Posted on: 29th October 2013

Necessity is the mother of all invention. And when we are trumped with a solution, we squeeze out all our creative juices to come up with things and stuff to accomplish what we have set out to do. But it’s weird to know that these everyday travel technologies, that have brought us extreme comfort and convenience, have been originally created or designed for, guess what, war…

  1. Global Positioning System (GPS). Developed in the 1960s and launched in 1978, the first GPS satellites were exclusively used in the military services only. Not until 1996 that it became commercially available for those who take pleasure in yelling at their dashboards.
  2. Razors. It’s either odd or that it’s just a man’s own unique style when he does not shave. But the razor, first patented by Mister Gillette in 1901, was originally supplied for American troops in WWI. That’s why the touch of that sharp blade on the jugular is always likened to a horror movie scenario that is bound to get ugly. But since the advent of the modern safety razor, baby smooth cheeks are now attainable.
  3. Pressurized Cabins. Originally meant for bomber pilots and crew during World War II, it is something we have to thank for every time we board commercial planes without wearing oxygen masks and enlarging our hearts when were beyond 12,000 metres.Travel Technology
  4. Jeep. The all-around inspection vehicle was designed by the American Bantam Car Company and manufactured by the Willys & Ford Motor Company for the purpose of using it during WWII. Its durability and versatility are just some of the reasons why there are still a lot of “jeepneys” around the streets of the Philippines.
  5. Duck Tape. Johnson & Johnson, the famous company who made the baby powder, is also responsible for inventing the duck tape. Ammunition boxes during WWII are required to be sealed against elements so it fits the bill perfectly. This adhesive, with military green cotton duck cloth (hence the term), only changed into its silver back we all know today in the mid-1950s. The iconic plastic version was commonly used by people to seal air ducts, which is why it is called ‘duct tape’ by others.
  6. Microwave Oven. Testing a high-powered radio set, engineer Percy Spencer accidentally discovered that electromagnetic radiation can cook food, when the chocolate bar in his pocket melted away. In 1947, Raytheon first sold the commercial microwave oven but it wasn’t until 1967 that TV dinners have become popular among households.
  7. Canned Food. Canning technology is a response for the Navy’s need during the Napoleonic wars. Of course, preserving food back then meant putting salt on pork and beef in brine. Scurvy is a common disease that plagued sailors because peas are the only vegetable that can be preserved. French brewer Nicolas Appert took on the challenge presented by the French military (with cash prize as an incentive) to work on a better way to preserve food. But it was not until the 1800s that canned food became a common item especially in the Royal Navy.
  8. Aviators. The US Air Force pilots in the mid-1920s were having difficulty focusing on their wheels because of the sun so the Ray-Bans got invented.
  9. Combat Trousers Cargo Pants. Thanks to the British Armed Forces, travellers and vagabonds alike find it easier to trek on strange paths without letting their stuff get in the way. Trousers cargo pants are very useful for WWII soldiers who need some place to store their radio, cigarettes and bullets.
  10. Internet. ARPAnet, the precursor of the internet, is the project of the US DARPA. It is meant to connect computers at the Pentagon to the US nuclear weapon control centre. But now, everyone has access to it, even for just as simple task as updating your info from your favourite social networking site.


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