Our second list of Top Ten is the most significant events of the Second Millennium compiled by David Herbert Donald, historian, author, and professor emeritus at Harvard University. Listed chronologically, they are 1. The invention of gun powder in the early 1300s. 2. The Black Death that devastated Europe from 1347 to 1351, (The Black Death was another name given to The Plague which killed millions during that period). 3. Johann Gutenberg use of movable type to print early Bibles around 1455. 4. Columbus reaches America in 1492. 5. James Watt perfects the steam engine in 1775. 6. The American Revolution from 1775 to 1783. 7. Charles Darwin publishes the book “Origin of Species” in 1859. 8. Henry Ford begins the commercial development of the automobile in 1903 - (Bill Ward probably remembers that as part of “The Good Old Days”). 9. The First World War, 1914-1918. 10. Dropping the atomic bomb on Japan in 1945. Isn’t it ironic that, of those Top Ten most significant events, three of them have to do with warfare - rather a sad commentary on the nature of significant world events.
The third list of Top Tens of the last one thousand years is the most significant inventions. Again, these inventions are listed chronologically. 1. The magnifying glass invented in 1250 and the precursor to all optical instruments. 2. The printing press, invented around 1450, led to the spread of general knowledge. 3. The electric battery, invented in 1800, was the beginning of battery-operated devices. 4. The refrigerator, invented in 1850, as a way of keeping food edible. 5. The invention of the gasoline engine in 1885, which freed humans from the horse. 6. The invention of the airplane in 1903 marked the beginning of high speed transportation. 7. The invention of frozen food in 1923 made long-term storage of perishable food possible. 8. The invention of the transistor in 1948 made modern communication and computation possible. 9. The invention of the artificial satellite in 1957 made global communication possible. 10. The invention of the minicomputer in 1960 made computing for every desk possible.