10 Spanish Inventors Who Have Changed Your Life
What would you say if I told you that Spanish inventors have changed your life?
Inventions originating from Spain have contributed much to the world we know and enjoy today.
Many Spanish inventions have changed the world in large and small ways. These include the mop, the submarine, and the guitar. While these are some of the greatest Spanish inventions, there are plenty more.
Today, I’ll tell you about 10 essential Spanish inventors and their inventions. Although there are many noteworthy inventors from other Spanish-speaking countries, today our focus is on Spain.
Top 10 Impactful Spanish Inventors
Are you excited to broaden your knowledge? Let’s see if I can surprise you with at least some of the impressive inventions on this list.
1. Speed of Sound
The term “the speed of sound” was first proposed by a Cordoba scholar from the Golden Age of Al Andalus named Ibn Hazm. At the beginning of the 11th century, he calculated the speed of sound using echoes in the Mosque of Cordoba.
Ibn Hazm was also the first person to declare that thunder was a production of lightning.
Surprisingly, it was neither an American nor a Russian, but rather a Spanish inventor who created the first astronaut suit!
Emilio Herrera Linares, a Spanish military engineer, designed the pressurised spacesuit in 1936. It was used first in a stratospheric balloon flight. The Russians used his model for their first flight into space, and the United States eventually adapted it for their own use.
What comes to your mind when you hear “beret”? Most of us associate it with a chic life in Paris, but the beret was actually invented by the Spaniards.
This flat hat was originally used by shepherds in the Basque Country to protect them from the cold and rain. The Spanish call it la boina.
4. Gregorian Calendar
The Gregorian Calendar is another key Spanish invention. Pedro Chacón was a Spanish mathematician working at the School of Salamanca. He did most of the complicated calculations that made it possible to move from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian one that most countries still follow today.
He was summoned by Pope Gregory XII to Rome, and 10 years later, on October 4, 1582, the new world adopted the new calendar.
One of the most notable Spanish medical inventions was the discovery of the neuron as the functional unit of the brain. The Spaniard Santiago Ramón y Cajal shared a Nobel Prize with an Italian, Camilo Gilgo, in 1906. It was the first scientific Nobel for a person of Spanish origin.
As the father of modern neuroscience, the list of his discoveries in this field is quite long, and most of them have very complicated names.
Abbas ibn Frinas was an Andalusian inventor in the 10th century. He invented a way to manufacture colorless glass and used it to make “reading stones.” These were magnifying lenses for reading.
Anyone who has ever used corrective lenses will appreciate the greatness of this discovery. We wouldn’t have eyeglasses today without ibn Frinas’ glass planispheres. Remember the last name of this Spanish inventor, as I’ll mention him again later in this post.
The wheelchair is yet another amazing Spanish invention (although some historians argue that it was used in China as early as the 5th century).
In 1595, an anonymous inventor from Spain built a wheelchair for King Philip II, who suffered from gout. The design has been improved over the centuries by many others.
8. A Portable X-Ray Machine
Mónico Sánchez Moreno is a fascinating inventor. He lived between 1880-1960 and was a Spanish millionaire. Without speaking English he signed himself up for a distance electrical engineering course offered by a British School to study electricity. It was still a recent discovery at that time. Later, he took interest in other areas and finally developed portable X-Ray equipment. It weighed 10 kilos and not 400 as the original machine.
In 1913, he produced the machines in a small town of Piedrabuena, with just 3,000 inhabitants. He first brought running water, electricity, and communications. Machines produced there save the lives of many in French Army ambulances.
9. Pencil Sharpeners
The first pencil sharpener was similar to the first computer, in that it was much bigger than the ones we use today. Ignacio Urresti created the first pencil sharpener in 1945 (in Spain, of course).
However, it weighed almost three pounds, so it definitely wasn’t something to put in your pencil case!
By the way, in Spanish, a sharpener is called el sacapuntas, and it’s a compound noun. Here is a Complete List of Compound Words in Spanish and some rules on how to create them.
Do you remember Ibn Firnas? The one who created the first eyeglasses? Well, he also built a mechanized planetarium with revolving planets, stars, and clouds. It even produced thunder and lightning, which dazzled visitors.
Abbas Ibn Firmas is often compared with the famed Italian Renaissance man Leonardo da Vinci (who came along 600 years later) due to his many passions and varied inventions.
It’s Time to Travel to Spain!
Spanish ingenuity and culture have made their way into your life. Now it’s time to visit Spain.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to visit the country that gave birth to so many brilliant inventors?
That’s the great thing about learning languages—it opens doors and makes travel easier. Apart from that, studying a new language does wonders for your cognition and decision-making abilities.
If your Spanish needs a bit of polishing before your travel to Spain or another Spanish-speaking country, sign up for a free class at Homeschool Spanish Academy. Our friendly, professional, native-speaking teachers from Guatemala will be delighted to talk about Spanish inventors or any other topic you find interesting while working on your vocabulary and grammar skills. Live your dreams and travel to the land of Cervantes!
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