USMC White

German Contributions to the World

No doubt, Germany has brought two major conflicts to the world and that damage will take generations to repair.  However, let us not also reflect on the good Germans have brought to us all.   This list serves as a counter balance for my children to know that their ancestry has brought immense value to the modern world and to be proud of their heritage, despite the WW horrors.

Gas Engines - 1863

Nicolaus August Otto (Auto, get it?) was a German engineer who successfully developed the compressed charge internal combustion engine which ran on petroleum gas and led to the modern internal combustion engine.

Printing - 1468

Johannes Gutenberg, a German craftsman, and inventor who originated a method of printing from movable type. The “Gutenberg Press”.

Telephones - 1861

NOT MARCONI, but Philipp Reis succeeded in creating a device that captured sound, converted it to electrical impulses which were transmitted via electrical wires to another device that transformed these pulses into recognizable sounds similar to the original acoustical source. Reis coined the term telephon to describe his device.

Refrigerators - 1871

Carl von Linde published an essay on improved refrigeration techniques and 2 years later in Munich he built the first practical and portable compressor refrigeration machine.

Cars - 1885

Karl Benz (as in Mercedes) 

GASOLINE / Automobile powered by an internal combustion engine: three-wheeled, four-cycle, engine and chassis form a single unit.


Flight - 1891

Otto Lilienthal was the first to fly with a winged (nonpowered) aircraft.

Yes, BEFORE the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk.

Televisions - 1871 & 1935

Paul Julius Gottlieb Nipkow invented the Nipkow disk, which laid the foundation of television since his disk was a fundamental component in the first televisions. Germany started the first TV broadcast in 1935.

Motorcycles - 1885

Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach near Stuttgart. Essentially a motorized wooden bicycle, the Reitwagen, (riding car) as it was called, was the first petroleum-powered transportation device.

Light Bulbs - 1879

Heinrich Göbel designed the first practical incandescent electric light bulb.   Edison is a known thief of the inventions of others including AC Power from Tesla and the x-ray, recorder, and more).

Diesel Engines - 1893

Rudolf Diesel was a German engineer who successfully developed the Diesel engine.

Helicopters - 1901

Hermann Ganswindt’s helicopter made its maiden flight in Berlin-Schöneberg, which is likely to have been the first heavier-than-air motorized flight with people.

Freeways - 1932

Before Hitler, It was the mayor of Cologne, Konrad Adenauer, who managed to finance and construct the first crossroads-free motorway. The road was 20 kilometers long, and the speed limit was 120 kilometers per hour, though at the time most cars could only manage 60.

Computers - 1941

Konrad Zuse presented the Z3, the first really functional computer.

Moon Landings- 1969

Wernher von Braun + 1600 other German Scientists (Operation Paperclip) got us to the moon.  these German scientists (along with their families) were brought to the United States to work on America’s behalf during the Cold War.

And many more:

Clothing, Cosmetics, and Fashion


Construction, Architecture, and Shops


Education, Language, and Printing

Entertainment, Electronics and Media

Geography, Geology, and Mining

Household and Office Appliance

Medicine and drugs

Military and (Chemical) Weapons

Physics and Scientific Instruments

Religion, Ethics, and Festivities

Tourism and Recreation



Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top