life and take for granted, such as books or house lights, was once an innovative invention which changed society. Typography, for example, was the driving force behind tackling illiteracy and lights --- both at home and in the streets --- extended human activities beyond the sunset. Inventions have a strong impact on the way societies are structured and function, making it impossible to imagine how we could live without them.
The internal combustion engine, the main component of automobiles, had serious effects on man's work habits and leisure activities. Public transport in the form of buses, as well as privately-owned cars, allowed people to work and educate themselves --- as well as search for work and education --- miles away from their residences. It also made transportation between cities faster and cheaper, as the alternative to steam engine trains were not carriages drawn by horses, but fast buses. However, the excessive use of petrol-consuming vehicles also had an impact on the atmosphere, contributing to large concentrations of greenhouse gases.
Organized schools, accommodating hundreds or even thousands of students, could not function without the massive production of educational books. Typography, invented by Johannes Gutenberg in the 15th century, brought a revolution on how books and small journals were produced. Books became cheaper and more available to the public, contributing to the rising literacy rates. Other inventions with applications in education are slide projectors, which made presentations in the classroom easier and the Internet, allowing students --- and teachers --- to search for any information from around the world instantly.
In ancient times, one could communicate only with anyone who was within hearing distance. Even when someone wrote down their thoughts, since there were no mass-produced books, only a handful of people would read their work. However, books, telegraphs, telephones, television, fax machines and ultimately the Internet have made it possible for people to communicate from any point on the globe. Such inventions had a huge impact on communication between state leaders (a prominent example is the Kennedy-Khrushchev talks during the Cuban Missile Crisis), as well as on the rise of internationally-recognized personalities, from authors to pop stars.
The invention of electricity, light bulbs and machines were the main factors behind an abrupt rise in productivity from the 19th century onwards. Factories could stay open after sunset, creating new jobs for evening workers and contributing to the rise of productivity. Machines helped complete tasks much quicker, or even took over some tasks, such as placing lids on bottles or carrying the product from one department of the factory to another.
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