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20th Century Timeline 1900 - 1999

20th Century - the technology, science, and inventions


handful of crayons

20th Century Invention Crayons

Getty Images/Photographer Thomas Northcut
Timeline <1000 - 1300 <1400 <1500 <1600 <1700 <1800 <1900 <2000

Technology, science, and inventions have progressed at an accelerated rate during the hundred years of the 20th century, more so than any other century.

We began the 20th century with the infancy of airplanes, automobiles, and radio, when those inventions dazzled us with their novelty and wonder.

We end the 20th century with spaceships, computers, cell phones, and the wireless Internet all being technologies we can take for granted.



  • King Camp Gillette invents the double-edged safety razor.
  • The first radio receiver, successfully received a radio transmission.
  • Hubert Booth invents a compact and modern vacuum cleaner.



  • Edward Binney and Harold Smith co-invent crayons.
  • Bottle-making machinery invented by Michael J. Owens.
  • The Wright brothers invent the first gas motored and manned airplane.
  • Mary Anderson invents windshield wipers.
  • William Coolidge invents ductile tungsten used in lightbulbs.


  • Teabags invented by Thomas Suillivan.
  • Benjamin Holt invents a tractor.
  • John A Fleming invents a vacuum diode or Fleming valve.


  • Albert Einstein published the Theory of Relativity and made famous the equation, E = mc2.
  • Mary Anderson receives a patent for windshield wipers.



  • Leo Baekeland invents the first synthetic plastic called Bakelite.
  • Color photography invented by Auguste and Louis Lumiere.
  • The very first piloted helicopter was invented by Paul Cornu.


  • The gyrocompass invented by Elmer A. Sperry.
  • Cellophane invented by Jacques E. Brandenberger.
  • Model T first sold.
  • J W Geiger and W Müller invent the geiger counter.
  • Fritz Haber invents the Haber Process for making artificial nitrates.[/liu]


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