In twentieth century world witnessed two devastating wars that were responsible for near about 50 to 56 million deaths. In addition 19 to 28 million people perished due to war related disease and famine. Although wars are never good for human kind and all the attempts should be made to avert it. However, today we are going to look at different aspects of war. This different view will enable us to ponder on the inventive side of war. Inventions done at the time of World war I and World war II.

Important inventions of World War I include:

Sanitary Pads: Cellucotton material was already invented before war began by Kimberly- Clark a US firm. During war this was widely used for dressing purpose of injured soldiers. But, on the other hand red cross society used it for other hygienic purposes and this use made the company’s fortune after the post war period. Cellucotton material was trademarked in US.

Sun lamp: Dr. Kurt Huldschinsky did an experiment with his patients who were suffering from rickets. He put them under Lamp where mercury and quartz emitted ultraviolet rays. In this experiment he found out that bones were getting stronger and hence it was proved that vitamin D was necessary for bone growth and strength. In whole Germany in 1919 children were brought out before the sun, at some places even street lights were dismantled for being used for treatment of children.

Tea Bags: Although it is said that once an American merchant starting delivering tea to his customers in small pouches. It might have happened that by accident it dropped in water and from then on the process began. But it was in World war I, that the German company, Teekanne copied the idea and started delivering tea in small cotton bags to soldiers. At the time of war it was also known as “Tea Bomb”.

Important inventions of World War II include:

The Jeep: During World War II United States of America asked for submission of designs from various car manufacturing companies. This design was to be of universally effective military vehicle. Finally a hybrid model of a few submitted designs was taken for manufacturing. The first companies to manufacture this vehicle were the Ford motor company, American Bantam car company and Willys- Overland. Finally in 1940, this new machine came and was nicknamed as “Jeep” by the soldiers.

Super Glue: This was invented by Dr. Harry Coover in 1942. It was accidentally discovered when Dr. Harry was busy in designing new lenses for gun sights. The chemical compound cyanoacrylate had intense adhesive property. Later it was manufactured on large scale and was used as spray on super glue. It was used in Vietnam war on large scale to stop wounds from bleeding.

The Microwave oven: Percy Spencer, one of the engineers of World War II, who had helped in inventions of Radar was inventor of microwave oven. He invented it while testing a radar machine when the chocolate in his hands melted. After that he brought various food items to the

proximity and hence gave a machine for commercial use. Later in 1970s it could be found in almost all households of USA.

Besides all these inventions there were other inventions too that took place in between two world wars and were utilized extensively in one of them. One such invention is that of “Pencillin”. This antibiotic was invented by Alexander Fleming in 1928. But during world war II it was produced at large scale and improved the survival rate of injured soldiers. It production was termed by USA as “race against death” at that time. Similarly, “Synthetic Rubber” was produced at mass scale during war because Japan had taken control of South East Asia in 1942. Therefore, many factories sprang up for production of synthetic rubber on which American scientists were working as an alternative to natural rubber.

Therefore, in this way we can find many inventions that were done at the time to World wars and had seen development in technology with passage of time such as computers, radars, etc.


The views are that of author’s own and not necessarily the views of IPTSE Academy. This blog is a platform for academic discussions and hence authors have been given flexibility to convey their thought process. 


Tushar Srivastava, Student at law School, IIT Kharagpur.


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