🎧 Patented: History of Inventions

🎧 Patented: History of Inventions

This podcast investigates the curious history of invention and innovation. Did Thomas Edison take credit for things he didn’t actually invent? What everyday items have surprising origins? And would man have ever got to the moon without… the bra?

Each episode host Dallas Campbell dives into stories of flukey discoveries, erased individuals and murky marketing ploys with the help of experts, scientists and historians.

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🎧 Patented: History of Inventions
  • 🎧 Tabasco Sauce

    Every bottle of Tabasco sauce on earth comes from one place - Avery Island, deep down in Louisiana. The same place where the sauce was invented by one Edmund McIlhenny in 1868.

    Joining Dallas to uncover the origin story of the world’s favourite spicy sauce is the official Tabasco historian Shane...

  • 🎧 Concrete

    Concrete is the second most used material on earth after only water. There are more than half a trillion tons of it weighing down the earth. Which is a problem. Where did concrete come from? And why are we so addicted to it?

    To get into the nitty gritty with Dallas is Barnabas Calder who is Head...

  • 🎧 Cold War Origins of Tanks in Ukraine

    The war in Ukraine is being fought with tanks designed in the Cold War. The US Abrams. The German Leopard. The British Challenger. All have been sent to fight Russia’s soviet era machines. T-72s, T-62s, T-80s.

    One year into the war in Ukraine we explore the origins of the tanks being used to fig...

  • 🎧 The First Computer Program

    This is the story of the first modern computer program and the extraordinary woman who wrote it, Klara von Neumann.

    The program Klara wrote was a list of numbers eight hundred odd lines long. Gibberish to look at now but to the room-sized computer she was working with, it translated into a sophi...

  • 🎧 Keyboards

    The keyboard on the first ever commercially successful typewriter and the keyboard on your smartphone are separated by a gulf of time and technology. Yet their layout is essentially the same (plus or minus a few new buttons along the way).

    Who invented the QWERTY keyboard layout and why hasn’t i...

  • 🎧 Filing Cabinets

    It’s perhaps the most overlooked invention of all time. Consigned to a forgotten corner in the basement of history. The Filing Cabinet.

    Yet the humble Filing Cabinet was at the centre of an information revolution and became critical to the infrastructure of 20th century nation states and busines...

  • 🎧 Instant Noodles

    In the year 2000 Japan was asked what its greatest invention of the twentieth century was. They had a LOT to choose from. The Walkman. The bullet train. Digital Cameras. Pokemon. But the winner wasInstant Noodles.

    Today Dallas learns about Momofuku Ando, the inventor-cum-tax-evader who invented ...

  • 🎧 The Rise and Fall of the BlackBerry

    At its peak, the BlackBerry was the world’s most popular smartphone with almost 50% of the US market. They were called the ‘CrackBerry’ so many people wanted one. Now they have a 0% share of the market. This is the story of their rise-and-fall.

    Today on Patented we’re handing over the mic to a p...

  • 🎧 God

    If God invented Heaven and Earth, then who invented God? To explain how gods ‘are invented’, how they evolve and why so many seem to have vanished, Dallas is joined by Francesca Stavrakopoulou, author of ‘God: An Anatomy’. They explore the human instinct to create deities and the origins of the G...

  • 🎧 Archimedes

    It’s the most famous bath of all time. But what exactly was Archimedes so excited about?

    We discover the truth behind the legend of Archimedes, and find out about the industrial revolution that almost happened in Ancient Greece, with today’s guest Armand D’Angour. He’s a Professor of Classics at...

  • 🎧 Snakes and Ladders

    It turns out that all those times you played Snakes and Ladders (Chutes and Ladders) as a child you were playing a game that once symbolised the whole universe and our place in it. Instead of crying when you landed on a snake you should really have been reflecting upon the nature of reality.


  • 🎧 Farming

    Exactly when, where, how, why our ancient ancestors ‘invented’ farming is one of the great questions of archaeology.

    Surely if we can answer it we will understand something profound about humanity and the journey we are on.

    But like all good invention stories, this one isn’t straightforward.


  • 🎧 Spam

    Spam Spam Spam, glorious Spam! Who invented Spam Emails? Just how much Spam activity is there online? And how will we survive once Spam AI gets going?

    Spam has been the nemesis of the internet since its earliest days. And soon AI-powered spambots will force us to radically change our online beha...

  • 🎧 Fonts

    Fonts are usually invisible to us; we absorb the written word without noticing the medium (unless someone sends you an email in comic sans and then you can’t see past the choice of font!)

    But every font is a piece of design, created for a specific purpose at a specific point in time. Laden with ...

  • 🎧 The IQ Test

    How would you feel if you found out you had a very high or a very low IQ? Would it change you? The IQ test has an awful allure to it. A single number that ranks your mental ability against everyone else’s, for better or for worse.

    Helping Dallas explore the origins of this blasted test is John C...

  • 🎧 Toilets

    It’s time to talk about the toilet, or crapper, or bog, or the john, head, the comfort station, khazi, dunny, can, throne, pissoir.

    Join Dallas and his guest, Rose George - author of The Big Necessity, on a trip down the toilet bowl of history as they uncover the origins of the flush toilet.


  • 🎧 Caesarean section

    A hundred years ago next to no one was born via Caesarean Section. Today, one in five new arrivals on planet earth come via a Caesarean. Its meteoric rise is down to an invention most people won’t know. The Foetal Heart Monitor.

    This is a story about how the law of unintended consequences led ...

  • 🎧 Sawing Someone in Half Trick

    When this trick was first performed, ushers poured buckets of blood down the gutter outside the theatre to entice people into the macabre spectacle. Today Dallas is joined by Jim Steinmeyer to talk about the invention and development of the most iconic magic trick of all - Sawing Someone In Half....

  • 🎧 Levi's Jeans

    150 years ago a patent was lodged for the first ever pair of jeans (what we’d think of as jeans today at least). There were two names on it. One was the inventor Jacob Davis. The other was the company he was going into business with: Levi Strauss & Co.

    How did Levi’s jeans come to be? Why are th...

  • 🎧 Sex

    250 million years ago the armour-plated Placoderm fish invented the act of sex as we know it. Hubba Hubba. Dive in the historical sack as we go in search of the origins of nature’s greatest ever invention.

    Dallas’s guest on this episode is Australian palaeontologist John Long, author of The Dawn...

  • 🎧 Plastic

    You can argue that plastics were invented to save nature from human depredation…that plan backfired a bit!

    Early plastics were designed as substitutes for scarce natural products like ivory and shellac or the shells of endangered snails. But it didn’t take long for things to get out of hand.


  • 🎧 Open Plan Office

    The Open Plan Office. A little bit of you might die inside every time you hear those words. But we promise you the history of how they came to be is worth hearing.

    Born at the same time as the counter cultural revolution of the 60s, Open Plan was supposed to create the offices that the egalitari...

  • 🎧 Timekeeping

    Today we’re bringing you an episode from Dan Snow’s History Hit. Normally Patented service will resume in the New Year.

    Accurate timekeeping is at the very root of all of the technological advances in the modern world, but how did it all begin? From Roman sundials to mediaeval water-clocks, peop...

  • 🎧 Christmas Crackers

    Ho ho ho! Come with us on a Christmas tale of invention as we talk to the world’s only Christmas Cracker historian, Peter Kimpton of Norwich.

    🎄Hear about Tom Smith the inventor of the Christmas Cracker
    🎁Discover the strangest Christmas Cracker ever made
    🧑‍🎄Learn what makes the “CRACK”!