Spain – beautiful beaches, scenic hikes, and home to some of the most influential inventors. Spain has produced a long history of innovators who created many great things enjoyed today, some of which may surprise you!
Chupa Chups is certainly one of the most popular lollipop brands in the world today. Enric Bernat invented the Spanish-native lollipop in 1958, and it’s been globally distributed since the ‘70s. ¡Que dulce!
Spanish patents for what would eventually be called Foosball date back to the 1890s. Several competing patents sprouted up in nearby countries soon after, but Alejandro Finisterre patented the version known and loved today in Madrid in 1937. He was apparently unconcerned with the Spanish Civil War at the time.
The first aerial tramway design is credited to Spanish engineer Leonardo Torres y Quevedo. The first tram opened in 1916 under Spanish company Niagara Spanish Aerocar Company Limited, and it was later renovated in 1961, 1967, and 1984. That first tram is still in operation today; you could even visit it!
In 1989, Manuel Jalón Corominas invented the auto-disposable needle-syringe. Previously non-disposable, the needle in this design is detached after use. This plays a huge role in preventing the spread of blood-borne diseases to this day. If only he could have gotten rid of mosquitoes too…
Although calculators have a long and involved history, Spaniards played pivotal roles in developing the modern incarnation. Ramon Silvestre Verea Garcia invented the first calculator featuring direct multiplication (instead of slowly repeating addition functions) in 1878.
The first stapler was born in the Basque country of Spain. Created for French King Louis XV in the 18th century, the first staples featured the King’s royal emblem engraved on them. But have you seen a red Swingline?
You may know this one, but the first guitars originated in Spain by 1200. There were two versions: the guitarra latina and the guitarra morisca. The guitarra Latina featured a single acoustic chamber hole and a narrower neck, and it continues to rock the world to this day.
Did you know that Spain helped humanity reach the moon? Emilio Herrera Linares designed the first full-pressure spacesuit, called the escafandra estratonáutica, in 1935. Russians modeled their first cosmonaut suits from Herrera’s design, which Americans adopted and modified during their NASA space program.
Juan de la Cierva, a rotary flight pioneer, had a blast developing the modern helicopter’s precursor. While participating in a design competition to develop a bomber for the Spanish military in 1921, he designed a three-engine aircraft. Unfortunately, that bomber crashed due to an engine stall issue which he set out to fix. In 1923, the Autogyro was born and would pave the way for modern helicopters.
As you can see, inventions from Spain considerably shaped the world, from delighting ears and taste buds, to reaching for the stars. This article isn’t even half of it! There is so much more to learn about Spain, you’re sure to enjoy discovering more yourself. Happy exploring, and ¡plus ultra!