Listening to Bones and Other Amazing Stories from the History of Invention

By Google Arts & Culture

Weird Bikes (1948) by Wallace KirklandLIFE Photo Collection

The history of science, technology and innovation hasn't always been smooth sailing. Here is a handful of the strangest and most surprising moments from the world of invention and discovery.

CERN bicycle (2002/2012) by RenaultScience Museum


CERN's Large Hadron Collider is housed in an underground tunnel 27km in circumference. It’s so huge that one of the most efficient ways to get around is actually by bike. This one was used by Roberto Saban, the LHC’s Head of Hardware Commissioning, during construction.

secret underground spaces at CERN

"Louis Armstrong" Roentgenizdat (rock on bones) record (1950s)Museum for Communication Nuremberg, Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunication


From the early 1930s, Western music was banned in the Soviet Union. But people found a way around the law, trading jazz and rock 'n' roll records underground. With no blank records, intrepid music fans would make bootleg record pressings on discarded hospital x-rays.

They were colloquially known as рок на костях or 'rock on bones'.

history of records

Thomas Jefferson (1786) by Mather BrownSmithsonian's National Portrait Gallery


Thomas Jefferson invented the swivel chair and sat on the first one while writing much of the Declaration of Independence.


Bubble wrap


In the 1950s, Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes were trying to make 3D plastic wallpaper. It was a complete failure. Today, we know it as Bubble Wrap.

history of plastic

Marie Curie at her desk (1921) by Source : Musée Curie (coll. ACJC)Musée Curie


Marie Curie's notebooks still emit such dangerous levels of radioactivity that they have to be kept in lead-lined boxes today.

See how Curie's inspirational legacy continues to radiate through history.

Students in Calligraphy class (2017) by Turquoise MountainTurquoise Mountain


Steve Jobs has claimed that taking calligraphy courses in college is one of the reasons that the earliest Macintosh computers were successful. They were the first ones with beautiful typography.

computer history

Hedy Lamarr (1946) by Eliot ElisofonLIFE Photo Collection


Hollywood star Hedy Lamarr invented “frequency hopping” – a precursor to Wifi.

Watch a video about this icon of film and science from the National Women's Hall of Fame.

Seatbelt And Pregnancy (1972-09) by Ralph MorseLIFE Photo Collection


Volvo invented the three point seat belt and then gave free license to all other auto manufacturers to use it.

Take the car through time for a spin.

Credits: Story
Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Google apps