Kalashnikov, or AK-47
> Inventor: Mikhail Kalashnikov
> Year it was invented: 1947
> Description: Assault rifle
Arguably the most famous weapon in history, the AK-47 was designed from a hospital bed by Mikhail Kalashnikov. Kalashnikov, who served in a Russian tank unit, had been wounded during a battle against Germany in World War II.
> Inventor: John Landis Mason
> Year it was invented: 1858
> Description: Wide-mouthed glass jar
You would think that the inventor of one of the most useful containers ever created would have made a lot of money from his invention. But Mason did not see a penny from his jars because companies started mass producing them after the patent expired in 1879.
> Inventor: Julius Richard Petri
> Year it was invented: 1877
> Description: Transparent dish used for the culture of microorganisms
Julius Richard Petri was a German microbiologist working for the army when he designed nesting glass plates that happened to be perfect for growing microorganisms. Petri worked under Robert Koch, who was famous for discovering the causes of cholera, tuberculosis, and anthrax. But he was able to do so because he had sterilized petri dishes to grow bacteria in.
> Inventor: Jules LÃ©otard
> Year it was invented: 1860s
> Description: Skin-tight one-piece garment
Every dancer in the world now has one — or maybe a dozen. Jules LÃ©otard, a French acrobat, performed in this tight-fitting, one-piece garment. He preferred the all-in-one suit because it was aerodynamic, didn’t obstruct movement, and could not get entangled with the ropes.
> Inventor: Ferdinand von Zeppelin
> Year it was invented: 1900
> Description: Airship supported by internal gas cells
This cigar-shaped airship was a real beast. Measuring 420 feet, it connected two external cars, each of which had a 16-horsepower engine and two propellers. The original zeppelin could fly at 20 mph for about 100 hours. Germany used them in World War I to bomb targets that were far away.
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