Inventions and Discoveries

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Date Submitted: 09/04/2011 01:21 PM

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The Stethoscope

Invented in 1816 by French physician, Rene Theophile Hyacinthe Laënnec (1781–1826), the stethoscope is an invention common to all doctors. The stethoscope is used to listen to the sounds made by the heart and lungs. By investigating these sounds Laënnec could determine if the diagnoses he made in life were correct in the autopsies. The word stethoscope means to explore the chest. Originally doctors would listen to a patient’s chest with their ears, but Laënnec discovered that if one used something to modify the sounds they would become clearer. He spent three years testing various types of materials to make the perfect tube and the perfect design. The final design was a hollow tube of wood fitted with a plug when used to listen to the heart. He made it so it could be disassembled for portability ( Roguin, 2006). Prior to the invention of the stethoscope there were few ways to examine the chest. Using this invention doctors can document sounds and make diagnoses, which could then be seen later in autopsies. Using the stethoscope man is now able to investigate the human body to learn how it works, why some ailments happen, and what treatments could succeed.

The Telegraph

Samuel Morse invented the electric telegraph around 1836. The word telegraph means “to write far” and along with Morse’s telegraphic alphabet, called Morse Code, messages could be sent along wires and received instantly on the other side. On September 2, 1837 Morse completed a successful experiment using 17 hundred feet of copper wire. In February the following year he petitioned Washington to build telegraphs lines for communication with Baltimore. After being turned down he appealed in December of 1842 and Congress finally approved the bill February 23, 1843. 30,000 dollars was appropriated to lay wires above ground on poles, a year later the project was completed ( Bellis, 2011). This invention helped increase the speed of communication across stretches of land. Before the...