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Top 10 post-WWII inventors

05 May 2015  | Rob Spiegel

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Editor's Note: Who do you think are the greatest inventors that lived in the 20th century? Continue reading and find out for yourself.

The engineers and inventors of the post WWII period turned their attention to advancements in electronics, communication and entertainment. Breakthrough inventions range from LEGOs and computer gaming to the integrated circuit and Ethernet—a range of advancements that have little in common except they changed our lives.

The next selection of Great Inventors will look at the later 20th century. We began this series using the term "engineers," but some of the people who had the greatest impact on the engineering profession—Steve Jobs and Bill Gates—were not engineers. So we settled on the term 'inventor.' That still may not be entirely accurate, since Jobs and Gates were more like "assimilators."

But close enough.

Ole Kirk Christiansen



Ole Kirk Christiansen, a master carpenter and joiner in the village of Billund, Denmark, owned a company that manufactured stepladders, ironing boards and wooden toys. The company was named LEGO, which is formed from the Danish words LEgGOdt, or "play well." In 1947, LEGO was the first Denmark company to buy a plastic injection-moulding machine for making toys. In 1949, the company produced about 200 different plastic and wooden toys, including Automatic Binding Bricks, a forerunner of the LEGO bricks we know today.

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