Monday, June 3, 2019
Everyday things that were originally developed for military applications (18 Photos)
Unless you’re a military buff, you’d probably be surprised to know how much of today’s technology, started off as a tool for the military. And while it’s pretty easy to assume that things like jet engines, space flight/rockets, aviator sunglasses, weather radar, jeeps & drones were all military tech at one point, there’s also a lot of stuff we take for granted now, that came out of someone’s army trying to figure out how to do something better to protect their troops.
Makes you wonder what they’re cooking up now, that we’ll get our hands on in the near future?
The internet started its life back in 1977 as the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network. It initially only created a network within a single location. Then it spread to several. Then it went worldwide.
From there, it went public and worldwide.
After WWII the Space Race essentially began and mankind started shooting satellites into the sky. In the 1990’s, a lot of these satellites were used by the U.S. Government and military arms to keep soldiers safe, identify targets and improve mapping.
As the tech improved, it was realized that it could be moved into civilian applications too.
During WWII, an ordnance worker in Illinois realized that the tape used to keep ammunition boxes was too time-consuming to open and a new flexible, waterproof material was needed. She developed a cloth-based waterproof tape that could be easily removed but would be insanely tough.
Once in widespread use in the military, it became the de facto repair tool for weapons, vehicles and uniforms. Over the years it’s been improved, and commercialized and has even been used on the moon to repair a damaged buggy.
In the 40’s and 50’s, there was a tech boom in the military, where they were playing around with various things. One experiment was looking at radar technology developed during WWII to see if it could create tiny, electromagnetic waves.
They found that an application of these waves could be used to rapidly heat and cook food. The idea was then released to manufactures, who dropped the first microwave oven in 1946. The appliance, however, didn’t really start selling until the late 60’s, when the tech got smaller and cheaper.
Originally, digital cameras were developed for use in spy satellites, to capture high res aerial images. The tech was used throughout the Cold War and by the 70’s, commercial applications were explored.
Now, we’ve got them in our pockets.
In their earliest iteration, computers were made up of punch cards and mechanical loom arms, especially during the early days of WWII. In the later stages of that war, however, huge leaps in electronic digital programmable computing were seen. Especially in a machine called Colossus.
After helping win the war, the age of modern digital computing began through the 60’s and 70’s.
Synthetic Rubber Tires
Historically, tires were manufactured from natural rubber that was supplied by Southeast Asia. During WWII, when Japan was the enemy, this option was out of bounds, so a new formula was needed.
The military-industrial complex was more than up to the task, and now synthetic rubber is almost more commonly used than the real stuff.
Old Time Candy
The race for a synthetic rubber didn’t just result in tires, it also created a super stretchy and bouncy rubber that no one knew that to do with.
A toy store owner and a marketing consultant saw the material and partnered up to bring Silly Putty to the children’s toy market and made millions.
During WWII, scientists were tasked with finding a material suitable for creating clear plastic gun sights for weapons. During that experimentation, they accidentally make a substance that stuck to everything.
It ended up being rejected for military use and was sold commercially in 1958 as Superglue.
It goes without saying that a starving army, is a useless army, and during the Napoleanic Wars, many battles were lost because the soldiers were foraging for meals and going hungry. Looking for an effective way to feed his troops, he offered a reward to anyone who could find a solution.
Nicolas Appert, a brewer, discovered a way to bottle/can food, without it going bad. This process came to prominence during WWI, with military rations of low grade food all over the battlefields of Europe. After both that war and it’s sequel, the use of canned food spread to civilian life as well.
During WWI, Alexander Flemming was a Captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps, and he witnessed thousands of injured soldiers dying due to infected wounds. He started researching a better antiseptic and antibiotic.
Years later, he discovered a type of mould that was inhibiting the growth of bacteria. He refined it, named it and it became the thing that saved countless lives on the battlefield in WWII and in everyday lives.
The original idea behind his device was as a military tool that could safely and easily inject medication into a solider, who’d been exposed to a toxin or nerve gas. That first device was called the ComboPen and was widely released in the 70’s to the military.
At the same time, the same inventor also created and patented a device for the general public, to inject adrenaline to counteract an allergic reaction.
1916 canvas on wood frame model used exetnsively by the British & French as well as the American Expeditionary Force in The Great War. Top speed 45mph from a 4 cylinder water cooled engine
Feminine Hygiene Products
The first pads were actually invented by Ben Franklin to help stop wounded soliders from bleeding out on the battlefield. Over time, someone realized that it’d help the ladies too and the technology wasp repurposed for that.
East Susexx WW
A Canadian Army doctor started researching the concept during WWI, when soldiers kept on dying from shock and blood loss en route, and at, the hospitals. They started experimenting with storing blood and keeping it cold to make it last. With the discovery of universal donor blood (Type O), help to create a system where blood could be given on the battlefield, and during surgery and led to the development of blood banks all over the world.
The creation of this summer time lifesaver was due to the military looking to protect their soldiers stationed in the South Pacific during WWII. With Malaria, Yellow Fever, West Nile and other mosquito-borne diseases prevalent in the jungle, it was a dangerous theatre of battle.
One set of scientists perfected a way to generate a fine mist of insecticide from an aerosol can in 1941, while another team discovered DEET. By 1957, a united product was available for purchase by the public.
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