10 genius ways German inventors improved our lives

6. Accordions


When asked to think of Germany, one often thinks of a portly man wearing lederhosen, a green hat and a chirpy grin, playing folk tunes on a huge accordion. In fact, early versions of the instrument date back to third century BC China. But the first “true” accordion was indeed invented by a German, Christian Friedrich Buschmann, who in 1822 attached bellows to a portable keyboard with vibrating reeds, naming it a “hand-aeoline”.

7. X-ray machines

The first X-ray machine, or radiography device, was invented by Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, physics chair at the University of Würzburg. Röntgen apparently discovered the unknown radiation, which he marked with an x, while investigating cathode rays.

He noticed that the radiation could pass through human tissue but not bones. The first x-ray ever taken was of his wife’s hand. Upon seeing the image, she is said to have commented “I have seen my own death”.

8. Contact lenses


Although Leonardo da Vinci is said to have been the first man to come up with the idea of a contact lens, it was a German by the name of Adolf Gaston Eugen Fick who first made a contact lens and successfully fitted it to the human eye. Fick’s prototype is of course far from the modern product we know today and could only be worn for an hour or two at a time due to its unwieldy size.

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