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September 23, 2021
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[This unedited press release is made available courtesy of Gamasutra and its partnership with notable game PR-related resource Games Press.]

If we asked you what a zip and the PlayStation 4 have in common, would you know? No? Well, according to a survey of 3,900 gadget fans commissioned by Gadget Show Live @ Christmas, they are two of the most influential gadget launches of the last 100 years. In fact, they top and tail the list, with the zip launching in 1913 and the PlayStation 4 due for release in November this year. 

The list of 100 gadgets (see below) throws up a plethora of fascinating facts. For example, does it make you feel old to know that Dyson’s trailblazing dustbag-free vacuum is 20 this year? That the life-changing Sony Walkman is over 30 years old and Breville’s sandwich maker hits the big 4-0 in 2014? Or that the humble modem was already 37 years old and the Ethernet already 16 by the time Tim Berners Lee developed the World Wide Web in 1989?

The list also shows how gadgets have made a massive impact on our health and fitness over the last century, starting with the design of the artificial heart in 1941. This was followed swiftly by the kidney dialysis machine three years later, the breathalyser in 1955, the hearing aid a year later and the pacemaker in 1958.

Tech has also become an accepted, integrated and much loved part of our kitchens thanks to inventions like Pyrex in 1915, the pop up toaster in 1919 and the electric kettle in 1922. The modern day can opener made an appearance in 1925 just seven years ahead of its electric counterpart. The Teasmade has been brightening many a morning since 1933 and the microwave oven and Kenwood’s food mixer have been helping us make light work of cooking since the 40s.


The full list of the most influential gadget launches over the last century is as follows:

1913              The zip invented by Gideon Sundback

1914              Motorised movie cameras

1915              Pyrex

1916              Electric power drill

1917              Radio tuners

1918              The superheterodyne radio circuit (used in all TVs and radios today)

1919              The pop up toaster

1920              The hairdryer

1921              The modern lie detector

1922              Electric kettle

1923              Self-winding watch

1924              Loudspeaker

1925              Modern day can opener

1926              Tevelox robot

1927              Aerosol can

1928              Baird Television Department Company television

1929              Car radio

1930              Jet engine

1931              Electric razor

1932              Electric can opener

1933              The Teasmade

1934              Zippo lighter

1935              Radar

1936              First voice recognition machine

1937              Dirt Devil

1938              The biro

1939              Helicopter

1940              Modern colour television

1941              Artificial heart

1942              The turboprop engine

1943              The slinky

1944              Kidney dialysis machine

1945              Clock radio

1946              Disposable nappy

1947              Kenwood food mixer

1948              First pager

1949              Photo-Pac disposable camera

1950              Alkaline batteries

1951              Power steering

1952              SAGE modem

1953              Black box flight recorder

1954              Regency pocket radio

1955              Breathalyser

1956              Behind the air hearing aid

1957              Casio digital watch

1958              Pacemaker

1959              Black and Decker cordless drill

1960              Stereos/hi-fis

1961              Kodak Instamatic

1962              LED

1963              The Telefunken 'mouse'

1964              Plasma television – University of Illinois

1965              Y. Hatano’s pedmoter

1966              El-Gi 1:12 Ferrari radio controlled car

1967              Polaroid

1968              Smoke detector

1969              The Internet

1970              Digital thermometer

1971              Busicom LE-120A Handy pocket calculator

1972              Multi socket power plug

1973              The Ethernet

1974              Breville sandwich maker

1975              Kodak digital camera

1976              Lithium batteries

1977              Mattel Electronic Football

1978              Victor HR-3300REK - first UK VHS video recorder

1979              Texas Instruments Speak and Spell

1980              Sony Walkman

1981              Epson HX-20 - the world's first laptop

1982              Sony Watchman - CD player

1983              Commodore 64

1984              Sony Discman

1985              The Leatherman

1986              Bose noise cancelling headphones

1987              Sony super VHS camcorder

1988              Digital mobile phones

1989              World Wide Web

1990              Nintendo Game Boy

1991              Nintendo SNES

1992              Palm Pilot

1993              Dyson vacuum cleaner

1994              Digital cordless telephone /Mega Drive

1995              PlayStation 1

1996              Audio Highway - world's first MP3 player

1997              Motorola StarTac

1998              Panasonic portable DVD player

1999              DVR by TiVo

2000              The Trek Tech/IBM - flash drive

2001              Apple iPod

2002              PlayStation 2

2003              Blackberry 6210

2004              Samsung OLED TV

2005              Xbox 360

2006              SanDisk Micro SD

2007              Apple iPhone

2008              Beats by Dre

2009              Twitter

2010              Apple iPad

2011              Kindle Fire

2012              Nexus 7

2013              PlayStation 4

“When we talk about gadgets, we often talk in terms of the 80s onwards – of phones, laptops and music systems,” said Gadget Show Live @Christmas event manager Katie Tozer.

“But gadgets have been around for hundreds of years. This list, which takes us right back to 1913 with the invention of the zip, a gadget that was so influential it’s still in daily use today – is just the tip of the iceberg and it shows just how integral and essential they have become to the way we live, work and enjoy life today.”

Gadget Show Live @ Christmas takes place at Earls Court in London on 1-3 November and tickets are on sale now at Jason Bradbury, Pollyanna Woodward and Jon Bentley will present a spectacular hour-long entertainment show in the Super Theatre each day.  

Note to editors

Opening hours: 9:00am to 6:00pm each day.

Press Day: Friday 1 November, to apply for a pass please visit:

Gadget Show Live @ Christmas ticket prices:

Please note a £0.99 booking fee applies per purchase in advance

Event entry only

Adults - £14.00 (+ £0.99 booking fee)

Child (12 and under) £7.00 (+ £0.99 booking fee)

Super Theatre

Standard - £9.00

Premium - £16.00

The Gadget Show presenters will be putting on a spectacular show in the Super Theatre with performances at 1100, 1330 and 1600.

Get social

You can follow Gadget Show Live @ Christmas on Twitter @gadgetshowlive , Facebook at /Gadgetshowlive, Youtube /gadgetshowlivetv and Instagram @gadgetshowlive

For more information, please contact:

Charlotte Le Rougetel or Matt Bowen at Bastion on [email protected] or 020 7269 7900.