Our regional Major Grocery Store chain, Raleys, has it's own brand, and on the back of one of their cereal boxes is a listing of "Great Inventions of the Twentieth Century", ten of them. The second one (for 1913) shows a Model T! However, what is being lauded is the moving assembly line, not the T. Actually the text reads, "... the first belt-based assembly line. . ."
The other inventions, in order: 1903 Wright Flyer, 1913 Model T Ford (OK, their title is a bit misleading, but in our favor! ), 1924 Television, 1943 Aqualung, 1945 Computer, 1946 Microwave (oven), 1953 Polio Vaccine, 1967 Smoke Alarm, 1990 World Wide Web, 1997 DVD ( it notes that ". . . the invention of the DVD cannot be linked to one person or company." hmm
OK, Now my comment is, Telephone, predates 1900, OK, Printed circuit board, on which almost everything mechanical made today uses? Digital imaging, has replaced film?? (not completely, but for practical purposes has) Xerox copy process that is in use in almost every home in USA, except those without computers? 1990 for World Wide Web? in 1986 there was a web-based communications system between universities--granted, text only, and had to be related to research--although I was part of a group of rail-fans who were, on an experimental, and limited basis, allowed to use the system to communicate non-scientific railroad related stuff. IMHO, THAT was the start of the non-scientific-based WEB! About a year later, the system was expanded to include students (to share class notes and other campus stuff. . . RIGHT...), and we know what happened after that!
Of course, they (Raleys)did limit themselves to 10 inventions, AND they included the Model T, so all is forgiven!!
What about the transistor? The transistor made many of the modern electronics equipment possible.
While the Microwave oven may have been only around for the year listed, the idea of microwaves predates that by about 16 or more years. It was talked about being used to heat treat steel in a 1930 Popular Mechanics I have a copy of.
Ya if not for the American invention of the transistor the Japanese electronic industrial complex would never have been built and all those radios that everyone had would never have happened. Could you imagine your lap top only using vacuum tubes, sounds Steam Punk!
Where does Brooke Shields, Phil Collins, and the "artist" formerly known as "Prince" fit into this ?
No one cares about stupid stuff like cars and aqualungs ! Let's get real, people !
Mark, there's a great post Apocalyptic game series called "Fllout" that pursues an alternative history where transistors were never created. Some of the awesome retro/modern machinery they came up with using tube systems for the game is indeed very cool steam punk.