Survey Reveals Many Britons Clueless about Major UK Inventions

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29th August 2012 16:11 - Museums, Libraries and Archives

Market research by the Science Museum has discovered a substantial lack of public awareness regarding the inventions Britain is famous for – this includes the Internet and television.

A total of 1,400 members of the public were surveyed to coincide with the Science Museum’s ‘Make It in Great Britain’ exhibition of British manufacturing in west London.

Almost half of the respondents didn't know that the creator of the World Wide Web was British born Sir Tim Berners-Lee, even though he featured in the recent Olympic Opening Ceremony.

In addition, nearly two thirds of the surveyants were unaware that the light switch was created by John Henry Holmes in 1884 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, while more than half didn’t know that the sewing machine is an English innovation.

Furthermore, around a third of people were unaware that the television originated in Scotland in the 1920s, while a third did not know that the turbojet engine was invented by Coventry-born Sir Frank Whittle in the 1930s.

In terms of more current inventions and manufacturing innovations, 85% of respondents had no idea that UK scientists may be getting close to creating an invisibility cloak, while only one in ten knew that spray-on clothing technology is being led by Britain.

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