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10 greatest British tech inventions

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4. Incandescent light bulb

Sir Joseph Wilson Swan first demonstrated the light bulb in 1878 at a lecture in Newcastle, but only received a patent in 1880. Swan began working on a light bulb in 1850, using carbonised paper filaments in an empty glass bulb, slowly improving the vacuum of the bulb in the following years. 

He began placing light bulbs in homes throughout England and by early 1880s he had started his own light bulb company.

5. Television

Scottish engineer John Logie Baird is credited with the invention of the world’s first television in 1924 as a result of work by many other inventors. The first public demonstration of the semi-mechanical television was held a year later in London and in 1928 Baird began experimenting with colour TV.

In 1932 he made the first TV broadcast between London and Glasgow.

6. Jet engine

The jet engine’s history goes back to the 20th century when Sir Frank Whittle joined the Royal Air Force. In 1929 he saw that a gas turbine and compressor could produce the thrust to propel a plane at high speeds. 

The industry, however, rejected his idea and it was only in 1936 that the company Power Jets was set up to build jet engine prototypes.

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