I already know my answer to this question.
Air conditioning. No doubt about it. I don’t know if I’d be able to function or even live if it didn’t exist. But hey, enough about me.
Here’s what people on AskReddit had to say about this subject.
1. Definitely a huge one.
It changed the world. Food can be preserved and shipped vast distances. Supermarkets are a thing now! Frozen fruit and vegetables, meat, dairy are all readily available.
We have fridges in our homes. We can make ice on a whim. Our beer is cold and life is good.”
2. I’m a huge fan.
“The public library.
More information and entertainment than you could ever get through in a lifetime, paid for by the people, for the people, and open to everyone? A place where you can freely go and use the computers if you don’t otherwise have access? Get out of the rain?
Research local history or your family tree? Where there are people who will help you find that bit of information you need but don’t know where to start looking? Where you’re not expected to buy anything? Where there are storytime sessions for young kids right alongside adult learning classes?
Oh, and pretty much every town has one? Where the only thing you have to do is bring back the things you’ve borrowed in a timely manner so other people can enjoy it too — and where people actually do it?
The public library is a phenomenally large undertaking, and I’m always in awe that those crazy bastards not only managed to pull it off but also to make it seem so normal and everyday that people actually take the things for granted.”
3. Thankful for that.
Cities would not be possible without a good sewer system.
What’s even more impressive is that we had sewers in Ancient Rome. They have saved millions of lives of the years by having cleaner sanitation.”
4. They sure are handy.
So much better than having to look at the sun!
Also led to navigation and voyages at sea.”
5. Cities would look different.
No elevators would completely change the landscape of cities.”
6. Saves a lot of time.
“Copy, paste, and cut functions.
Sure we use them all the time and we don’t think about it, but there was a time when that wasn’t an option…just think about that. It’s fucking bonkers.”
7. Yes to this!
“Air conditioners are extremely important to populating the majority of the west coast.
Without it, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and large portions of California would be veritable wastelands.”
8. Imagine life without them…
It’s nice being able to read and not get hit by cars.”
9. Taken for granted.
“Door knobs- super handy, but never really talked about.
Door knob broke and I lived in college without one for 2 weeks. Damn I took that invention for granted.”
10. Don’t take this for granted.
I don’t take those for granted. Imagine filling a washtub and scrubbing clothes with a bar of soap, then hanging all that to dry, no matter the season. Yuck.”
11. All hail pencils!
It absolutely revolutionized how so much recording, design, and general progress was done, to the point that there were a number of countries that had strategic wad reserves (wad being the precursor to modern pencil lead).
It may be looked down upon now but has done so much good.”
12. They sure are comfortable.
Do we all really appreciate to the full extent that we should how great shoes are? I mean, think about how painful some of the places we go would be if we didn’t have shoes.
I’m not denying the possibility that we would have evolved around a lack of shoes, but they’re just such a nice thing to have.”
13. Saved a lot of lives.
The things diabetics had to do in order to stay alive before the advent of insulin is damn near inhumane, and they only lived til like 12 years old at absolute most.”
14. The stuff of magic.
Without it, optics of any kind are gone. Poor eyesight? Tough. Telescope to see the planets and moon? Gone.
And worst of all no microbiology, because no microscopes either. Glass is a fabulous thing so common we don’t even think about it. Its absence in China allowed Europe to get a jump in a whole range of technical areas.
Glass, the stuff of magic.”
15. Think about that one…
“The printing press.
When it was created, it allowed the transmission of knowledge at an unseen rate.
Before that, everything had to be written by hand and books were considered rare and expensive commodities only available to select few individuals.”
16. Makes a lot of folks happy.
In 1872 the Welsh invented the condom, using a sheep’s lower intestine.
In 1873, the British refined the idea by taking the intestine out of the sheep.”
17. I want to ride my bicycle.
“Honestly, bikes are one of the most underrated thing.
As a kid that was your only way to get out of the house by yourself and you could go anywhere you wanted as long as you could get home.”
Some good stuff in those answers!
What do you think? In your opinion, what is the most underrated invention of all time?
Share your thoughts with us in the comments!