The guillotine, originally modeled on Halifax Gibbet, is the least recognisable invention to come from the UK, research reveals.
The study, conducted by the innovation funding specialists the MPA Group, looked into the public’s knowledge of homegrown inventions, which UK invention the nation is most proud of and the most innovative cities, based on the number of patents published. It also found the inventions that were least recognised as being created in this country.
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The guillotine, the symbol for the French Revolution, was actually based on an English sliding axe known as the Halifax Gibbet.
Less than one in sixteen people taking part in the research recognised it as a UK invention.
Other inventions that were not known to be from the UK were the Ford GT40 racing car, defibrillator, fridge, and contraceptive pill.
Penicillin, which was first isolated for the treatment of bacterial infection by scientists in Oxford in 1938, was the invention the nation is most proud of, chosen by over half (51 per cent) of respondents. The MRI Scanner, created in Aberdeen (43 per cent) and the telephone, which can be attributed to British physicist Robert Hooke (42 per cent), completed the top three.
The research also looked into the most innovative cities in the UK, based on the number of patent applications. Cambridge ranked the highest, with a staggering 315.7 patents published per 100,000 residents - almost three times as many as the second closest city.
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The city is famed for being the home of a number of inventions, including the reflecting telescope, IVF, hovercrafts and iris recognition.
Coventry, whose residents were responsible for creating the bicycle, the jet engine and holography, saw 108.9 patents published per 100,000 residents, and Derby, home to the invention of the waterworks system, was a close third with 98.6.
Mike Price, Director at MPA Group, said: “The UK truly is a hub of innovation and it is reassuring to see that we as a nation still haven’t lost our entrepreneurial spirit. With nearly 14,000 patent applications filed in 2016, we are really excited to see the next revolutionary invention to come out of our country.
“However, it’s not just inventors that are leading the way for innovation, there are thousands of companies across the country investing into research and development. It’s great that this has been recognised by the government as being a vital part of business growth in the UK, and that Companies can be rewarded through HMRC schemes like Patent Box and R&D Tax Credits."
If you’re interested in testing your knowledge on UK inventions, take the MPA Group innovation quiz here www.thempagroup.co.uk
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